Chris Weitz Boards Gareth Edwards’ Standalone Star Wars Film

Following the departure of formerly-attached screenwriter Gary Whitta earlier this month, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have, according to a story today at The Hollywood Reporter, set Academy Award nominee Chris Weitz to work on the screenplay for the first standalone Star Wars film. Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards remains attached to direct the project, which is scheduled for a December 16, 2016 release.

Weitz launched his screenwriting career with the 1998 animated comedy Antz. He’s best known, however, for his Oscar-nominated work adapting Nick Hornby’s About a Boy in 2002, a film that he also directed. Other directorial credits include The Golden Compass in 2007 and The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2009. As a screenwriter, Weitz’s work can next be seen in Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action take on Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh and slated for a March 13 release.

Although the mysterious Star Wars film has been rumored to follow a heist involving the theft of the Death Star plans, few official details regarding Edwards’ film have been made available. The project appears to be close to the casting stage, however, with a report from last week suggesting that actresses like Tatiana Maslany, Felicity Jones and Kate and Rooney Mara have all read for a potential role.

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