05/22/2014 08:57 pm ET

Gareth Edwards Will Direct The First 'Star Wars' Spinoff

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

In a headline that also doubles as Mad Libs for Hollywood trades, Disney announced on Thursday that "Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards has been hired to bring the first "Star Wars" spinoff movie to theaters. The studio has set the untitled film's release for Dec. 16, 2016, the same month that 20th Century Fox plans to unveil "Avatar 2."

No other information on the "Star Wars" spinoff is known at this time, but earlier speculation had been that Disney and Lucasfilm were looking to make standalone films about Yoda, Boba Fett and the young days of Han Solo.

"Ever since I saw 'Star Wars' I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life -- join the Rebel Alliance!" Edwards said in a statement released on StarWars.com. "I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm." The spinoff film's script will be written by Gary Whitta, who also wrote "The Book of Eli" and "After Earth."

Edwards has become a hot commodity in the wake of "Godzilla," which has grossed more than $216 million worldwide since its release on May 16. Edwards is expected back for that film's sequel, but it won't happen until after "Star Wars."

"The plan has always been for Gareth to direct a different film before we started on another 'Godzilla,' but who knew it would a 'Star Wars' installment?" Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "We have a great plan in store for Godzilla fans and I am looking forward to seeing Gareth’s imprint on the Star Wars universe."

In fact, Legendary Pictures is so excited about Edwards' trip to a galaxy far, far away that the studio's Twitter feed posted this after the news broke:

For more on Edwards and "Star Wars," head to StarWars.com.



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