When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and subsequently announced that it would resume the production of Star Wars movies, the big news was that it wouldn’t just involve the continuing Saga series. There would now be a new Star Wars film every year, with standalone one-off stories interspersing the ongoing episodes. The first of these–Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One–is now only a year away from release, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has provided some details about what fans can expect from the spinoffs.
In an interview with Slashfilm, Kennedy revealed that the filmmakers involved would have the freedom to explore different genres and styles, separate from the established feel of the Saga movies. “The standalone films can be a wide variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe,” she said. “They are really being designed as standalone movies which is fantastic for the filmmakers we bring in, and the actors we hire, because it’s a different sensibility.”
Kennedy went on to explain that, while Rogue One and 2018’s young Han Solo film are clearly prequels to the existing movies, this wouldn’t always be the case. “The stories can fall pretty much anywhere on the timeline,” she said. “It just so happens to be Rogue One is the precursor to New Hope and yes, this Han Solo idea, but I would not argue that we are setting up any kind of prequel notion with these standalone movies. I think that’s so far just coincidence.”
Finally, Kennedy denied that the films would themselves create yet more spinoffs and sequels. “[They are] are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises,” she said. “They will very definitely have a beginning, middle, and end.”
Star Wars: Rogue One is due for release on December 16, 2016, and stars Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen.