Star Wars updates: first Rogue One cast photo, Episode IX director announced

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As Disney’s new Star Wars universe grows ever bigger, keeping track of everything that’s happening becomes more and more of a challenge. Thanks to the D23 Expo fan conference happening this weekend we’ve got a few fresh bits of news about the movies hitting cinemas in the coming years.

First of all Disney has released the first official cast photo for anthology movie Rogue One, which you can see above. Felicity Jones (center) stars alongside Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, and Riz Ahmed in the tale of the rebel plot to seize the plans to the Death Star.

As yet we don’t know anything about the characters those actors are going to be playing, but we do know the film is set between Episode III and Episode IV, and Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is at the helm. Principal photography started this month and a December 2016 release is planned.

There’s news about the main movie franchise as well: Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow has been given the job of helming Episode IX, which hits screens in 2019, Disney has announced. Looper director Rian Johnson is tackling Episode VIII (out in 2017), and of course J.J. Abrams has almost finished his directorial duties for The Force Awakens (out before Christmas).

“This is not a job or an assignment,” said Trevorrow in the official Disney press release. “It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists, and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had — a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention, and hope.”

Right now we know very little about Rogue One, Episode VIII, and Episode XI, but if Episode VII: The Force Awakens is any indication, we can look forward to plenty of speculation and leaks alongside the official announcements in the months to come.

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