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An already big week for Gareth Edwards has gotten bigger: The Godzilla director has been hired to helm a Star Wars spinoff film, as reported by Deadline Thursday afternoon.
While it’s not yet known what aspects of the Star Wars universe is being spun off, the film has a targeted release date of December 12, 2016, approximately one year after Star Wars: Episode VII. Star Wars spinoff movies were confirmed to be in development back in February 2013 by Disney CEO Bob Iger, with X-Men: Days of Future Past writer Simon Kinberg and Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan both attached. Earlier this month, Iger stated that “at least three” Star Wars spinoffs are in development; rumored subjects have included Yoda, Boba Fett and young Han Solo.
Godzilla debuted domestically with a $93 million opening last weekend, and currently has a worldwide total of $216 million. A Godzilla sequel was officially announced to be in the works on Sunday, and The Hollywood Reporter states that Edwards is attached to not only that film, but a third — though they’re both in very early development. Edwards’ only other directorial credit is 2010’s Monsters, a British sci-fi film with a budget of just $500,000.
Thomas Tull, CEO of Godzilla production company Legendary, said in a comment to Deadline that it was always the plan for Edwards to direct another film prior to a Godzilla sequel: “Gareth’s filmmaking talent makes him one of his generation’s most creative and visionary directors. The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another Godzilla, but who knew it would a Star Wars installment? We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the Star Wars universe.”
Update: Lucasfilm has made if official that Edwards will direct the first spinoff from a script by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth). It’s set for release on Dec. 16, 2016.