Late last week, it was heavily rumored that Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One has already begun production at London's Pinewood Studios, with star Felicity Jones having shot one major scene. And we're expected to hear some big announcements at this year's Comic Con, where Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have a big presence this Friday. But today, we have an unconfirmed rumor that Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is in pre-production with director Rian Johnson, is already starting to cast new actors. And apparently the production wants Hong Kong action legend Donnie Yen, known best in the states for his Ip Man franchise, for an important yet undisclosed role.
The news comes from Apple Daily, a Hong Kong tabloid not exactly known for its blockbuster movie scoops. They claim that Donnie Yen has already signed on, insuring that Star Wars: Episode VIII has international box office appeal. SPOILER ALERT! They also claim that he is playing a Jedi. And that he will shoot scenes with Harrison Ford's Han Solo as early as next month. This has raised some eyebrows, not only in terms of previous rumors. It is believed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens sets up the Jedi as all but extinct. And it has also been widely reported that Han Solo loses his head at the hands of Kylo Ren leading into Star Wars: The Force Awakens' big third act conflict.
It also doesn't make sense that he will be shooting scenes as early as next month, since Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One will still be in production. Did Apple Daily get the news wrong? Is Donnie Yen actually appearing in the first spinoff? Will Harrison Ford's Han Solo show up in the spinoff? Though the movie takes place between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, the movie could utilize the same age-defying CGI techniques that allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to fight a much younger version of himself in Terminator Genisys.
Adding some validity to the report is TwitchFilm, who claim that Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards is seeking a number of Chinese actors for a role in that movie. Also mentioned for a role in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One are Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung, Chiu Wai, Daniel Wu, Leehom Wang and Chen Chang. If Donnie Yen is wanted for this specific role, it has already been revealed that not one Jedi shows up in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One, so you can see how this rumor has all kinds of red flags. If any of these Chinese actors show up in the movie, which revolves around a group of Rebel soliders stealing plans to the Death Star, don't expect to see them brandishing a lightsaber. As of now, nothing has been confirmed by Disney or LucasFilm. Will we see Donnie Yen in a Star Wars movie? That doesn't sound impossible. It also doesn't sound like a done deal, either.