When Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens finally arrived in theaters last December after years of speculation and anticipation, not only was it very well received, but its arrival and departure seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. The film had set up the next trilogy and fans everywhere were so antsy for more of the saga that they did the only things they could – return to theaters for repeat viewings and read everything that existed online about Episode VIII.
Seven months on from the initial arrival of The Force Awakens and word on Episode VIII is still – in typical Star Wars fashion – very hush-hush. We’re aware that director Rian Johnson, cast and crew are set to finish filming later this month, which is more than enough to send chills of excitement down the spines of any fan of the franchise. With the month nearly half over at this point, the first real sign of Episode VIII getting closer to completion has finally arrived.
Given that theirs were the last two faces audiences saw on screen in The Force Awakens, news that Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill have finished filming on Episode VIII somehow makes the approaching completion of the entire production that much more real. The news came courtesy of both stars’ Instagram accounts, which you can observe below. Alongside an image of her with a lightsabre, Ridley’s post is as follows:
By comparison, Hamil went with a photo of the wrap party at London’s Natural History Museum:
Saying goodbye is hard when you've had the time of your life. I can't thank the cast and crew enough, I couldn't have done it without you. Loads of love, mh #StarWars #EpVIII #WrapParty: @chelseahamill
Filming of Episode VIII has taken place in Ireland, Croatia as well as the legendary Pinewood Studios in England. Recent rumors have persisted that John Boyega finished filming near the start of the month as a result of a photo that he posted to Instagram, while Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) confirmed via Twitter back on July 7th that he had in fact, finished shooting his scenes for the upcoming film. The official date for Episode VIII to complete its shoot is July 22nd, so it is perhaps safe to say at this point that the bulk of the film’s major scenes are now tucked safely away, ready for the no doubt arduous task of editing to begin in full.
It makes sense that Anthony Daniels would have finished shooting his scenes so early on in the month (as his scenes are undoubtedly smaller in scale than other cast members), but John Boyega’s claim of being done at the same time was a bit surprising. Given that Hamill and Ridley have only just completed their scenes now, there’s a chance that this means Episode VIII will have more of a focus on the relationship between Luke and Rey – as hinted in the final scene of The Force Awakens - and that Boyega could be relegated to a smaller role as Finn, this time around.
Then again, shooting schedules are undoubtedly a labyrinth of enormous planning and timing, so anything really could be possible. A teaser for Episode VIII (maybe the official title?) should now be arriving sooner than later - and by the time it does, there will absolutely be much more to consider and anticipate.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.