Disney’s D23 Expo is in full swing this weekend, and yesterday we got some new tidbits about both this year’s The Force Awakens and the first film in the upcoming Star Wars Anthologies cinematic saga, Rogue One.
Although Episode VII director J.J Abrams had previously gone on record to say that no new footage of The Force Awakens would be shown at D23, we did get a look at the first poster for the film, once more drawn by the saga’s usual poster creator Drew Struzan.
Aside from giving us another look at returning cast member Harrison Ford as Han Solo, there’s not that much to get excited about on the new poster… apart from the obvious! You don’t have to look too closely to see that John Boyega’s Finn, one of the saga’s new characters to be introduced in the film, is holding a lightsaber – and seems to be pretty serious about using it, too. It’s been heavily rumoured that Finn will be a Jedi in The Force Awakens and whilst we still can’t say with absolute certainly whether this will be the case, his carrying of a lightsaber in this image – typically the weapon of a Jedi or Sith – certainly lends the greatest amount of credence to this that we’ve had so far.
There was also a lot of buzz about Rogue One, with the first casting announcement and cast photo released at the event. Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, had the following to say about the film:
“Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe.”
“It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’”
That cast is comprised of the previously announced Felicity Jones, who will lead the film, but we now also know that Ben Mendelssohn (Bloodline), Donnie Yen (Blade II), Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly), Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Mads Mikkelson (Casino Royale), Alan Tudyk (Con Man) and Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) have joined the cast. In a related casting tidbit, it’s been revealed that Alan Tudyk will play a motion-capture character in Rogue One.
Although principal photography has been going for a while on the film, confirmation of the production was officially given at yesterday’s D23 event.
Rogue One is due for release in the UK on 16 December 2016 and will be directed by Gareth Edwards, who will be remembered for his recent duties as director on 2014’s Godzilla reboot.
Finally, in more news for the main Star Wars saga, it was officially confirmed that Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow will direct Episode IX, following on from Rhian Johnson’s stint for Episode VIII.