February 16, 2016

The production announcement video begins with a wide shot of the island where Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended. Who could forget that dramatic scene with Rey and Luke Skywalker, who was pretty much absent throughout the entire film? What seems like an outtake or an alternative shot of the scene quickly turns out to be Rian Johnson exclaiming, “Cut! Beautiful. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Episode 8!”

Rian Johnson, the man behind Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper and three episodes of Breaking Bad, takes the lead for the upcoming untitled Star Wars film. He’ll be directing the film from a screenplay also written by himself, which follows the now force-sensitive Rey deeper into her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker. Principal photography has officially begun at Pinewood Studios in London on 15 February this year.

While the video doesn’t show any footage of what’s to come, we do see a little bit more of Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. But what we do know is that besides the returning cast members from Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis – Star Wars: Episode VIII will also be welcoming new cast members, Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Also, it has been rumoured that Benicio will be assuming the role of a new antagonist for the film, though it’s still unclear whether or not he’ll be a Sith (fans are desperately hoping he will be). And if the cast and crew and keep mum about the film like they did for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then I guess we’ll be left hanging for a long while.

We were left with so many questions at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now we’ve all burdened ourselves with even more. The speculation has already begun, and so has the wait, as Star Wars: Episode VIII will only be released on 14 December 2017. At least we have the spinoff film Rogue One to look forward to this year.