Episode VIII pushed back to December 15, 2017

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Episode VIII has a new release date – December 15, 2017. I am not at all charmed by this news, but I suppose it was inevitable once The Force Awakens started breaking almost every box office record there is. VIII was originally announced as the franchise’s return to May.

The film is being written and directed by Rian Johnson, with most of The Force Awakens cast expected to return. The release from StarWars.com also notes that principal photography will begin in London next month – half a confirmation of a report from earlier this week. The part about script tweaks will no doubt remain unconfirmed.

I expect that we won’t see another Star Wars film release in May until/unless the franchise starts to falter. The next Star Wars movie, the standalone Rogue One, is set for the coming December. The untitled Han Solo standalone was announced for May 25, 2018, but that was also before The Force Awakens and I expect we’ll see that pushed back as well.

Rumor: Episode VIII filming pushed back to February?

rumors-swirl-sw-probeThere are a few things floating around in regards to Episode VIII, gleaned from The Wrap‘s Jeff Sneider during a Meet the Movie Press chat. (Via Screenrant.)

Sneider said that principal photography in VIII has been pushed back a month in order to accommodate script changes. The new female roles have apparently been minimized to focus more on Rey and the other characters we met in The Force Awakens, and Gina Rodriguez is out. Bel Powely is still a question mark, but one of the roles has gone to an unknown Asian actress.

It’s rather telling that Sneider hasn’t this for The Wrap – almost nothing we’ve heard about VIII has been solid enough for the trades to touch formally, so feel free to be cynical on this. In any case, Episode VIII is still set for a May 26, 2017 release.

Today in The Force Awakens: A familiar inspiration for Snoke

tfa-snoke-crop-vert2Supreme Leader Snoke’s appearance in The Force Awakens was inspired by the Lincoln Memorial and he is indeed a hologram, Roger Guyett and Pat Tubach confirm to Cinemablend. (Wait, people actually thought he… Wasn’t a hologram? Oh, internet.) And here are a few more new interviews with Guyett, Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould. The two half-hour interviews are a must-listen.

→ Industrial Light & Magic received the Genius Award at last night’s Critics Choice Awards, and BB-8 made an appearance during John Knoll’s acceptance speech.

The Force Awakens has passed $1B internationally, even as it fell to #3 domestically for the weekend.

→ The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the Altus Sports Institute, which Bad Robot turned to to help get – and keep – the cast of into shape.

Undercover Boss at Starkiller Base and other highlights of Adam Driver on Saturday Night Live

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Last night’s Saturday Night Live was delayed by football, but it went off pretty well. Adam Driver was part of almost every sketch on his first time hosting (save for the cold open and Weekend Update,) but the highlight was no doubt Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base:

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Rey’s bread was real, and other things we learned about The Force Awakens VFX today

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Given the visual effects nod from the Oscars and yesterday’s leak of the VFX reel, it’s not so surprising that The Force Awakens effects talk is all over today.

At MTV, we learn that the film’s really most talked-about effect – Rey’s green instant bread – is practical. It does, however, taste terrible. They also look into BB-8’s thumbs-up. (It might be time to release an official GIF of that one.) Neal Scalan talked about how Rogue One’s approach to aliens will be different. Also: Easter eggs!

/Film has an interview with Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett, including the tidbit that The Force Awakens had more CG than The Phantom Menace, and more about how and why Kylo Ren’s helmet was added digitally.

Over at Collider, Scanlan, Guyett, Chris Corbould and Patrick Tubach talk about some of The Force Awakens’ cut scenes, including one with Maz.