Much as the standalone movies will be spun off from the main saga, I've decided to spin off threads about the spinoff movies from the main Episode VII thread as they're now getting more coverage.
What we know so far: the first standalone will be released on December 16, 2016 and directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). Gary Whitta wrote the first draft of the screenplay and now Chris Weitz is working on it. The second standalone, presumably scheduled for 2018, will be directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four). When the films were announced, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were named as writers, but after Kasdan moved to The Force Awakens, his name was not brought up in any further news about the standalones.
Gary Whitta announced on Twitter that has completed his work on director Gareth Edwards' 2016 spinoff movie. Other sources say that he completed the first draft, is leaving on good terms, and another writer may work on finishing the script.
He is a big OT fan and he seemed very enthusiastic about working on the film, but his horrible track record of scriptwriting and his negative comments about SW prior to getting the job always rubbed me the wrong way.
When the spinoff films were announced, it was said that Lawrence Kasdan would be writing one and Simon Kinberg writing another. Then, Kasdan moved onto Episode VII full-time once Michael Arndt left the project, and Whitta was announced as the spinoff writer, so maybe Kasdan will return to the spinoff he was originally attached to and give it the same polishing job he and Abrams gave Episode VII? My money is on Kinberg writing the movie directed by Josh Trank, since they worked together on Fantastic Four, but that has not yet been confirmed.