As Disney prepares to send the movie-going world back to a beloved galaxy far, far away, most of the hype generated from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim has centered around this winter’s ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ which picks up after the classic original trilogy.  But let’s not forget that Disney has bigger plans to expand beyond that storyline and explore other facets of this universe, including a stand-alone film called ‘Star Wars Rogue One,’ due next winter.

Lucasfilm Head of Development, Kiri Hart, appeared alongside Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Gareth Edwards at a panel devoted to this spin off film and expressed “We really wanted freedom to do some films that could stand on their own, and tell new stories.”  Hart also stated that these spin-offs that don’t tie into the larger Star Wars mythology (at least not directly) are being referred to as “anthology films.”

Moderator Pablo Hidalgo also unveiled a logline to hint at the direction of this stand-alone film: “A rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans.”

Felicity Jones, the star of the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ spin-off film ‘Rogue One’

Although production on ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ has yet to begin– it is set to begin filming this summer, with a December 16, 2016 release slated– a brief sizzle reel, featuring a voice over by legend Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, displayed a jungle planet setting (possibly Alderan) with a large object looming in the sky… at first it looks like a moon, but the audience soon discovers that it is the first Death Star, which is still being built during this movie, which takes place between ‘Episode III: Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’.

Guinness’ voice-over states, “For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”

Of course the Jedi were mostly wiped out in ‘Episode: III,’ and Edwards was quick to point that out, clarifying, “It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have magic powers, that have to bring hope to the galaxy… It’s about the fact that god’s not coming to save us, and we’re on our own.  The absence of the Jedi is omnipresent in the film. It hangs over the whole movie.”  The director also emphasized “It’s called Star WARS,” hinting to expect epic battles that have punctuated the preceding films.  ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ cinematographer Greig Fraser will add to a grittier more war-like feel for this movie.

Though her character was not directly identified, Academy Award nominee (for ‘The Theory of Everything’) Felicity Jones will be starring as a Rebel soldier.

Lastly, shared this piece of concept art from the panel that supports Edwards statements that this film will definitely emphasize the “wars” in ‘Star Wars.’

Yes, of course you’re pumped for ‘Episode VII’ but are you intrigued to explore other corners of this galaxy?

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter and Screen Rant