As many already know, Gary Whitta was tasked with writing the first draft of the Untitled Gareth Edwards Directed Star Wars Spin-Off, which is set to hit theaters in 2016. He has since been replaced by The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz. Thus far, no official story details have been revealed by Disney or LucasFilm, but the movie is believed to revolve around space pirates, Han Solo, Boba Fett, spies stealing plans to the Death Star, or all four of those things combined. While Gary Whitta is not allowed to talk about what we'll actually be seeing on screen next year, he did talk with /film about his commitment to the project, calling it the hardest thing he's ever worked on:
"I think any time you're dealing with something that has some personal significance to you, you instinctively approach it with a great degree of appreciation and respect. I grew up with Star Wars, it played a pivotal role in setting me on my lifelong course as a writer, so to have the opportunity to contribute a new piece to the ongoing legacy of that is both humbling and daunting. I don't think I've ever worked harder on anything or with more conviction and commitment, and that includes my own original projects, which I never thought I'd hear myself say. If you ask my wife she'd tell you I was not the easiest person to live with while I was working on it because I was unable to think about anything else the vast majority of the time."
Gary Whitta is set to release his first novel soon, entitled Abomination. He is also known for his screenplays The Book of Eli and After Earth. Coming into work on the Untitled Gareth Edwards Directed Star Wars Spin-Off allowed the writer to join some of his all-time biggest filmmaking heroes:
"Well they say that golf is the only sport where as a professional there is actually the chance that you'll get to play alongside your heroes, and that's true of film too. Certainly in this case I got to meet and work alongside people I consider legends in the movie business and personal heroes of mine, so it was certainly unique in that aspect."
Anyone who has closely followed Gary Whitta's career knows that he has been extremely harsh when it comes to the Star Wars prequels, publicly speaking out against them on various blogs and podcasts. /film wants to know if he's changed his stance at all. Here is his answer:
I totally understand that we have a new generation growing up now that loves the prequels in the same way that people of my generation love the original trilogy. And soon there will be another generation that will no doubt love the new films that are being made now the most. I just urge anyone who is coming to Star Wars for the first time NOT to watch the films in chronological order. DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT watch the prequels first. Watch them in the order they were made. When I first met my wife she had never seen a Star Wars movie so I thought it would be an interesting experiment to show her all six films in chronological order. She has still never forgiven me for that, and rightly so. Not only does it blow the Darth Vader reveal in Empire, it also blows what I think is often forgotten as just as great a reveal - that Yoda is not just some annoying little swamp creature but in fact a great Jedi Master.
The Untitled Gareth Edwards Directed Star Wars Spin-Off is expected to start shooting this spring. Other than the 2016 release date, the director and the two writers, we know little else about the movie. Taron Egerton and Aaron Paul have both been rumored for the lead role, with Felicity Jones said to have been cast as the female lead. We're sure to learn more in the coming weeks as production begins to really heat up.