Disney and Lucasfilm have been very tight lipped about their highly anticipated follow up to The Force Awakens, but they finally gave us a few new juicy bits to chew on. They have been holding their annual Star Wars Celebration this weekend in London, and used the opportunity to finally give fans a little bit of information about Star Wars: Episode VIII. During the Future Filmmakers panel at Celebration this weekend, Star Wars Episode VIII director Rian Johnson joined Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on the main stage to reveal some new photos, and a little bit about the movie.
The Future Filmmakers panel was one of the only panels that wasn't live streamed online during Star Wars Celebration, but here are some of the highlights from the event. One of the most important bits of information came from Rian Johnson directly, who confirmed that Episode VIII will pick up right where The Force Awakens left off. This is something we have suspected for quite some time, but we no longer have to wonder. Here is what he had to say.
"This movie is going to start right were the last one left off. That final scene in VII, I want to see what happens next."
One of the more surprising things that didn't get revealed about Star Wars Episode VIII during the panel was the title for the movie, which seemed like a very big possibility, but sadly it didn't come to light. Even though we didn't get a title reveal, Johnson did have a bit more to tell us about the upcoming sequel, which is nearing the end of principal photography at the moment. We were introduced to a lot of new characters like Rey, Finn and Poe in The Force Awakens, and the director had nothing but praise for how that movie was able to re-launch the franchise. But he promises that we are going to explore these characters in a much more in-depth way in Episode VIII.
"The second film is where we start zooming in on the characters and getting to the heart of them, challenging them, and pushing them deeper."
The last significant bit about Episode VIII came in the form of Johnson sharing some behind-the-scenes photos from the set. There were a couple of black and white shots, one of which featured Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd. The director also shared one color photo of Skellig Michael, the Irish island that was featured at the end of The Force Awakens where Rey finally meets Luke, and where Episode VIII will seemingly pick up. There was also a shot of a Tie Fighter pilot, which Johnson had a fun anecdote about.
"This is my assistant, Leo, who we stuck in a TIE Fighter [pilot] outfit. I had a lot of fun directing him ruthlessly."
It may not be much, but we finally have a few concrete things about Star Wars Episode VIII to hold us over until Disney finally loosens their grip and at least reveals a title. We can also perhaps go into the movie with a little more confidence, as Kathleen Kennedy stated during the panel that "I think Rian moves the camera as well as Steven Spielberg." That is very high praise from someone who has worked so close with Spielberg so many times over the years. Star Wars Episode VIII comes out on December 15, 2017. Be sure to check out some of the photos from Star Wars Celebration below.
More Star Wars Episode 8 photos pic.twitter.com/KK27M3Qfup— Rob Keyes (@rob_keyes) July 17, 2016