He was born in 1975 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Since childhood he wanted to work in cinema to direct his own films, stating that "Star Wars is definitely the reason that I wanted to become a filmmaker".
He got his start in special effects; creating digital effects for prestigious shows such as Nova, Perfect Disaster and Heroes and Villains, the latter of which a series for which he made 250 visual effects which won international recognition. In 2008 he entered Sci-Fi-London, a 48 hour film challenge, where a movie had to be created start-to-finish in just two days, within certain criteria. Edwards won the contest and went on to write and direct Monsters, his first feature. Edwards personally created the special effects for Monsters using off the shelf equipment. Besides the two main actors, the crew consisted of just five people.
The success of Monsters brought enough awareness in Hollywood to land Edwards a few major projects. After the film's release, he did interviews in Hollywood with several studios, including Legendary Pictures. In January 2011, Edwards landed his first major Hollywood feature, as the director of the 2014 Godzilla reboot from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.
In May 2014, it was announced that Edwards would direct the first Star Wars stand-alone film with writer Gary Whitta, due to be released on December 16, 2016 and will return to direct the Godzilla sequel, now planned as a trilogy, with the first sequel targeted to be released on June 8, 2018.