Today in VIII: Week 2 begins, evidence mounts in Dubrovnik

viii-rj-tweet022216Episode VIII director Rian Johnson marked the beginning of the second week of filming with the crossword puzzle in the International New York Times. SPOILERS! (For the crossword.)

Now, debate: is that a First Order control board or some sort of actual film equipment? A good catch by Justin LaSalata from The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary. (Note a lot of the Starkiller Base sets were reused for the Finalizer.)

→ There are sets in Dubrovnik, dates for filming, and rumors that Benicio del Toro – and maybe Carrie Fisher – will be there.

Moviepilot is generally not a site I trust (at all,) but they are claiming that Danish actress Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (Pitch Perfect 2, Game of Thrones) has been cast as a Knight of Ren. Be aware.

→ I joined Bryan and Amy at Full of Sith for their latest episode, where we discussed what we know of Episode VIII (well, what we knew as of Saturday, anyway.)

Today in VIII: Carrie Fisher reveals Space Bear

viii-gary-spacebearCarrie Fisher tweeted out a lovely picture of Gary today, and confirming along the way that Space Bear is the codename for Episode VIII. We first heard of the bear way back in September 2014. If anyone can translate that tweet, go right ahead, as I can’t read emoji. (I’ll never make it in the Resistance.)

UPDATE: Translation via Carrie herself! (via)

John Boyega says “you never know,” about a possible Finn/Poe Dameron relationship. Shippers are gonna ship regardless. (Speaking of, if you’re appreciative of the Regency fan art he posted yesterday, it’s by TheRealMcGee on Tumblr, and she also did Rey and Kylo Ren.

→ There’ll apparently be drones to take out drones when VIII films in Croatia, plus a lot of guards.

→ Speaking of location shoots, Making Star Wars has a few details on shooting at another site in Ireland that’s “a very good match for Skellig Michael.”

Episode VIII begins production; Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran join cast

viii-0prodtease-luke2

StarWars.com has the official announcement that Episode VIII has begun production at Pinewood this morning. It adds officially adds three new actors: Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. (Entertainment Weekly takes a look at Tran’s previous work.)

Returning from The Force Awakens are Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.

Video footage shows director Rian Johnson, Hamill and Ridley filming on Skellig Micheal in September, and a hint as to where VIII picks up…


…Or is it? Note that only one shot – Ridley holding out the saber – is actually a close duplicate to what we saw in The Force Awakens. While they may be keeping things less restrictive this time, let’s not put too much faith in what they’re willing to show us.

Meanwhile, as the day winds down…

viii-day1-rianjohnson

viii-day1-johnboyega

Han Solo standalone still on for May 2018 release: Episode VIII has begun filming

han-anhDisney’s earnings call yesterday, CEO Bob Iger said that the release date for 2018’s Han Solo standalone will remain in May – at least for the moment – despite Episode VIII’s pushback to December.

He revealed that filming has begun on VIII, and that The Force Awakens tie-ins have earned the company more than $3 billion globally. Hopefully this means we’ll get a dedicated announcement and updated cast list very soon…

Filming on the next Star Wars film, December’s Rogue One, is “virtually completed.” He also confirmed that Disney will break ground on the new Star Wars attractions at Disneyland and Disney World later this year. (A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of one of the attractions showed up in a commercial for the Disneyland 60 TV special.)

Rumor: Ewan McGregor in talks for Obi-Wan Force ghost cameo?

rumors-swirl-sw-obiLast time we heard a rumor from the folks at Schmoes Know it was regarding an end credit scene for The Force Awakens. Will Kristian Harloff’s current tweet-scoop be more lucky? An appearance from Ewan McGregor as Force ghost Obi-wan Kenobi isn’t so far-fetched as to be out of the question.

McGregor already had a brief line in The Force Awakens, so maybe this time things will pan out for the Schmoes. We’ll see.

Rian Johnson, cast hint that Episode VIII filming is nigh

We know Episode VIII filming is due to begin soon, and there’s plenty of evidence from Rian Johnson on Tumblr, an Instagram from Daisy Ridley, a Snapchat from John Boyega, and tweets from Anthony Daniels and Carrie Fisher.

Continue reading “Rian Johnson, cast hint that Episode VIII filming is nigh”

Rumor: Disney shopping Star Wars films to basic cable again

anh-vader-corridor

Variety reports that Disney began pitching the free TV rights – technically basic cable – on the Star Wars films last week, for all three trilogies. The asking price on is claimed to be “high” – even for the “vintage” titles. Movie rights are worth less and less to networks these days, but Star Wars seems to be an exception.

Spike TV held the Star Wars rights through 2014, paying $65-$70 million for six years and six films. The Indiana Jones films went for about $25M each in 2008.

Cable outlets who have met or are meeting with Disney include Turner, FX Networks, Viacom, NBCUniversal (which owns SyFy, which aired A New Hope when it first launched as the Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, who had the rights to the original trilogy in the 90s,) A+E Networks and AMC Networks.

Variety cites speculation that the pitches to outside networks may be Disney’s way of seeing “what the market will bear” – aka covering their ass – before settling the rights on one of their own networks. (I’ve been expecting the films will indeed show up on Freeform.)

The Force Awakens will debut on Starz next year as the last film under the channel’s deal with Disney. TFA likely won’t show up on basic cable until 2018, while Episode VIII and IX will go to Netflix first under Disney’s current deal with the streaming service.

Episode VIII pushed back to December 15, 2017

SS-tfa-trailer3-creys

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.