One of the biggest announcements of the recent Disney shareholders meeting, that seems to be an event that will eventually rival any comic-con, is that the first Star Wars spin-off movie, which is set for release after Star Wars Episode 7 and before Episode 8 on December 16, 2016, finally got a name: Rogue One.
A New Hope
What was also confirmed, though already widely known, is that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is at the helm and writer Chris Weitz is penning the script. Disney must have really liked Wietz's work on the recent Cinderella adaptation and it has me thinking that this could lend some credence to one of the more popular rumors as to what exactly Rouge One is about.
If Disney and Star Wars did indeed have their eyes set on making a Princess Leia spin-off Star Wars movie about assembling a Rouge Squadron to pull off the galaxy-saving heist of stealing the plans for the original Death Star, why not get a writer who has proven adept at writing a smart Disney princess movie?
The Rumor Strikes Back
While the writer of About a Boy, Twilight: New Moon and Cinderella might not be the first one fans would look at to write a Star Wars movie - his skills at writing strong female characters may be ideally suited for Star Wars Rouge One.
There have been other rumors surrounding what Rogue One could be about - people demand their Han Solo/Boba Fett movie and will not give up on at least one of the guys, if not both, being the subject of the first Star Wars spin-off.
Return of the Jones
The only other information that was provided at the Disney meeting was a look at some concept art that from all reports looked gritty, militaristic, with comparisons drawn to Halo and indeed could be described as featuring a rogue squadron of troops going into action. But let's look at the other fact that we know about this movie.
Felicity Jones will be playing a lead role in the movie, if not the lead. It doesn't take too much squinting to picture her in the role of a young Princess Leia. But does the official statement announcing Rogue One describe the movie as something else entirely?
"'Rogue One' is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga."
One could easily read this statement as saying that none of the films in this spin off series will focus on an established character like Leia, Han Solo or Boba Fett. But would these Star Wars spin-off movies honestly be bold enough to have no established Star Wars characters whatsoever anchoring the picture and drawing in old fans? I know the brand name of Star Wars alone is enough to draw a good crowd, but why take the chance?
There is plenty of room in a movie to have someone like Princess Leia or Han Solo be the lead role in the story while still exploring character and events that lie outside the events that we have already seen.
The Facts Awaken
Star Wars Episode 7 is definitely focusing on new characters but it is still using plenty of established characters that you could argue most fans are more eager to see than the newcomers. Rogue One can still have Princess Leia anchoring the movie and introduce new characters and flesh out ones like Montross while telling a tale that is crucial to the "core Star Wars saga" but hasn't truly been told.
There are also those reports of Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd appearing as a young Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode 7. While this may drop the odds ever so slightly that Felicity Jones would play Princess Leia in Rouge One, it doesn't completely rule it out. We know nothing about how much screen time Billie Lourd is going to have, if it is a speaking role, when this suspected flashback is supposed to be taking place or if it will even make it into the final movie. It certainly doesn't rule out Felicity Jones playing A New Hope era Leia.
If Rogue One isn't about Princess Leia risking everything to save the Rebel Alliance and putting together a team of misfits to pull off the most daring heist in the Republic's history... Well, then someone really should be writing that movie because it is an amazing idea.