ENTERTAINMENT

'Rogue One' trailer featuring Diego Luna gives peek of next film in 'Star Wars' franchise

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The dust has barely settled from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but audiences already have a new installment to get excited for.

The world got a glimpse of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" in a teaser trailer that debuted Thursday on "Good Morning America" and quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. The movie is set before 1977's "A New Hope," introducing the ragtag rebels who unite to try to steal plans for the Death Star.

One of them is Felicity Jones from "The Theory of Everything," whose blaster-wielding character, Jyn Erso, features prominently in the spot as she's tasked with the dangerous mission. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards, who is best known for the 2014 reboot of "Godzilla."

"Rogue One," which hits theaters on Dec. 16 of this year, also stars Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn and martial arts star Donnie Yen.

In the world of "Rogue One," Edwards said at a fan event last year, the "absence of Jedi is omnipresent."

The characters in the film realize that the "gods are not coming to save us," he said. "It comes down to a group of people who don't have magical powers who band together to bring hope to the galaxy."

"Cinderella" scribe, Chis Weitz, wrote the screenplay based on an idea from visual effects supervisor John Knoll.

It's the first in a series of spinoffs set in the "Star Wars" universe, disconnected from the more chronological main trilogy that kicked off with "The Force Awakens" and will continue with Rian Johnson's "Episode VIII," which is slated for Dec. 2017.

One of the spinoff films will focus on a young Han Solo. "Empire Strikes Back" and "The Force Awakens" co-writer, Lawrence Kasdan, and his son Jon Kasdan are writing the script, which will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of "The Lego Movie" and "21 Jump Street." Casting is still in process, and it isn't known who will play the smuggler originated and made iconic by Harrison Ford.

Kiri Hart, vice president of development for Lucasfilm Ltd., said last year that the anthology movies will vary in "scale and genre."

"We wanted freedom to do some films that would be able to stand on their own and tell unique stories," she said. "They can still feel like 'Star Wars' and be 'Star Wars.'"

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