It’s hard to believe it, but production on Star Wars: Episode VIII is almost over. Cameras first rolled on writer/director Rian Johnson’s follow-up last September, before The Force Awakens had even hit theaters—albeit for good reason. This fall shoot wasn’t the beginning of filming in earnest, but was instead a round of filming on Ireland’s Skellig Michael (where Rey meets Luke at the end of The Force Awakens) before the winter weather made it impossible to use the location. Principal photography began in earnest on February 10th of this year, and now the picture is expected to wrap a little over five months later.
Actor Mark Hamill broke the news on Twitter with the following note:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 2, 2016
Johnson first entered talks to helm Episode VIII way back in June 2014, so he’s been working on this film already for quite some time. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Carrie Fisher and Hamill all reprise their roles from The Force Awakens, with Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran marking the major new additions for Episode VIII.
Episode VIII was originally set for release in May 2017, which would bring the Star Wars franchise back to its old stomping grounds after The Force Awakens’ unique December release date. That would’ve left Johnson with 10 months to complete post-production on the CG-intensive picture, but after the smashing success that The Force Awakens enjoyed on its holiday release date, Lucasfilm opted to push Episode VIII back to December 15, 2017.
So while we’re still a year and a half away from actually seeing this thing, we can expect the first solid details to arrive later this month at Star Wars Celebration, where I imagine we’ll at least learn the movie’s title and maybe get a debut image or two. As for a teaser trailer, I’m guessing that won’t come until we’re closer to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December. While Episode VIII will no doubt go back for reshoots, as is the standard with major blockbusters nowadays, only a few weeks remain for principal photography.