Production began this morning at Pinewood Studios in London on Star Wars: Episode VIII, the sequel to 2015’s record-breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney and Lucasfilm released an announcement teaser video, featuring director Rian Johnson, which you can watch here below. They also revealed the first new cast members for the sequel.
More on the story below.
In case you have been away for the past few months, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been breaking and setting all sorts of records (with the exception of Deadpool, which has raised the bar on R-rated weekend opening films). The film has grossed over $900 million domestically and $2 billion worldwide. During its marketing, the studio make sure not to reveal any story details about the J.J. Abrams-directed film, so it’s likely they’ll follow the same course of action during Episode VIII. (So, be prepared, once again, for tons of rumors and speculation.)
The brand new announcement trailer that reminds us of how The Force Awakens ended, so if you’re not all caught up (really?), be warned.
Disney and Lucasfilm made the announcement early this morning, February 15, 2016, releasing the announcement teaser, but also putting out a press release including a very brief synopsis, and also naming additions to the cast. So before we get into the cast, here’s an early look at what the film will be about:
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.
Okay, that was more or less what many of us thought the film was going to be about. But the next bit of the announcement does come with a bit of surprising news, which includes the lack of Peter Mayhew:
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.
By now, we know that Rey (Ridley), Chewbacca (Mayhew), and R2-D2 have all landed safely on an island of an uncharted planet where Luke Skywalker has isolated himself. So we know that Chewbacca has survived the events of The Force Awakens, but with Mayhew’s name noticeably absent from the synopsis we have to believe that the character is not going to have a huge role in the film.
The announcement does reveal the new faces that will join the cast which does include the name of a newcomer. For one thing, it’s finally confirmed Benicio Del Toro is indeed joining the cast of Episode VIII. about. Also joining are Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Of course, their respective character’s names and roles are being kept a secret, and we probably won’t know their involvement until the film is released.
Finally, the creative minds that are working together to bring us the film:
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).