Major news about upcoming Star Wars movies!! Release Dates and More!

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Variety posted some big news about upcoming Star Wars movies, including the title of next year's spin-off film and the release date for Episode VIII!

Disney and Lucasfilm have announced details of the upcoming “Stars Wars” films at its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

Rian Johnson has also been confirmed to write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will hit theaters May 26, 2017.

Gareth Edwards’ upcoming standalone film, starring Felicity Jones, will be called “Rogue One.” The movie starts filming in London this summer and opens Dec. 16, 2016.

“Rogue One,” based on an idea by Oscar-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, was written by “Cinderella” scribe Chris Weitz.

Kathleen Kennedy will produce the standalone film alongside Knoll, Tony To and John Schwartz.

Plot details of “Rogue One” are unknown.

Edwards’ spinoff movie is one of two known “Star Wars” spinoffs in the works at Lucasfilm and Disney. “Chronicle” director Josh Trank is developing a separate “Star Wars” pic.

It’s unclear how both spinoffs will play into the upcoming seventh chapter “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” if at all. Speculation has Edwards’ and Trank’s movies focusing on the early days of original characters Princess Leia and Han Solo.

The J.J. Abrams-directed “Force Awakens,” which opens Dec. 18, features original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as well as newcomers like John Boyega and Adam Driver. It will take place 30 years after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

Disney is banking heavily on the “Star Wars” franchise after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion. The studio is also planning “Star Wars”-themed attractions at Disney parks across the globe.

Source: Variety

Commentary: As I said a few weeks ago, Star Wars: Rebels has really gone a long way towards getting me excited about Star Wars again.  Unlike a lot of fans, I didn't hate the prequels (Well, okay, I did hate Attack of the Clones...but that is a tale for another time), but there just really hasn't been much product for me that really felt like Star Wars in a long time. Clone Wars just never really grabbed me at all.

But because of Rebels, I've found myself eagerly awaiting news on upcoming Star Wars movies.  The title Rogue One for the fire spin-off definitely catchs me eye.  I loved the Rogue Squadron books, and I hope that this movie is connected in some way.  I actually was surprised to hear that they hadn't even started filming Rogue One yet, especially since it's coming out next year.  Granted, they still have plenty of time since it's not until December.

They also gave a release date of May 26, 2017 for Episode VIII.  Really good news that we don't have to wait two full years between VII and VIII...though a big part of me wishes they had filmed them back to back like The Lord of the Rings.