‘Star Wars’ 8 confirmed for 2017, Felicity Jones to star in spin-off film

A pair of new 'Star Wars' films are now officially on their way

A pair of new Star Wars films are now officially on their way.

During Disney’s shareholder meeting in San Francisco, California earlier today (March 12), chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been scheduled for release on May 26, 2017 – 40 years to the day that the original Star Wars film opened in cinemas.

Star Wars: Episode VIII will be written and directed by Rian Johnson, whose previous credits include 2012’s sci-fi hit Looper starring Bruce Willis and three episodes of Breaking Bad.

Meanwhile, Iger also announced that the first in a planned wave of Star Wars spin-off movies has been titled Rogue One and will star British actress Felicity Jones, who recently received an Oscar nomination for her performance in The Theory Of Everything. Rogue One will be directed by Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards from a script by Chris Weitz, the Oscar-nominated writer of Cinderella, About A Boy and Antz.

The spin-off film, based on an idea by Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor John Knoll, will start shooting this summer in London and Disney has set a release date of December 16, 2016.

Both films will be preceded by JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens which is set for release on December 18 this year (2015). Plot details are being kept tightly under wraps but it is known that the story is set 30 years after 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.