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I'm sitting in Los Angeles as I type this, about to head over to Walt Disney Studios on some not-so-secret Rock Father business. While I'm on the Disney lot, of course I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open, hoping to discover some grand secrets about December's release of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, but I can be 99.999% sure that there will be none. As with THE FORCE AWAKENS, official news has been light thus far, but with STAR WARS CELEBRATION: EUROPE coming up and SDCC (which I'm told will not have a ROGUE ONE presence, but ya never know) as well, you can bet the floodgates will soon be open as we head toward fall. ROGUE ONE is an interesting beast, a film that's a prequel by definition (34 years before THE FORCE AWAKENS), but not in the same realm of the infamous George Lucas-helmed "Prequel Trilogy," and today comes some real details.

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Are you ready for more STAR WARS? Judging from the response to the first teaser trailer for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, audiences are - even though a few of them need to understand that this is the first big screen STAR WARS film to take place outside of the numeric "Saga" timeline, a story that takes place in the days leading up to the very first STAR WARS film, 1977's A NEW HOPE. There's countless tales yet to be told, and this is exciting - a film that will take audiences back to that familiar time, a time when The Empire was just gearing-up to test the very first Death Star. It's the story of the Rebels who stole the plans for the space station - the very plans that Princess Leia places within R2-D2 at the beginning of the movie that started it all. While the film won't be out until December, the toys will hit this Fall, and this weekend comes the "product packaging reveal" - a look at what all the various licensees will be marketing their products in later this year. Imperial Walkers? TIE Fighters? An imposing new Stormtrooper? I'm in...

I've said it before, but aside from the initial run from 1977-1983, there has been no better time to be a STAR WARS fan than now. With STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, the time has come to focus our lenses on what's next - the December 16, 2016 release of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. What's unique about this film is that it's the first theatrical STAR WARS film to take place outside of the main "Saga" series. For casual viewers, that means it's a spin-off that takes place within the general timeline, but outside of what's being told right now. This is the story of the Rebels who secured the Death Star plans - the ones referenced in the opening crawl of the very first STAR WARS film that audiences ever witnessed - 1977's Episode IV: A New Hope. As that crawl read, "It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet..." ROGUE ONE is the story of those very Rebels, and it's set to be a true war movie - a STAR WARS film unlike any we've ever seen before. Check out the first teaser trailer below...

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I've said this before, but with so many new STAR WARS fans finding themselves immersed in a galaxy far, far away thanks to THE FORCE AWAKENS, if you're not watching STAR WARS REBELS on Disney XD, now is the time to get started - or to catch up on the first season and a half, and jump-in where we're at right now. Things are getting good as the timeline inches closer to what we'll end up seeing in ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY later this year, and in a more familiar form, where the story began in 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE. In next week's episode, "Shroud of Darkness," Jedi Master Yoda returns, as does Darth Vader. Take a look at the latest preview below, and hit my Facebook for all the latest stills from the new episode!

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The folks at The Walt Disney Studios have been dropping some major bombs at their D23 Expo in Anaheim this weekend, and it's no surprise that many of them are coming from a galaxy far, far away. The STAR WARS news is big and plentiful, covering everything from the next couple of movies to the long-awaited announcement regarding STAR WARS expansions at the Disney Parks. Here's the rundown...

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When it comes to STAR WARS, there was huge news this morning out of the Disney Annual Meeting of Shareholders led by Bob Iger. As posted on STARWARS.comROGUE ONE has been revealed as the title for the first "standalone" STAR WARS adventure that moves beyond the core STAR WARS Saga. Filming begins this summer under the direction of Gareth Edwards (MONSTERS, GODZILLA) from a screenplay by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (CINDERELLA, ABOUT A BOY, ANTZ). The first actress to be announced for the cast is Academy Award-nominee Felicity Jones (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) The idea for the story of ROGUE ONE came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight RisesFast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (TintinWar of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of BrothersThe Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film is slated for release on December 16, 2016.

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