Star Wars has a new, official standalone spin-off film coming — Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones and written by Rian Johnson. The movie will be the first in a series of spin-offs that focus on Star Wars universe peripheral characters and side-stories, according to Disney, and will premiere on December 16, 2016, a year after the next main continuity Star Wars film.
There’s nothing else so far in terms of details about the series, but the name indicates it will follow the adventures of fighter pilots, likely flying X-Wings. Rogue Squadron was the straighter squadron that played a pivotal role in the Empire Strikes Back, and then later in Return of the Jedi, and which likely grew from Red Squadron in the initial Star Wars IV: A New Hope Series. In addition to Luke Skywalker, other notable members of the squad include Wedge Antilles and Biggs Darklighter.
The Rogue Squadron story provided the basis for a series of extended universe novels called Rogue Squadron, which I loved and read the vast majority of, including some multiple times. So I am excited about this thing, you could say.
Disney also announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII will premiere on May 26, 2017, so the studio is switching to a summer release window for the next main franchise installment. All indications are that Disney hopes to turn Star Wars into an elaborate, interconnected cinematic universe the way that it has with Marvel, and that’s just extra cool – provided they can actually make good movies from the base material now that George Lucas is out of the picture.