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.”

GLAAD: Star Wars movies need gay, lesbian characters

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As part of their annual report on LGBT characters in movies, the anti-defamation group GLAAD is pushing Star Wars to introduce gay and lesbian characters into the films. Per Variety:

“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth ‘Star Wars’ film,” the report reads. “2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written into the stories.”

The introduction of gay and lesbian characters into the canon Star Wars novels has been controversial, but really, what isn’t?

Also at Variety, Brent Lang looks at why major blockbusters like Star Wars and Marvel have been reluctant to add LGBT characters.