ANAHEIM, California - Next year's Star Wars spin-off science-fiction movie, Rogue One, will focus on a band of resistance fighters trying to steal plans to the moon-like Death Star super weapon.
This was revealed on the final day of the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim event on Sunday, according to the official Star Wars website. It comes after the second movie trailer debut on April 16 for this year's highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.
"We really wanted freedom to do some films that could stand on their own, and tell new stories," The Hollywood Reporter cited Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm head of development as saying at a panel discussion.
Rogue One, to be helmed by Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards, will be the first entry in a spin-off movie series officially called the Star Wars Anthology Series.
The series seeks to "explore the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga", said StarWars.com.
In the grand scheme of Star Wars movie lore, Rogue One takes place after Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005), but before the first hit Star Wars movie, Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
This means that in Rogue One, the mystical Jedi Order - which keeps the peace in the Star Wars universe - has been destroyed by the evil Galactic Empire, and the big-screen adventures of original Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker have not begun.
Edwards said Rogue One will be more akin to a war movie, joking that "it's called Star Wars". Hinting at Rogue One's inspirations, he cited war films such as Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan, Variety reported.
"It's about the fact that God's not coming to save us, and we're on our own. The absence of the Jedi is omnipresent in the film. It hangs over the whole movie," said Edwards.
"It comes down to a group of individuals that don't have magic powers…that have to bring hope to the galaxy."
Heroes and villains will not be clearly defined in Rogue One.
"It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie," said Edwards, according to The Verge.
The only actor officially linked to Rogue One, The Theory Of Everything actress Felicity Jones, was also confirmed to be playing a rebel.
Filming for Rogue One begins only in summer, but a special-effects teaser clip for the flick was shown on Sunday, along with concept art.
The video opens with a lush forest, as lines about the Jedi from the first Star Wars movie are played with an ominous soundtrack.
The camera then pans and an Empire Tie Fighter spacecraft flies off into the distance.
As the camera pulls back, it is revealed that the craft is flying towards a massive moon-like structure in the sky: An Empire Death Star.
The clip cuts to black and frantic radio transmissions cue before the under-one-minute teaser ends suddenly to thunderous applause from the audience, going by footage uploaded online.
Episode VII - The Force Awakens is due in Singapore on Dec 17 this year, while Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One is slated to be released in the United States on Dec 16 next year.
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