A newly-released publicity photo shows Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen wearing "Star Wars" costumes and makeup. Their roles have yet to be revealed, but Jiang looks like he will play a resistance fighter and Yen will play a Jedi. (Photo/China.org.cn)
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said the first of the standalone Star Wars stories has started principal photography in London.
Yen, who starred in "Ip Man," and Jiang, who directed and starred in the award-winning "Let the Bullets Fly" and "Devils on the Doorstep," have joined the stellar cast which also includes Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything"), Diego Luna ("Milk"), Ben Mendelsohn ("Bloodline"), Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland"), Mads Mikkelsen ("Casino Royale") and Riz Ahmed ("Nightcrawler").
Alan Tudyk, who provided voice dubbing for characters in "Frozen" and "Big Hero 6," will play a "performance capture" character in the film.
A recently-released publicity photo shows Yen and Jiang wearing "Star Wars" costumes and makeup. Their roles have yet to be revealed, but Jiang looks like he will play a resistance fighter and Yen will play a Jedi.
It was reported by the Chinese media that Yen would enjoy the highest remuneration of all the cast and will earn a share of the future box office revenue, which suggests that he may have a lead role in the film rather than a cameo.
Gareth Edwards ("Godzilla") is directing "Rogue One," which tells the story of resistance fighters who united to steal plans for the dreaded Death Star. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a Dec. 16, 2016 release.
"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," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.
Alan Horn also surprisingly revealed at the D23 Expo that "Star Wars: Episode IX" will be directed by Colin Trevorrow, whose "Jurassic World" has grossed US$1.6 billion worldwide to become the highest grossing film of this year so far and one of the top grossers of all time. "Star Wars: Episode IX" is scheduled for release in 2019.
"Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens," directed by J.J. Abrams, will be released on December 18, 2015. Harrison Ford, who is reprising his role as Han Solo, joined Abrams on stage to rapturous applause at the D23 Expo while "Star Wars: Episode VIII," directed by Rian Johnson, is slated for release on May 26, 2017.
Horn further mentioned an "Untitled Han Solo" stand-alone film, due for release on May 25, 2018, which will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord.
It was also revealed at the expo that Star Wars' themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, creating Disney's largest single-themed lands ever at 14-acres each.
The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm from George Lucas in 2012 at a valuation of U.S.$4.06 billion, then tried all out to further explore the Star Wars universe, which continues to excite generations of fans .