Aside from the seven episodes of cinema produced previously, other areas of the Star Wars expanded universe have long been explored through mediums such as novels, comic books and video games. A series of stand-alone spin-offs are now planned which are being referred to as the Anthology, and the first of this kind is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Directed by British filmmaker Gareth Edwards, it is set in between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy, shortly before 1977’s Episode IV – A New Hope. The plot follows rebel fighter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a societal outcast who is approached by The Alliance to assist with their mission to thwart the Galactic Empire’s plan to build a deadly super-weapon. Reluctantly, she agrees, teaming up with fellow rebel Cassian (Diego Luna) and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), but the merciless Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) will stop at nothing to see his assignment through to the bitter end.
Following on from The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which were released in 2006 and 2009 respectively, the third in the thriller series is Inferno, based on Dan Brown’s novel of the same name. Ron Howard returns to the director’s chair for the latest instalment with David Koepp resuming screenwriting duties. When Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes in a hospital bed in Florence, he is suffering from both amnesia and a head injury. Luckily for him, on hand to assist is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) who helps him fill in the blanks while they figure out how and why he got there. They come under attack from a mysterious assassin and a wild-goose-chase ensues as they attempt to foil a plan to release a deadly plague, conceived by visionary scientist Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who is desperate to solve the world’s overpopulation problem.
If you see that Jonah Hill and James Franco are in the same film, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would be a lightweight comic affair, given their mutual associations and previous work. However, in artistic theatre director Rupert Goold’s first foray into film, laughs are nowhere to be found. The mystery thriller ‘True Story’ is based on the memoir of the same name by former New York Times writer Mike Finkel, following his journalistic fall from grace. After losing his job due to fabricated storytelling, Finkel (Hill) discovers that Christian Longo (Franco), who is awaiting trial for the murder of his wife and three children, is using his name as an alias. Eager to explore the matter further, he arranges a prison visit, which triggers a psychological meeting of the minds that changes both of their lives forever.