Rogue One hits cinemas today!
The second Star Wars Anthology film ran into trouble recently when director Josh Trank stepped down from the project. Some reports say Trank was fired from the film after disagreements with the other key production crew members. In either case Lucasfilm are on the lookout for a replacement, and the latest rumors from Latino Review indicate that they may be looking to Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon to fill that spot.
He has already expressed a desire to move on from the Marvel universe, after helming both Avengers movies and writing for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD television series, and perhaps Disney aren't ready to let him go just yet. Another possibility is the fabled Star Wars live-action television series which has been in development limbo for a decade but occasionally pops up in a rumor, and he is no stranger to science-fiction or fantasy on TV, having created cult classics Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse.
No official source has yet commented on these rumors as usual, so little may come of them, but even the possibility of Joss Whedon joining Star Wars is sure to excite fans.
The Han Solo spin-off film is currently in production for release in 2018. Although we are still a long way from having any details of the storyline, we do know that we will see a young Han Solo in action.
So far four actors have been confirmed, so let's take a look at our new Han Solo and the people who will be joining everybody's favourite scoundrel.
Alden Ehrenreich - Han Solo
Taking up the mantle of the eponymous smuggler, Han Solo is the young Californian actor Alden Ehrenreich. He was chosen after a lengthy casting period that aimed to find an actor who could capture the spirit of the character made famous by Harrison Ford.
Ehrenreich was first discovered by Steven Spielberg, which led to several television roles before he had his big screen debut in Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro. He later went on to star in Beautiful Creatures, Stoker, and the Coen brothers comedy Hail, Caesar!
On 5 May 2015 he was confirmed as being cast in the lead role of a young Han Solo in the second of the Star Wars spin-off movies.
Donald Glover - Lando Calrissian
Joining Han Solo as the irrepressible Lando Calrissian is Donald Glover, who has already had a varied career in entertainment having made a name for himself in almost every avenue of show business.
Glover has written for NBC comedy 30 Rock and had an acting role in Community. He is also due to appear in Marvel's Spider-man: Homecoming superhero reboot. Incidentally, Stan Lee supported Glover for the lead role in Sony's The Amazing Spider-man.
Glover has also released several rap albums as Childish Gambino, and also DJs and produces electronic music under the name of mcDJ.
On 21 October 2016 he was confirmed as being cast as Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo movie.
Playing an unknown role in the Han Solo movie is Emilia Clarke, who shot to fame as Danaerys Targaryen in HBO's television adaption of Game of Thrones.
Clarke recently starred as Sarah Connor in 2015's Terminator: Genisys, and had the lead role in the 2016 worldwide success Me before You. She was also voted Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire in 2015.
In November 2016 she was confirmed as part of the Han Solo movie's cast, although no details have been released about the type of role she has.
Han Solo's mentor will be played by Woody Harrelson, who should be a stranger to nobody with his impressive list of acting credits since the 1980s which include Zombieland, The Hunger Games, and Now You See Me. His first role was as the bartender in the classic television comedy Cheers.
Outside of acting, he is a vegan, environmentalist, and also considers himself an anarchist.
He was confirmed for the Han Solo movie in early January 2017, and has said in interviews that his character will be a criminal as well as Han Solo's mentor.
The official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is here at last. Rogue One is the first of Disney and Lucasfilm's spin-off anthology films, and is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). The movie is set shortly before the events of the original 1977 movie, now titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. and features the rebel mission to retrieve the plans for the Empire's first Death Star.
Rogue One will be released on 16 December 2016.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of the Star Wars anthology films coming this December, but true to the form we saw with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, secrecy is rife and much is still unknown about the film. Here's a breakdown of the Rogue One teaser trailer that was released earlier this week with screen-grabs and commentary, and perhaps a little wishful thinking sprinkled in for good measure.
Rogue One has a strong female lead in Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is introduced to us as a renegade. She first appears to us in cuffs, a captive of the Rebel Alliance, and lead through a base that very clearly resembles the Alliance base on Yavin IV, last seen in the climax of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly, who also portrayed Mon Mothma in a Revenge of the Sith deleted scene) is seemingly trying to recruit Erso as an Alliance operative to join a ragtag band of misfits - a Rogue Squadron, one might say - as they take on a special mission to uncover the details of the Empire's latest weapon.
