Star Wars: The Force Awakens hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but Rian Johnson is already gearing up and getting to work on the next Star Wars film. Lucasfilm confirmed to EW today that Star Wars: Episode VIII will begin filming on the island Skellig Michael off the southern coast of Ireland later this month.
Earlier, rumors surfaced that Lucasfilm was returning to the island to film reshoots for The Force Awakens when Irish news outlet RTE reported that the studio was returning to the location. It’s a natural conclusion given that Episode VII filmed there, but the studio clarified that the confusion arose because they were trying to stay “low-key” by using the title Star Wars rather than a specific Episode title. I’m not sure how, in any way, one can be low-key when using the Star Wars title, but there you have it. The Force Awakens reportedly did have some quiet re-shoots over the summer, including last month when the cast was gathered in California for the D23 Expo.
Between the Episodic titles and the spin-off stories, formerly known as anthology films, Lucasfilm is gearing up to deliver a Star Wars film once a year. Even with that in mind, this puts the start of production for Episode VIII well ahead of the anticipated production schedule (which was assumed to kick off early next year). Why the early start? Most likely, something non-dramatic like weather or talent availability.
What this does indicate is that Episode VIII will see a return to a (key?) location introduced in The Force Awakens. Not unexpected, but exactly the kind of enticing knowledge nugget that gets the fandom speculation gears running at full speed.
So, why do you think Star Wars Episode VIII is returning to film in Ireland? And why this soon? Do you think it’s even worth speculating at this point since we know jack and shit until The Force Awakens comes out? Sound off in the comments below.