A few weeks ago, we received word that Gary Whitta joined Michael Arndt on the “I used to be writing a Star Wars movie” unemployment line. He, like Arndt, was granted a gracious departure that both sides claimed was mutual and amicable. He turned in his first draft, and that was the end of that. The Gareth Edwards-directed Star Wars spinoff has been searching for a replacement ever since, with the particulars being unclear (Is it for a page one rewrite? Is it to punch-up Whitta’s script?). According to The Hollywood Reporter, they found their man.
Chris Weitz is something of a multi-talent. He’s written several films. He’s also directed several. His resumÃ© as a writer includes an eclectic mix of films like Antz, About A Boy, Nutty Professor II, The Golden Compass, and Disney’s upcoming live-action Cinderella (which shows that the Mouse House didn’t have to go too far to find him). As a director, he tackled two of those projects (Compass and About A Boy), helmed the critically-ravaged Twilight Saga: New Moon, as well as the indie critical darling A Better Life. So his work has really been all over the map, with very scattershot results.
While his prior work doesn’t give us much to work with, what his hiring does do is heavily imply that this is no mere punch-up of Whitta’s script. Weitz was nominated for an Oscar for his About A Boy screenplay, so he’s likely been asked to do a major overhaul for this Star Wars film. You don’t hire a guy like this just to do tweaks.
This untitled Star Wars spinoff is set to arrive in a little under two years on December 16, 2016.