D23 Expo 2015: “Star Wars” news – Episode IX director, Rogue One cast, Star Wars Stories

in Disney, Events, Movies

At the D23 Expo 2015, Lucasfilm announced exciting new details about the upcoming slate of “Star Wars” films.

Named to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX” is “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow, set for release in 2019.

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While production won’t begin for a few years, Trevorrow is heading to Lucasfilm this year to begin working with artists and his fellow Star Wars directors. “Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw Safety Not Guaranteed,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “The power of that film paired with the enormous success of Jurassic World speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.”

Standalone movies will now be called “Star Wars stories” rather than “anthology.” The first, “Rogue One,” has begun principal photography and the cast has been announced, including a rather dark and gritty photo.

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Star Wars: Rogue One L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley

The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role in The Theory of Everything; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar-winning Milk and the critically acclaimed Killing Them Softly; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in Bloodline and co-starring in the upcoming Mississippi Grind; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in Ip Man and Blade II; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning Let the Bullets Fly and Devils on the Doorstep; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ The Butler and winner of an Academy Award for his leading role in 2006’s The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in The Hunt and was the memorable villain from 2006’s Casino Royale; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in Rogue One, stars in the soon-to-be-released Con Man series and Trumbo, which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in Nightcrawler and starred in the BAFTA-winning film Four Lions.

The film tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. It is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.

“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,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “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.’”

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