As Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens nears the end of its record breaking box office run and Anthology spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story makes its way through post, Rian Johnson has started rolling the cameras on 2017’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. The cast and crew appear to be shooting in England for the time being, if social media posts are any indication. While they’re in the United Kingdom, preparations are being made for the other locations of the film.
Lucasfilm is getting ready for production to shift to Croatia, allegedly employing a team of counter-drones to combat any spies searching for an early glimpse at the movie. In the meantime, set construction is underway in the city of Dubrovnik, transforming the streets into a planet in a galaxy far, far away.
Photos of the work being done come courtesy of the Dubrovnik Times, who say that the Star Wars 8 team is giving a souvenir shop on the Stradun a facelift.
The pictures do not show anything too revealing, just the look of a building that will appear in Episode VIII. Currently, there’s no word on what particular world Dubrovnik will be portraying in the film, or how it factors into the plot. The city is known for fronting the Adriatic Sea, and features humid subtropical and Mediterranean climates. No previously established locales in Star Wars movies spring to mind when looking at photos of Dubrovnik, so it’s plausible that viewers will get to see a completely new planet in Johnson’s film. Many fans would welcome that development, since some felt that the worlds shown in The Force Awakens were somewhat derivative of what was shown in the original trilogy (Jakku = Tatooine, etc.).
Like The Force Awakens and Rogue One before it, parts of Star Wars 8 principal photography will also apparently take place in Iceland. Star Wars News Net caught wind of a casting call for extras from Casting Collective, asking for “Icelandic, Scandinavian, and Nordic men and women” for a major feature film shooting in the region beginning in April 2016. The posting specifically asks for those who can speak Icelandic languages. Those interested must have a U.K. National Insurance number, be over 16 years old, and live in London or the surrounding area. While the casting call does not come out and say it’s for Episode VIII, all signs point to that being the project in question, especially considering Lucasfilm’s history with the country.
In addition, the English portion of the shoot is in need of extras. The Bit Bag posted a separate casting call (hat tip Star Wars News Net), indicating that Disney is looking for fully paid extras, featured background performers, photo doubles, and stand-ins. There is also an opening for speaking roles in the film. Applicants must be eligible to work in an entertainment industry in London to be considered. Experienced film crew and production staff members can also send Lucasfilm their résumés, as there are still available slots for both London and Iceland.
While this is hardly the most tantalizing Episode VIII update for fans, it is nevertheless exciting to see the next installment of the Skywalker family saga come together so quickly after the last film. In the past, moviegoers had to wait three years between Star Wars movies, but with Disney’s annual release strategy now taking shape, the franchise constantly has something going on. The Force Awakens got the new era of Star Wars on film off to a rousing start, so if the upcoming projects can maintain the forward momentum, moviegoers won’t tire from “all Star Wars all the time” so quickly.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.