As the Star Wars fan community tries to make sense of the flurry of rumors regarding the summertime reshoots for this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it's easy to forget that there's another film set in a galaxy far, far away making its way through production. Director Rian Johnson has been working hard on 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII, with principal photography commencing back in February.
It was reported in April that the movie was halfway done shooting, indicating that Johnson would be finished with a major step at some point in the summer. As it turns out, that was spot on, since the filmmaker is now teasing the completion of Star Wars 8 through social media.
Johnson took to his Tumblr page to post a behind the scenes image from the set, featuring pieces of equipment and what is most likely Luke Skywalker's cloak that was seen at the end of The Force Awakens. Based on the scenery, this picture might have been taken from the extensive recreation of Skellig Michael island in Ireland residing at London's Pinewood Studios. Check out Johnson's post below:
This development is definitely exciting for moviegoers, but the expectation is that Lucasfilm will place Episode VIII on the back burner for now. Rogue One is obviously a greater priority due to its release date, while there's still a year and a half before audiences see Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren again. At the same time, it wouldn't be surprising if Star Wars 8 had a small presence at Star Wars Celebration 2016 in London next month. Not only did the event's official poster showcase main characters from the sequel trilogy, star Mark Hamill is one of the confirmed guests. Presumably, he will bring some trinket about the movie with him - perhaps the official subtitle or a production still.
With so much time to go until Episode VIII's premiere, the challenge for Lucasfilm will be keeping their vaunted shroud of secrecy intact so no major spoilers come out. The studio always takes great precautions, and so far, very little pertaining to Star Wars 8 has come out. Outside of speculation concerning Laura Dern's mystery character and a breakdown of a possible action sequence involving the Knights of Ren, any reveals have been few and far between. There's still a lot that's unknown, such as the roles of Benicio del Toro and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, and what the narrative entails (other than Rey training with Luke). Ideally, it will stay that way as Lucasfilm controls the rollout of information - like they did for Force Awakens.
In the meantime, moviegoers will continue to do what they do best: theorize about Star Wars on the Internet. Episode VII set up an exciting future, and there's no shortage of directions for the story to go from here. Johnson has an impressive résumé that speaks for itself and is known for delivering hard-hitting drama. With Oscar Isaac teasing that the principal players will be "tested immensely" this time around, it certainly sounds like Star Wars 8 won't pull any punches and be another terrific chapter in the beloved saga.
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