‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ director Gareth Edwards to be a keynote speaker at SXSW 2017

The Welsh filmmaker will be one of the major speakers at the annual Texas event

The director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards, has been announced as one of the keynote speakers at next year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.

Edwards has directed the first film in the Star Wars ‘Anthology Series’, which is set for release on December 16. Its first full length trailer was released last week.

As reported by Variety, Edwards will speak at the Austin, Texas event, which is being held next year from March 10 to March 19. The director joins the likes of Beats 1’s Zane Lowe, author Adam Grant and the co-creator of the hit Netflix show Transparent, Jill Soloway, as keynote speakers at the famed annual cultural conference.

Speaking about the announcement of Edwards and the other speakers, Hugh Forrest, SXSW’s chief programming officer, said the choice reflects “a lot of the bigger-picture trends we think will be getting the most buzz in March 2017.”

“These trends include innovation in the transportation space, the rise of artificial intelligence, more emphasis on innovation within healthcare, and an increase in creative industry inclusion,” Forrest said. “Of course, the biggest trend for SXSW is always the convergence of the technology, music, and film industries, as different people from different sectors gain incredible value by sharing new ideas and new approaches to common challenges.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first in Disney’s ‘Anthology Series’ of Star Wars spin-off films that will continue in 2018 with the currently untitled Han Solo prequel movie due. It was announced in July that rising star Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as a younger version of the character made famous by Harrison Ford.

A third ‘Anthology series’ film will follow in 2020.