Star Wars 7 Movie News, Rumors: Godzilla Director Gareth Edwards Announced to Make First Star Wars Spin-Off Film

William RameauMay 26, 2014 10:48 AM EDT

It has been officially announced that "Godzilla" filmmaker Gareth Edwards will direct the first standalone "Star Wars" spinoff movie in the franchise's history.

"In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga," according to a press release by Lucasfilm and Disney on May 22. "Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016."

In the press release, Edwards revealed how much the iconic science fiction franchise impacted his life when he was growing up in the United Kingdom.

"Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life -- join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm," said Edwards.

There have been multiple rumors claiming Edwards and Whitta will be working on a movie based on a young Han Solo meeting Chewbacca for the first time, since the memorable scene was originally rumored to be appear in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith back in 2005.

The other rumored "Star Wars" spinoff movie would be centered around the space bounty hunter Boba Fett and his dangerous exploits while traveling around the galaxy in his Slave One spaceship.

Whitta is known for writing the script for the "The Book of Eli," and "After Earth" film, in addition to penning the script to "The Walking Dead" game.

"From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer," said Whitta in a statement. "It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I'm still pinching myself."

"Star Wars" spinoff movie will debut in movie theaters on December 16, 2016, while "Star Wars Episode 7" is set to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.

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