Disney president Alan Horn announced today that the first Star Wars spinoff, titled Rogue One (and from the new logo above, it seems to now be called Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), started filming last week under the direction of Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), who delivered a brief video greeting from the set before a photo of the principal cast was flashed on the screens at the D23 Expo:
The cast includes Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Donnie Yen (Blade II), Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler) and the newly announced Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Alan Tudyk (Serenity).
As rumored, the movie takes place before A New Hope, and the plot follows a band of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the Death Star.
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy was not in attendance but said in a press release that Rogue One “will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on Dec. 16, 2016.