Now that The Force Awakens has successfully re-energized the public’s appetite for Star Wars movies in a big way, there is an enormous amount of pressure on the upcoming films in the franchise. And perhaps that is why we are hearing news today of rewrites going on for the next two Star Wars films on the schedule – Rogue One and Episode VIII.
First up, is word that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation writer/director Christopher McQuarrie was been called in to do some work on the screenplay for the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One. According to Devin Faraci at birth.movies.death and his sources, McQuarrie was brought in to “save” the script, showing up just as the film was getting into production last year to “tighten up and fix” the story of how the Rebellion came into possession of the plans to the Empire’s Death Star. But he wasn’t just brought in because he already has one successful film with the word “Rogue” in its title already on his resume. McQuarrie has some experience at doing last minute script doctoring, having performed similar duties for World War Z.
Rogue One started off as an idea from John Knoll, the Chief Creative Officer at ILM. Gary Whitta was assigned to expand the idea into a full screenplay before Chris Weitz came on and did a draft.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the start of production on the untitled Episode VIII has been pushed back a month for the screenplay for the Force Awakens followup can get a rewrite. Meet the Movie Press‘ Jeffrey Sneider is stating that the delay is so writer/director Rian Johnson can focus more of the story on the new Force Awakens characters that have captured audience’s imaginations. Sneider buried the lead on this in a discussion about casting for the new film.
[Last week] we mentioned Bel Powely and Gina [Rodriguez]. And I heard Gina didn’t get it… I am told Episode VIII has been pushed about a month. They’re going to do another rewrite… And I heard an Asian actress actually got that role that we were talking about Gina and Bel Powley for… I said that there were two young female roles. I actually heard that the rewrite is making those roles smaller. They want to get to know better the characters they already have better. So I hear that a rewrite for Episode VIII is shrinking the new roles in order to spend more time with Rey, Poe and so on.
Honestly, the news that both these projects are getting their script worked on so close to shooting bothers me all that much. From all accounts, director J. J. Abrams was tweaking things with the Force Awakens screenplay all the way through filming and that seemed to work out fine. There has been nothing but a show of commitment from every one involved to make these films the best that they possibly can be.
Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Jiang Wen and hits theaters on December 16th.
There has not been an official cast announcement for Star Wars: Episode VIII yet, but we can pretty much bank on the fact that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Gwendoline Christie will all be back. The film is scheduled for theaters on May 26, 2017.