D23 EXPO: “Star Wars: Rogue One” Cast Announced, Colin Trevorrow Confirmed for “Star Wars: Episode IX”

Star Wars: Rogue One..L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen..Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley..©Lucasfilm 2016
Star Wars: Rogue One..L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen..Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley.©Lucasfilm 2016

If you’re a certain type of 12 year old and/or the D23 programmers, you save the best for last, and that means the Lucasfilm slate of projects, which newsflash: means STAR WARS stuff. And there was a bunch of stuff to chew on regarding Star Wars Episode VII: The Force AwakensStar Wars: Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode IX.

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA) ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)
(Disney/Image Group LA)

After recapping the upcoming slate, reiterating Phil Lord and Chris Miller as directors for a Han Solo origin story, with Lawrence and Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay. The movie is still untitled, merely referred to as “A Star Wars Story.”

Colin Trevorrow, the director of Jurassic World, long rumored for directorial duties, was confirmed to take the chair for Star Wars: Episode IX, set for release in 2019.

“Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “The power of that film paired with the enormous success of ‘Jurassic World’ speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.”

Trevorrow’s statement: “This is not a job or an assignment. 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.”

But the biggest announcement from the Star Wars films came in the form of the announcement of the ensemble cast for Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars: Rogue One, a film that has begun principal photography.

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA) ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)
(Disney/Image Group LA)

As previously announced, Theory of Everything‘s Felicity Jones will headline the companion film, and will be joined by one of the best casts in recent memory:

  • Diego Luna
  • Ben Mendelsohn
  • Donnie Yen
  • Jiang Wen
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Mads Mikkelsen
  • Alan Tudyk
  • Riz Ahmed

Here’s the press release:

The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar®-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring  in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”;  Alan Tudyk,  who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.”

“‘Rogue One’ takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’”

Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who shares a long history with the Star Wars movies, dating back to the mid-1990s, originated the idea for the movie. Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Cinderella”), John Knoll, Simon Emanuel (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Fast & Furious 6”) and Jason McGatlin (“Tintin,” “War of the Worlds”) are executive producers. Kiri Hart and John Swartz (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) are co-producers.

To create the lived-in, realistic feel of “Rogue One,” Edwards chose Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Foxcatcher”) to be his director of photography and Neil Corbould (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Saving Private Ryan”) to be his special effects supervisor.  Star Wars and Lucasfilm veteran Doug Chiang (“Star Wars: Episodes I-II,” “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director for the “Harry Potter” series, “Edge of Tomorrow”) will be the production designers. Additional crew members will include stunt coordinator Rob Inch (“World War Z,” Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”), creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) and co-costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor for the “Harry Potter” series, “Saving Private Ryan”) and Glyn Dillon (costume concept artist for “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Jupiter Ascending”).

To top it all off, J.J. Abrams brought out John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley and Lupita Nyong’o….and someone named Harrison Ford. It got nutty, and slightly unproductive, and wonderful.

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA) J.J. ABRAMS, HARRISON FORD, ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios)
(Disney/Image Group LA)

We were all kind of feeling like this by the end of it:

D23 EXPO 2015 - D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA) HARRISON FORD
(Disney/Image Group LA)