There are shuffles and changes happening behind-the-scenes at Star Wars, I'm hearing, and the first one has become official: Gary Whitta has left the standalone Star Wars movie, scheduled for Decemeber 2016. But don't panic - it's unlikely that the film is starting from scratch but rather that Whitta's draft will be worked on by new writers. The parting seems to be incredibly amicable, with everybody giving statements to the Hollywood Reporter about it:
“The year I spent working with Lucasfilm on this Star Wars film has been by far the most rewarding period of my entire career. As a lifelong Star Wars fan I’m deeply grateful to have had the rare opportunity to contribute to a new chapter in its ongoing cinematic legacy. The film is going to be amazing."
That's Whitta. Here's director Gareth Edwards:
“Gary has been a wonderful, inspired contributor and I enjoyed working with him tremendously. I’m so grateful for all of his contributions.”
Again, this isn't crazy unusual and I wouldn't be terribly worried about it. The first draft is in, now someone else is going to take a crack at it. And who knows, maybe Whitta even comes back in a few months and does a pass - that kind of thing happens all the time. The development of a movie (especially a big movie) is far less cut and dried than most people believe it to be. A lot of hands get on the project before it finally shoots.