Episode IX begins filming August 1, confirms Williams and Fisher

J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX will begin filming on August 1 at London’s Pinewood Studios, StarWars.com has announced, confirming that Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher (via unused The Force Awakens footage) will be returning.

Interestingly, the release calls IX “the final installment of the Skywalker saga.”

As expected, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are also returning. They’re being joined by new (to Star Wars) faces, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.

A late addition to the release was Keri Russell, the only new-to-Star-Wars actor rumored for this round.

More details on the Fisher footage:

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

Composer John Williams and Director of Photography Dan Mindel are also returning.

The spoilery concept art for The Last Jedi has landed

io9 has the concept art for some of The Last Jedi’s biggest surprises – the stuff that was held back from the art book due to spoilers. There are only a handful of pieces, but they’re some good ones.

StarWars.com has an interview with Joonas Suotamo on taking over Chewbacca full time for The Last Jedi and Solo. He also appeared on the latest Star Wars Show. They also talk to droid builder Lee Towersey.

Kelly Marie Tran stops by Oh My Disney (with BB-8!) and Fangirling to talk shooting The Last Jedi, ships, and working with John Boyega and Benicio del Toro.

Continue reading “The spoilery concept art for The Last Jedi has landed”

Principal photography begins on Han Solo standalone, release date is still May

StarWars.com has annouced that principal photography has begin on the Han Solo standalone, along with confirming rumored cast members Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It’s also the first time they’ve mentioned the release date in quite a while – and surprisingly, it’s still May 25, 2018.

If it does indeed remain May, this would be our first non-December release since Disney bought the franchise, and could signal a permanent move back to spring for Episode IX and beyond. The May release date will put Han just on the heels of Episode VII, The Last Jedi, which is out December 15, 2017.

The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca along with Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directing, from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan.

Roundup: J.J. Abrams addresses The Force Awakens’ throwback feel, Roger Guyett on VFX

tfa-rs-kylo-vader-smJ.J. Abrams discusses The Force Awakens with The Hollywood Reporter, including the criticisms that the film is too similar to A New Hope, and why it was important “to go backwards to go forwards.”

Today, Abrams was at TCA for Hulu’s 11.22.63, where he told Entertainment Weekly not to expect an extended edition of The Force Awakens and addressed the lack of Rey toys.

→ At Studio Daily, ILM VFX Supervisor Roger Guyett talks about the film’s visual effects, including the Falcon on Jakku.

The Force Awakens has opened strong in China with a record $33M Saturday opening. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there’s some real box office competition this weekend thanks to The Revenant. Who wins? Either way, Domhnall Gleeson.

→ Speaking of actors, The Force Awakens has let Harrison Ford reclaim the title of highest grossing actor of all time from fellow Star Wars alumni Samuel L. Jackson.

→ Business Insider profiles Joonas Suotamo, who doubled for Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.

→ Award watch: John Boyega is a nominee for the BAFTA’s Rising Star award. TFA itself is up for BAFTAs in production design, sound, music and visual effects. The film is also up for a Costume Designers Guild Award.