This is a pleasant surprise. New reports suggest that work has already begun on Taika Waititi's new Star Wars movie. Not only that, but three days of filming are set to go ahead in Scotland's Highlands, with a small crew picking up shots of the cinematic location's snow-capped mountains.
The Daily Record reports that three days of filming will take place this December on Waititi's movie – not, as we may have suspected, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, but the actually fully-fledged next instalment in the Star Wars series.
“It’s great that Star Wars have decided to use Scotland’s breathtaking scenery for some of their first production shots," a source told the publication. "The film is still a few years away thanks to the Covid crisis but it will be very exciting for fans to hear that the ball has started rolling on this highly anticipated movie.
“Filming will take place in the Highlands and will focus on the hills and surrounding areas. It will likely be a small crew and an assistant director heading to Scotland to film over three days. Star Wars is the latest in a long list of films to showcase Scotland and everything this beautiful country has to offer.”
A spokesperson for the Highland council also commented, saying that film crews are very welcome to shoot in the area. Screen Scotland added that they "provide a confidential locations service to film and TV productions" and therefore couldn't confirm whether it was Star Wars coming to the area.
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There are a few things to note: this will almost certainly not be a proper movie shoot. No actors, and potentially not even Waititi, will be in attendance. Three days of filming implies they are location scouting, with the splitter crew feeding back the footage to the filmmaker with potential to shoot there properly in the future.
The location heavily hints at a return to another ice planet. The most obvious answer would be Hoth, seen in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, though there are plenty of other similar planets to explore, namely Ilum.
While that name may not be familiar, Star Wars fans will certainly recognise the location. Ilum was a planet mined by the Jedi, as it was rich in naturally-forming kyber crystals, and the Jedi eventually decided to leave Ilum off of public records. They also built a temple on the planet, which Ahsoka Tano visits during the events of the Clone Wars series. In Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, the protagonist Cal Kestis goes to Ilum to find kyber crystal for his lightsaber.
But that's not why the planet will be familiar to broader Star Wars fans. Ilum plays a major part in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the First Order eventually turn the Jedi-stronghold into the Starkiller base! So, Ilum is actually the planet on which Han Solo eventually perishes.
Could the new Star Wars movie tell the tale of how the Jedi found Ilum? It's much, much too early to say. This is all a serious amount of speculation – it's unclear whether Waititi and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, whose previous work includes the World War I epic 1917, have finished the script. Whatever the case, a new Star Wars movie is on the way, and for that we are thankful.
Waititi's movie is expected to release in December 2023. Check out everything we know about all the previously teased new Star Wars movies through that link.