Despite getting its release date pushed seven months back to December 2017, Star Wars: Episode VIII has kicked off filming only a month later than originally planned. While several key shots were filmed late last year - to link the film to its predecessor The Force Awakens - Rian Johnson's eagerly-awaited sequel has officially started principal photography today.
The news hails from Disney CEO Bob Iger, who made the announcement to investors during Disney's quarterly earnings call. “There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products," he said. "Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.” John Boyega, who returns to play stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn, also confirmed the start of filming on Twitter.
Time to bring out my Han Solo figure for everyone on set to sign. Sigh** can't help it.February 10, 2016
As for the Colin Trevorrow-directed Episode IX, Iger's comments aren't exactly definitive. Does this mean it's already entered pre-production? That seems a stretch, given that the movie isn't due to hit cinemas for another three years. Seeing as Trevorrow is wrapping up work on his next film The Book Of Henry, it's likely that he's just diving into the story and concept stage for Episode IX.
Iger then goes on to discuss Gareth Edwards' anthology tale Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. "Filming is virtually completed and we absolutely love what we’ve seen so far. This is the first of a set of planned stand-alone stories and we’re already in preproduction on our next one, for release in May of 2018.” That "next one" is the young Han Solo movie which has Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to direct.
Directed by Rian Johnson, and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Benicio Del Toro, Star Wars: Episode VIII opens on December 15, 2017. The Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16, 2016. Star Wars: Episode IX opens on May 24, 2019.