Yesterday at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, across the street from Lucasfilm, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger hosted a shareholder meeting where he announced news regarding the first Star Wars stand-alone movie as well as Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The film is due for release on December 16, 2016.
In addition, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (18 December 2015), is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977.