Disney/Lucasfilm isn't hosting a panel for the Star Wars franchise at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, but with fair reason. For one, the studios only just finished promoting everything that's currently happening in a galaxy far, far away with the 2016 Star Wars Celebration in Europe. Moreover, the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII has been scheduled to finish production part-way through this year's 'Con for a while now.
Episode VIII cast members such as Daisy Ridley (Rey), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and John Boyega (Finn) each made public announcements upon wrapping up their own parts in the production of the next central Star Wars movie installment, over the past month or so. Now, writer/director Rian Johnson has confirmed that principal photography on Episode VIII is officially done as of today, Friday July 22nd (which is just as planned).
Here is the statement from Johnson that was included with the following Episode VIII set video, confirming that it's a warp on production for the film:
“Final slate of the final shot. VIII is officially wrapped. Thanks to the best cast and crew in the galaxy, and thanks to the fans for all the love and support though the whole process. Cannot wait to put it together and share it with you all!"
Episode VIII will be a break from tradition for the Star Wars movie franchise, in the sense that there won't be a significant time skip between it and the events that transpired during director J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. So, when Johnson's Star Wars film picks up, Luke will have only begun to train Rey in the art of using The Force (assuming they have started training at all), while Finn will still be recovering from the injuries that he sustained at the hands of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) - who, likewise, will be on the mend after being left scarred by Rey during their lightsaber battle on Starkiller Base, both physically and emotionally.
Johnson has long indicated that Episode VIII will be a more character-driven affair than the non-stop run of Force Awakens (similar to the relationship between Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Episode IV - A New Hope). For that reason, it's only fitting that Episode VIII not skip over the development and changes that the new Star Wars trilogy's young heroes and villains alike go through, following the initial clash between the Resistance and First Order in Abrams' movie.
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.
Source: Rian Johnson
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