Walt Disney Pictures have today announced the director of the second standalone film in their revived Star Wars franchise of science-fiction blockbusters. Rumoured to centre on a younger version of Harrison Ford's iconic nerf-herder (Leia's words, not ours) Han Solo, the movie will be released in-between the launches of Episode VIII (2017) and Episode IX (2019), yet its title is (predictably) unknown at this stage.
Chronicle director Josh Trank is the helmer in question, with the announcement of his involvement in the much-anticipated string of new instalments coming hot on the heels of Disney's recent confirmation that Godzilla's Gareth Edwards will direct the first of the studio's spin-off flicks (set to hit cinemas in 2016). "[Josh] has such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation," says Lucasfilm's president Kathleen Kennedy, "That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars, and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX."
Kennedy's statement additionally essentially serves as confirmation that the narratives of these standalone pieces will not necessarily progress the threads established in Episodes VI-IX, and that they could therefore take place before, during or after the events of the original six films (hence why productions based around youthful renditions of Solo and Boba Fett are apparently in the works). In all honesty, we here at On-Screen can't confess ourselves to have been major fans of Chronicle, and our thoughts on The Fantastic Four (Trank's current in-the-works project)'s potential are mixed right now, but at the same time, Disney seem to know what they're doing regarding production changes, so our hopes remain high all the while.
One element of the series' past which will be making an on-screen reappearance in the not too distant future, though, is the Milennium Falcon, a returnee whose re-emergence has been spoiled by leaked set photos recently. Episode VII director J.J. Abrams provided the following hilarious response to the leaks on Twitter today (for those wondering, behind the note is the Falcon's beloved holo-chessboard, first glimpsed way back in 1977's Star Wars):
pic.twitter.com/wQYfaVtwFUStar Wars Episode VII will finish its leap through hyperspace and blast into cinemas worldwide on December 18th, 2015, and Trank's standalone Star Wars film will hit an auditorium near you in 2018.
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) June 4, 2014