Disney and Lucasfilm have announced that the first standalone Star Wars film will be called Rogue One.
The film is separate to the new trilogy and will explore the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga.
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger has also announced the first cast member – The Theory of Everything’s Felicity Jones.
Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz).
Disney says the film’s plot was developed by John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic.
Knoll will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce.
The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.
In addition, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII – the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens which hits cinemas on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977.
Johnson directed modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad.