Starting today, Star Wars: Episode VIII moves out of Pinewood Studios in London for an on-location shoot in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where they have been prepping a local street corner and souvenir shop. We now have word from Making Star Wars that this may actually be Maz Kanata's new Castle and/or Cantina. As of now, it isn't known which actors will be on set for the shoot. It was previously rumored that the scenes being shot in Dubrovnik would include Benicio Del Toro as an as yet unidentified character along with Carrie Fisher as General Leia. Earlier reports claimed that Daisy Ridley's Rey and Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker would also be present. But it was stated this past week that Daisy Ridley will not be participating in these shoots.
Digital Nomads have a video from the set, shot before filming begins on March 9. The main street has been transformed into a futuristic looking planet with hints of a 16th century facade. While exteriors are being filmed leading into the weekend, the participating cast members won't be showing up for two more days, arriving this Friday, March 11.
Making Star Wars has a second report about an exciting land speeder chase and a possible water landing for the Millennium Falcon. A tourist vessel dubbed the Sea Star is said to be draped with blue screens for further CGI manipulation. Moored at a pier in the Gruž harbor, the ship's upper deck is suspected to be used as an aquatic landing platform, which is suggested by the props that surround it. And in Dubrovnik, technicians were seen building a silver land speeder. Pylons near the speeder are said to be cracked and damaged, hinting at a chase and crash sequence that will take place on the streets.
The Dominican Monastery is the building you see in the videos below, decked out in neon lights. This street location has been referred to as the Exotic City. This term was the same term used for Maz Kanata's Castle and Cantina in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it was shooting. And that has led many to believe that this location will be Maz's new establishment. But that hasn't been confirmed. These locations will all later be augmented by ILM in post-production.
It is also being reported that Star Wars: Episode VIII may head back to Ireland next, but not for more shoots on Skellig Michael Island. The production is currently scouting locations in County Donegal. The speculation is that this will be used for the planet Ahch-To, which is mostly covered in water, with numerous rocky islands blanketed with green trees. It is the current home of Luke's Jedi Temple, which we see at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And this definitely could lend credence to the idea that we'll see more spaceships surrounded by and landing on water. You can take a look at the Dubrovnik set in the photos below. Is this Maz Kanata's new place of residence?
The Dubrovnik set is looking awesome and nearly ready for some action. pic.twitter.com/u2oXr2LtZi— ∈mρeror ᑭαlραtine™ (@LordPaIpatine) March 9, 2016
More pictures of the Star Wars: Episode VIII landspeeder in Dubrovnik, Croatia pic.twitter.com/3QJVZAfcYV— Star Wars Direct (@StarWarsDirect) March 8, 2016