There's no tiptoeing around here: The Death Star is nearing completion, and we are shown part of the primary superlaser being lowered into place while a fleet of tiny one-mile-long Star Destroyers stand guard.
Erso's partner on this misision (played by Diego Luna) is currently an unknown character, but it looks like he already has a history with the Alliance, and carries with him a swagger reminiscent of The Force Awakens' Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
Ben Mendelsohn's character appears in a crisp white Imperial uniform. Little is known about this Imperial officer, but it has been speculated that he is part of the Imperial Security Bureau. In the now-defunct Expanded Universe, a uniform similar to this was worn by Imperial Grand Admirals, but this is unlikely to have been carried over to the new canon.
Forest Whitaker is allegedly portraying a bounty hunter, and again, not much is known about his character, but his voice-over for the remainder of the trailer is clearly warning somebody of the consequences of their actions.
A new type of black-armored stormtrooper is shown in an unknown location. There is a moisture vaporator in the background, but the landscape seems rocky and green rather than the sand dunes of Tatooine. It may be worth a mention that the video game Dark Forces, which featured a now non-canon version of the mission to retrieve the Death Star plans, featured Dark Troopers, black-armored droid stormtroopers.
Jyn Erso and her partner (oh, please let him be Kyle Katarn) run through an Imperial facility, accompanied by a droid rumored to be Alan Tudyk's character. We can't see at this point whether they are running from the masses of Imperial troops that seem to be following them, or whether they are all fleeing from something else.
Unsurprisingly, Donnie Yen's character is a melee fighter, who uses martial arts to defeat a large group of stormtroopers. If you've ever seen the Ip Man films then you probably already knew Yen's character was going to be a bad-ass, and smacking stormtroopers around without a lightsaber or a blaster certainly fits the bill.
A cloaked figure walks towards some sort of large misty glowing tube, and the red-robed Imperial Guards are a sure sign that Emperor Palpatine is nearby. The cloaked figure does not seem to be Palpatine himself and wears a hood unlike Darth Vader.
AT-ATs, also known as Imperial Walkers, make a welcome return to action as they fire at our heroes as the flee what looks like an Imperial bunker; probably the same one we saw rebels and Imperials alike racing through earlier in the trailer. The terrain appears to be somewhat tropical, and could be the same planet we saw the black stormtrooper on.
The trailer finishes with Jyn Erso in a TIE fighter pilot suit. Rogue One is shaping up to be an action-packed opening for the Star Wars spin-off films, although a couple of notable absences are Mads Mikkelsen's character, and the rumored appearances of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. But this is just the first teaser trailer, and we are sure to find out more in the coming months.
Rogue One will be released on 16 December 2016.
Many have now seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and critcs have been leaving their verdicts on the first of the Star Wars spin-off movies.
Rotten Tomatoes currently tracks Rogue One at 85% after 241 critic reviews, with an audience score of 89% positive after 41,000 audience ratings.
Here's a round-up of the critics' comments below. While we have tried to avoid spoilers, be aware that some of the links may be riddled with them!
Rolling Stone called Rogue One amazing in their review, perfectly capturing the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy, with a combat-heavy finale that means Rogue One gets better as it goes along.
GQ's reviewers said that Rogue One was a solid start to a new vision for the Star Wars franchise, although it lacked the emotional depth of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The Guardian scored Rogue One 4/5 in their fan-written review, saying that the film was "made for the fans" and had enough depth to be worth an extra viewing, but questioned whether it would resonate with the average viewer.
The Telegraph also scored Rogue One 4/5. They saw it as less nostalgic than The Force Awakens, but still fits neatly in to the Star Wars universe despite the darker tone of the story.
The New York Times was less positive about Rogue One, claiming that although all of the ingredients were there, they found clumsy plots and dialogue made for a mediocre movie.
Time also derided Rogue One for being almost pedantic in its inoffensiveness, with a colour palette resembling "intergalactic dishwater".
The Verge said that although Rogue One struggles early on it does grow into its own, and is more like a modern action film - for better or worse.
Entertainment Weekly called Rogue One an epic heist flick, with a third act being a white-knuckle ride as the movie kicks into hyperdrive. They graded the film a B+.