Today in Episode VIII: Cast arrives in Belfast

Today’s big VIII buzz is that director Rian Johnson and several cast members have arrived at at Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland, where they’re expected to film at Malin Head. (A familiar object is being built there.)

Mark Hamill went all out for the photographers, but his costars were less gregarious. Director Johnson and Daisy Ridley are no surprise, but the fourth person joining them may be, so click at your own risk.

→ Though Malin Head is the only known filming location in Northern Ireland, there are several in Ireland now – SWNN has a map.

→ John Boyega picked up a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, (alongside Bel Powley, who was rumored for a VIII role at one point) and even found time for a couple of interviews. With Variety he discussed Finn and Rey and described VIII as “a different take, darker, bigger” than The Force Awakens. At Vulture, he has nothing but praise for new costar Kelly Marie Tran.

→ Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac and his Poe Dameron haircut are doing publicity for X-Men: Apocalypse. To Collider he says “Poe has a lot of love to give,” while he tells Entertainment Tonight that VII characters will get “tested intensely.”

(Some) Bloodline questions answered; Pablo dishes on the book’s origins

bloodline-crop

Bloodline has been out for nearly a week now, and we’ve had interviews with author Claudia Gray from Entertainment Weekly and StarWars.com (by our own James!) Questions answered include how she incorporated that one Leia meme, what part of ANH got retconed, and how you pronounce ‘Casterfo.’

On Twitter today, Pablo Hidalgo treated us to a bit of background on the origins of the book… Including where Episode VIII director Rian Johnson contributed:


And finally, here’s a selection of Bloodline reviews: Big Shiny Robot, Cinelinx, Comicbook.com, Fangirl Blog, Far Far Away Radio, GeekDad, Tor.com, Tosche Station. (Plus mine.)

May the 4th roundup: Blasters, severed hands and more

@chrizmillr: Can't wait to get "shooting"! #MayThe4thBeWithYou
@chrizmillr: Can’t wait to get “shooting”! #MayThe4thBeWithYou
Chris Miller, one of the directors of the upcoming Han Solo standalone, celebrated May the 4th by sharing a shot of Han’s iconic blaster. It’s not casting news, but we’ll take it. Episode VIII director Rian Johnson – who is currently shooting – opted for dry humor.

→ Remember the old Episode VII rumor about Luke’s hand floating through space? Well, in yesterday’s Sun interview, Mark Hamill confirmed that it was indeed in the script at one point. On that note, Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff takes a look back at The Force Awakens and the challenges of making a remake/revival fun. Meanwhile, io9 is looking for VIII clues in yesterday’s Daisy Ridley video.

→ Chuck Wendig shares the first line of Aftermath: Life Debt. ComicBook.com has the first look at The Force Awakens comic adaptation. It’s scripted by Wendig, but the preview features only Luke Ross’s interior art.

John Jackson Miller talks about writing Star Wars with Omni.

→ Room’s Jacob Tremblay is fishing… He did get a response from one future Star Wars director, so that’s promising.

→ R2-D2 and C-3PO hung out in Entertainment Weekly’s elevator.

→ The Revenge of the Sith soundtrack is getting a limited release on vinyl.

→ StarWars.com has a look at upcoming The Force Awakens Funko Pop figures, including General Leia and Luke Skywalker.

→ And finally, my favorite new product: Star Wars Tiki cups.

Royals visit Episode VIII set; first look at a returning starfighter?

The U.K.’s Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the set of Episode VIII at Pinewood Studios on Tuesday, meeting director Rian Johnson, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, and many more. Click on the gallery pics for tweet links and captions.

There were fairly few revelations, naturally, but we do see Prince Harry in an A-wing, which could be either a red herring (from Rogue One, even?) or actually slated to return in VIII. We don’t get a complete look at the ship, at least not enough for a non-prophead like me to spot any differences. Journalist Rebecca English has a similar pic from a different angle.

And there’s also a video of the princes with BB-8, and another at the Mirror. I also collected more images and video from journalists.

Today in Episode VIII: Oscar Isaac speaks, possible costume descriptions

viii-0prodtease-rey2Oscar Isaac spoke briefly to the Los Angeles Times about Episode VIII, comparing the experience to “making an independent film,” and saying that “Rian [Johnson] is definitely going to places and investigating things that haven’t really been done in the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”

In spoiler corner, Making Star Wars has descriptions of Luke Skywalker and Rey’s costumes, while The Movie Bit has pictures of the setup-in-progress at Ceann Sibéal. UPDATE: Artist Natalia Trykowska has drawn the outfits based on MSW’s description.