Star Wars standalone movie loses its writer

Gary Whitta has departed the next project in the Star Wars franchise. We sense a disturbance in the force…

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While all the signs are currently looking good for this year’s secretive sci-fi sequel Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the planned eighth movie looks to be in a spot of bother.

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Although its director (Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards) remains firmly attached to the project, the film’s writer Gary Whitta has departed for unknown reasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after working on the script since May 2014 and completing a first draft.

“The year I spent working with Lucasfilm on this Star Wars film has been by far the most rewarding period of my entire career,” he said in a statement.

“As a lifelong Star Wars fan I’m deeply grateful to have had the rare opportunity to contribute to a new chapter in its ongoing cinematic legacy. The film is going to be amazing.”

Director Edwards added: “Gary has been a wonderful, inspired contributor and I enjoyed working with him tremendously. I’m so grateful for all of his contributions.”

Whether the eighth film will now meet its release date on 16th December 2016 remains to be seen.

Notably, the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed Force Awakens also lost its writer at an early stage, with Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt dropping out after a year of work on the project, leaving the script to Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Here’s hoping no-one else drops out – or Darth Vader will be having words.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be released in December 2015