Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams on Episode IX filming in Jordan

Although there have been numerous reports – and even social media posts from the likes of John Boyega (mostly via Instagram stories) and Oscar Isaac’s wife Elvira Lind – we finally have some comments from higher up the food chain. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams both talked to Roya News about Jordan’s Wadi Rum:

“Wadi Rum is breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect location for our film,” says Abrams. “I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to shoot in Jordan. Between the warm welcome from the government and the dedication and hard work of the local film professionals, we couldn’t have had a better experience. We are enormously grateful.”

Producer Kathleen Kennedy said “I also want to thank the Royal Film Commission Jordan, and the Army, whose tremendous support has been invaluable, and helped make this shoot possible.”

Other than Boyega and Isaac (and maybe Anthony Daniels,) the cast has been mainly mum on who exactly is out in Jordan. There are fuzzy photos that may indicate at least one other cast member joined them, but they’re hardly conclusive.

There’s plenty of speculation on what Jordan means for the story – understandably, a return to Jakku is a common theory – but it’s interesting that Daniels’ tweet implies it may be standing in for more than one. Curious.

Episode IX filming spotted; Fun with Finn and Poe?

We’ve seen the Falcon now, but how about Finn, Poe and Chewbacca? The Sun has some spy pics of John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Joonas Suotamo filming with some other actors/extras “just a few miles outside of London.” Unlike yesterday’s spotting, this one could be considered actually spoilery, so don’t click through if that sort of thing matters to you.

Of course, this being the Sun, there’s also some blathering about Ewan McGregor, who is probably not in this one. (Well, maybe. It’s a big maybe.)

Some observations below the cut.

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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.

Continue reading “Our first look at an Episode IX set? (Sadly, no.)”

J.J. Abrams: Starting Episode IX is “bittersweet”

J.J. Abrams posted his first tweet to his personal account to mark the first day of shooting on Episode IX. “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go.” he tweeted. “Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part. #IX”

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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.

John Boyega “growing out” his hair for IX

In still-rare (if minor) legitimate Episode IX news, John Boyega revealed that he’s growing out his hair for the film, hinting at the time jump most of us are expecting from the film. “The first step is growing out my hair so you can wait for the trailer to see why,” he told Yahoo. Sounds like Finn is getting a new look! (You can check out Boyega’s current hairstyle on his Instagram.)

The Last Jedi is the only episodic Star Wars film that did not begin with a significant time jump from its predecessor.

Director J.J. Abrams has said Episode IX will start filming at the end of July.

Hey kids! You want a Last Jedi blooper reel?

Here’s one! It has the infamous 27 slaps, a surprise from (we assume) BB-8 and hugs.

And another! Even more Oscar Isaac shenanigans, an overenthusiastic wind machine and John Boyega’s big bio-hexacrypt problem.

Man, I love these things.