Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have a sequel, Disney has announced – or has it?
On Saturday, Screen Rant reported that the company was "excited" to unveil a sequel to a film that seemed to end in a very final way.
According to the entertainment website, a Disney press release announced: "The Rebellion continues! StarWars.com is pleased to announce that development has begun on a Rogue One sequel. The Star Wars story team isn't ready to share exactly what they have in store or when the Rogue One sequel will arrive in theaters but fans attending Star Wars Celebration 2017 might keep their eyes peeled for an early tease!"
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One interesting detail from the purported press release was that lead actors Felicity Jones and Diego Luna would be returning to reprise their roles as Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor.
Quite how they would return is not terribly clear, given Rogue One ends with a "rather unconventional conclusion for a Hollywood tentpole", Screen Rant says. "All of the main heroes perished during the emotional Battle of Scarif."
However, Rogue One grossed more than $1bn (£798m) at the worldwide box office and a sequel "proved to be too good of an opportunity for the studio to pass up".
It all sounded too good to be true for fans - and unfortunately it was: the article was published on April Fool's Day.
Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi remains the next cab off the rank, with its release date of 15 December, followed by the as-yet-unnamed Han Solo spin-off in May next year.
Nevertheless, the idea that Rogue One might need a follow-up film is not as absurd as it might first seem, says Radio Times.
As well as being an enjoyable stand-alone romp, the movie appears to have been conceived to plug a galaxy-sized hole in the original trilogy of films, which never satisfactorily answered the question of why the Death Star – a moon-sized battle station – would have been built with such an obvious weakness that it could be blown up simply by having a few missiles shot into its exhaust system.
Rogue One attempted to resolve the issue with the introduction of Galen Erso, the anti-imperial chief engineer of the Death Star who built the flaw in its design so it could eventually be destroyed.
In the film, Erso makes contact with his daughter Jyn to let the Rebel alliance known the massive weapon has a weakness - "but damn, Galen, couldn't you have just WhatsApped 'shoot the exhaust points' instead of being so cryptic?" asks Radio Times.
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards told the site Erso was deliberately vague because "he was worried his message would be intercepted and somebody would hear where the flaw was and fix it.
"His goal was simply to let them know it was possible. He couldn't just tell them it was the exhaust ports," he said.
As an explanation, it is "not a perfect fit," says Radio Times, adding: "But as per Star Wars tradition, we could always make a prequel to further seal the gaps. Rogue 0.5, anyone?"
Star Wars: Han Solo to meet Chewbacca and acquire the Millennium Falcon in spin-off
Han Solo will meet his sidekick Chewbacca and be united with the Millennium Falcon spaceship in the next Star Wars film to follow Star Wars 9: The Last Jedi.
The popular character, originally played by Harrison Ford in the 70s and 80s, will also reveal the origins of his name, says Bob Iger, chief executive and chairman of Walt Disney Company.
Following the success of the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney has planned several more side adventures, the first of which follows the life and times of the dashing young smuggler Han Solo.
In an interview at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, Iger revealed several titbits about the solo Solo outing, confirming the film will be an origin story for the intergalactic scoundrel.
He also said the story will detail how Han, to be played by Alden Ehrenreich, came into possession of the Millennium Falcon, "though every Star Wars fan worth his or her salt knows he won [it] from Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, taking over from Billy Dee Williams) in a game of Sabacc", film site Inside The Magic says.
Iger added that fans will see how Solo "meets a certain Wookiee" and "how he got his name".
The Han Solo spin-off is scheduled for released in May 2018.
Star Wars – Han Solo spin-off: Woody Harrelson reveals character's name
Actor says he'll be playing criminal mentor to young smuggler
In an interview with US TV host Jimmy Fallon, Woody Harrelson has revealed the name of his character in the forthcoming Star Wars Han Solo spin-off.
According to the American actor, the character will be called Beckett.
The actor has also confirmed that Beckett is a criminal who mentors Han in the ways of intergalactic smuggling.
Some fans on Reddit were surprised by how open Harrelson was with Fallon.
"I wonder if the secrecy is more lax on this film than the others or Woody just don't give a s***," said a Reddit user who goes by the name of Ewokfinale.
"It only just started filming," says another user called Oldstring. "We already know a little bit which is reasonable given the stage the film is at. Time will tell how much more we learn and what sorts of leaks come out."
Many fans remain apprehensive about how well a Han Solo spin-off will work.
"It still blows my mind they decided to go for a Han Solo film," says Pileofclothes. "But hey Ewan McGregor as a young Obi-Wan turned out to be the best part of the prequels in my books so I will stay silently optimistic they can do something special here."
All will be revealed when the Han Solo film is released in May 2018.
Star Wars Han Solo spin-off: Woody Harrelson in talks to join cast
With Rogue One out of the way, attention is shifting to Disney's next Star Wars stand-alone film, which follows the adventures of a young Han Solo.
Actor Alden Ehrenreich has already been cast as a younger incarnation of Harrison Ford's famous character. Now veteran actor Woody Harrelson has been approached to join the film, reports Variety.
The magazine says he "might help guide another iconic character's journey", following his role as an adviser to Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise.
Although a title is yet to be revealed for the film, it is know that Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke will co-star and Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller will be at the helm.
Variety says: "The ensemble has already begun filling with rising stars, but executives wanted this role to go to an actor with considerable clout, and started meeting with actors over the past several weeks."
So how has the news gone down with fans of the series?
"Han Solo does not need a mentor figure, it goes against his character but… I completely love the idea," says Star Wars blogger Rex Overdrive.
However, not everyone is so impressed.
"Woody is an odd choice," says Redditor Piker10. "I saw Christian Bale was up for the role as well or was looked it. That would be cool."
UtahGance writes: "I just wish this kind of role would go to Kurt Russell. He was the only other real choice for Han in 1975, in my opinion."
Rogue One: K-2SO steals the show in Star Wars spin-off
Rogue One: A Star Wars story has set the internet abuzz with discussions about favourite characters and their cinematic futures.
But as reviews continue to fly in, "there seems to be one aspect of the standalone Star Wars story that the majority of viewers have agreed on: the excellence of K-2SO", says Time.
The franchise’s new android, voiced by Alan Tudyk, is being widely praised for his role in the latest instalment of life in a galaxy far, far away, with fans taking to Twitter to express their love for Cassian Andor’s sassy sidekick.
Tudyk discusses the fun of playing the character in a new featurette for the film.
"Even better, [it adds] in a few clips of K-2SO from Rogue One that remind you of one of the few things that the movie gets completely right in terms of tone," says Collider.
The actor has also revealed that the droid's signature British accent went through a couple of iterations before director Gareth Edwards settled on his favourite.
In an interview on Conan, Tudyk acted out some of the examples, showing off his excellent accent-mimicking abilities.
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