Our first look at an Episode IX set? (Sadly, no.)

Did Episode IX’s Director of Photography, Dan Mindel, just give us our first look at one of the film’s brand new sets? “Space lights ….. unbeatable quality source of ambient lighting,” Mindel writes. “6000 watts 6 lamps or 3000 watts 3 lamps!” The image was taken in London. If it is, chances are its J.J. approved Or, it’s probably from 2012’s John Carter. Oh well, we tried.

Mindel notably posted our first behind-the-scenes look at The Force Awakens forest fight – after the film came out – but deleted it soon afterward.

Meanwhile, head below the cut for some other cast and crew tweets from the past week. Richard E. Grant on getting the job, BB-8 operator Brian Herring on getting started, who John Boyega has hugged, and Mark Hamill is in… Prague? Okay, that might not be related to IX. But hey, Millie is cute.

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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.

Carrie, crystal foxes and more in latest The Last Jedi behind the scenes featurettes

A few new behind the scenes clips have emerged since we last checked in. The first, on Kylo’s choice to not kill Leia, features a new priceless quote from Carrie Fisher. The second is on the crystal foxes (err, vulptices), finally giving us a long-awaited look at the actual dog-wearing-straw-costume used to help develop them. And from yesterday, how a Ralph McQuarrie painting from Empire inspired the final showdown and a bit on the red of Crait.

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Rian Johnson on The Last Jedi’s throne room fight, prequel parallels, deleted scenes

IMAX and Collider held a live Q&A with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson last night. They livestreamed it, and while I’ve been hoping for better video, you can still watch it at Facebook. Johnson answered questions about the throne room scene and prequel parallels, among other things.

Collider themselves have finally weighed in with Johnson on the deleted scenes, lack of a funeral for Han Solo, Rey’s parents, and figuring out Poe’s journey. And finally, here’s the full Q&A in a proper video:

The Last Jedi: More pictures, how the Rey/Kylo scenes were filmed, Story Group and more

Disney has posted a few new The Last Jedi things on their award site, including several new stills, an extended score, production notes and the BAFTA Q&A with Rian Johnson and the cast.

Rian Johnson talks to People about how they filmed the “Force connection” scenes between Rey and Kylo Ren. Remember those paparazzi shots of Adam Driver flying into Ireland with Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill, and all those rumors of a big fight scene with the Knights of Ren? Jokes on us. Johnson has another wide-ranging interview over at the Daily Beast. He also explains Snoke’s big scene and the Kylo shirtless scene.

The NYT takes a look at the women behind Lucasfilm’s story group, mainly Kiri Hart. It’s not just Pablo!

You’ll never guess what from the Legends EU made it into the movie. Sort of. Hey, at least it’s not something Courtship of Princess Leia this time.

On that note, there’s a ton of meta happening on Tumblr. I’m reblogging a lot of it and hope to do a roundup of the highlights here, but for the moment, an analysis of “the sacred Jedi texts.” (There’s plenty more coming – the fandom is prolific and I have a ton of backlog in the drafts folder.)

Tech corner: Neal Scanlan on how they built the film’s creatures, and again | Visual effects supervisor Ben Morris on creating Crait and the Earth equivilants | How Yoda was rebuilt | The movie’s sound design | The creation and science of that silent hyperspace scene.

The Last Jedi: Press conference, interviews and more

The Last Jedi press conference (and junket) was held on Sunday, and while it was low on news, an official video has now been released so you can comb through it for details on your specific foci. It had fun moments, but you can feel the exhaustion pouring off all these poor people. Moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, it features Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Andy Serkis.

There are a lot of interviews coming out from the junket and other apperances, and honestly at this point all I can do is point you towards the Tumblr. Some highlights include The Star Wars Show, the First Order folks interviewing each other , everyone’s favorite Snoke theories and basically everything with Laura Dern and Oscar Isaac. (Just… Laura Dern.) Oh, and Daisy Ridley’s clarification on that quote about leaving the franchise.

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