It might be a stretch to call the 2014 production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens a “troubled production,” but there were still occasional reports of not-so-great news from the set. Harrison Ford fractured his leg when a door from the Millennium Falcon fell on him. Production was delayed for two weeks as a result, with shooting plans moved around to account for Ford’s injury. Of course, despite the setback, that film went on to become a tremendous success, reinvigorating the Star Wars brand and setting the stage for what's to come.
The next film in the trilogy, currently known as Star Wars: Episode VIII, has been in production since February, and thankfully the production has gone smoothly, with nothing as catastrophic as an injury to a key cast member to report. Sure, a small delay for the film's release was announced back in January, but that happened with The Force Awakens, too. Now, thanks to the film's director, eager fans can rest assured, knowing the film is halfway through production without a major incident to report.
Rian Johnson (Looper) posted to both his Twitter and Tumblr pages Thursday that filming on the new movie has reached the halfway point. The announcement came along with a couple of photos of Johnson in front of some familiar-looking sets:
"Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the microfiber sham." https://t.co/gN1yoWw1SU
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) April 28, 2016
Episode VIII began shooting at Pinewood Studios in the U.K. back in February, and this update from Johnson indicates that principal photography will likely continue until sometime in June or early July. That will give Johnson and the rest of the Lucasfilm team over a year to edit the film and to construct what will almost certainly be the elaborate and extensive FX shots required to create a galaxy far, far away, ahead of its release date on December 15, 2017.
So what can we expect from Episode VIII? The return of most of the cast from The Force Awakens for one, as well as the first words spoken by Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to each other, which may at last provide some answers with regard to the questions of Rey's parentage. We also know that Ridley has come into the film with much more lightsaber training, suggesting there will be even more extensive battles between would-be Jedi in the film. And finally, it's a good bet that new characters like the ones played by Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern will finally make their introductions.
Is it a good sign that the shoot has been without major troubles on set? One would think so, although film history is full of examples of harmonious shoots that led to bad movies and disastrous ones that led to classics. But all indications so far hint that with Rian Johnson directing, Star Wars: Episode VIII is in good hands.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in 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, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.