There’s a lot riding on the success of “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” not the least of which is the launch of a larger cinematic universe with spin-offs. Earlier this month, the first spin-off – to be directed by “Monsters” and “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards – experienced a setback when screenwriter Gary Whitta dropped out of the project. While at the time it appeared that “X-Men” screenwriter Simon Kinberg would be taking over scripting duties, THR reports that another blockbuster vet will be taking over the reins.
According to the trade, Academy Award-nominated writer-director Chris Weitz is officially joining the still-untitled project which is rumored to focus on bounty hunters’ efforts to steal the plans of the Death Star before the events of “A New Hope.” Although his last directorial outing was 2011’s great “A Better Life,” Wetiz’ last credited screenplay was 2007’s franchise non-starter “The Golden Compass,” which he also directed (he’s also the writer behind this year’s live-action take on “Cinderella”).
With casting already begun on Edwards’ film, Weitz has no time to spare in whipping the script into shape. Especially not with a release date of December 16, 2016 already set. Here’s hoping he can bring the same deft touch he used in “A Better Life” as opposed to whatever the hell “The Golden Compass” was.