Star Wars: Episode VIII is officially underway. On Monday, Disney and Lucasfilm made the announcement, saying that filming had just began on the new installment of the Star Wars franchise. The initial cast choices for the movie have also been revealed. Star Wars: Episode VIII is set for release Dec. 15, 2017.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is being written and directed by filmmaker Rian Johnson, maker of Looper and Brick. According to recently released videos, the new movie is picking up right where the last movie left off. The film is being produced by Ram Bergman and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Episode VIII will be executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.
For Episode VIII, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Anthony Daniels will all return, joining Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, and Domhnall Gleeson from the last movie. Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro and Jurassic Park star Laura Dern have also reportedly signed on to the project. Del Toro has confirmed he’s playing a character who tilts toward the dark side. There has been no indication of who Dern might be playing. Kelly Marie Tran, veteran of the improv comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, has also signed on and her role was also unspecified.
Returning crew members include co-producer and VP post production Pippa Anderson, creature and droid FX creative supervisor Neal Scanlan, costume designer Michael Kaplan, prop master Jamie Wilkinson, SFX supervisor Chris Corbould, stunt coordinator Rob Inch, VFX supervisor Ben Morris, and U.K. casting director Nina Gold. New crew for the sequel include cinematographer Steve Yedlin, editor Bob Ducsay, production designer Rick Heinrichs, hair and make-up designer Peter Swords King, and U.S. casting director Mary Vernieu.
Fans of the franchise will get another film before Star Wars: Episode VIII is released. Star Wars: Rogue One, a stand-alone story about the team that steals the plans for the original Death Star, will be released this year on Dec. 16. Star Wars: Rogue One is the first of several planned spinoffs from the main story. Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told Entertainment Weekly that filming of Rogue One is virtually completed.
The highly anticipated young Han Solo story, which is currently set for a May 25, 2018, release is currently in pre-production. According to recent reports, the directors have been on the hunt for the actor to play the lead role. At last count, they had narrowed the candidates down to a dozen strong candidates. The names of those candidates have not been revealed.