We know that production on Star Wars: Episode VIII began last week with director Rian Johnson reuniting the cast of The Force Awakens for the next installment in the Skywalker family saga. Lucasfilm has released a short, 30-second announcement video – They’re calling it a trailer, but whatever… – that showcases just a brief glimpse of new footage that presumably shot on the first day of production.
Interestingly, it looks as if they are shooting something that picks up exactly where The Force Awakens leaves off. Traditionally, there have always been a gap of appreciable time between Star Wars movie episodes, so for Episode VIII to start right on the heels of The Force Awakens is a bit of a departure for the franchise. What other rule breaking does Johnson have in mind?
Joining Johnson and the returning cast are two newcomers to the Star Wars galaxy – Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro. Back in July, it was rumored that Del Toro had been offered the role of a villain in the upcoming sequel. This confirms at least half that story for us. As to what role either he or Dern will be playing remains to be seen, but I am sure that there will be plenty of speculation, rumors and speculation disguised as rumors over the next 22 months until the film’s December 15, 2017 release.
Here is the official announcement Lucasfilm released with the trailer –
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).