The Official Site announced today that Star Wars Episode VIII has officially begun production.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Emphasis added. We had heard that Benicio Del Toro was in the running for a role in the film, but I believe this is the first we’ve hard of Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran’s attachment.
To assist with the hype, a teaser video was also released with the announcement.
You know it’s been a while since we all got blindsided by major Star Wars news. The story is still developing, but per Variety, Episode VIII directed by Rian Johnson has been pushed back to December 2017.
Gut reaction, I’d say this is good for us all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be torture to wait an additional seven months for the film, but I think more space between it and Rogue One is good to prevent release fatigue. Not to mention, extra production time can’t hurt Episode VIII.
Update: Now officially confirmed by the Official Site.
Pretty much the whole world has known for a while that Episode VIII’s director would be Rian Johnson, but Bob Iger and Disney made it official today.
Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977.
Of note is Star Wars returning to a traditional May release window. Looks like we’ll only be doing one holiday Star Wars episodic release. Believe it or not, though, this wasn’t the biggest announcement in this press release. We finally have the name of the first standalone film: Rogue One.
Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything.
Be still my heart! I mean, we don’t really know what the film is about, but it’s hard to see that title and not think Rogue Squadron and military science fiction. And, hey, there’s a lot of great written material to draw inspiration from.
Normally we don’t do rumors, but this one appears to have some legs. Deadline is reporting that Rian Johnson will be writing and directing Episodes VIII and IX.
Johnson will take over the core film franchise, and he’ll get started quickly and this will be his preoccupation for quite awhile. Johnson made his directing debut on the respected indie Brick, and then jumped to mainstream science fiction by writing and directing Looper, an inventive time travel thriller that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. It would be hard to imagine him taking on a higher profile challenge than two consecutive Star Wars films. I’ll tell you more when I know it. Johnson is repped by CAA.
As mentioned in that snippet, Johnson headed Looper, a time traveling film met with mixed but mostly positive reviews. His indie film resume (as well as some of his work on Breaking Bad) have won him acclaim.
This isn’t confirmed yet, but multiple major outlets are jumping all over this one.