Look, I know it was unlikely that they'd just stop after The Force Awakens, but it still feels wonderful to say that Star Wars Episode VIII is absolutely, definitely happening. The latest news to hit from Looper director, Rian Johnson's in-production sequel is a selection of new cast members.
We already knew that Benicio del Toro will play a villain (opens in new tab), but an official announcement (opens in new tab) means we now know that he'll be joined by Jurassic Park's Laura Dern and "talented newcomer", Kelly Marie Tran. Tran is following in Rey actress, Daisy Ridley's footsteps by making the step up from relative obscurity, after appearing in a range of shorts, small appearances in TV shows and this conveniently on-brand anti-smoking PSA (opens in new tab):
The announcement comes alongside the news that the film has moved into principal photography at the UK's Pinewood Studios today, after cameras started rolling elsewhere last week (opens in new tab). We even got a tiny, tiny taste of new footage to celebrate:
Much of The Force Awakens cast were confirmed for their expected reappearances, too, including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. It seems slightly odd that Chewbacca actor, Peter Mayhew doesn't get a mention, but I imagine that's an oversight rather than a sneaky announcement that the Wookie's been jettisoned. At least, I hope so...
Star Wars: Episode VIII is planned for release on December 15, 2017 in the US and UK.