Earlier today, a report surfaced that, with just 100 days left until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this December, the production is undergoing reshoots at Skellig Michael island, off the coast of Ireland. As it turns out, that report was erroneous, and it isn't Star Wars: The Force Awakens that is undergoing reshoots, but, instead, Star Wars: Episode VIII is actually starting production later this month. Entertainment Weekly reveals that the confusion came from LucasFilm trying to play coy by only using the title Star Wars without differentiating between the two films.
Back in July 2014, it was confirmed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will shoot at Skellig Michael island, with the location later rumored to be shot as the Sith home planet. Those details were never confirmed, but if Star Wars 8 is shooting on the same island as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there will surely be some narrative connection in place for doing so. Unfortunately, since nothing is known about the story thus far, it's tough to say for certain. Sources also claim that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already filmed a small round of reshoots this summer, including this August when the cast had assembled for Disney's D23 Convention.
While he hasn't been officially confirmed by LucasFilm yet, Benicio Del Toro has said he is in negotiations with the studio, while revealing that he is playing the villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII last week. The actor also stated that principal photography won't begin until March, so if shooting on Star Wars: Episode VIII is actually happening this month, it will likely be second unit shots. No details were given about what will be shot on Skellig Michael Island, but it seems unlikely that it will be an extensive shoot, since no cast members have been officially confirmed yet, and casting is still under way.
The production has caused a bit of controversy, with Irish environmental group An Taisce objecting to the Skellig Michael shoot. Heather Humphries, Ireland's arts minister, confirmed the news and vowed that an ecologist and observers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Monuments Service will monitor filming and intercede if anything threatens to damage or disturb archaeological sites or wildlife habitats. The island is also home to a monastery that was used between 400 and 600 years until the 12th century. The island is designated as an UNESCO Heritage Site and tourism is severely restricted to prevent damage to the ruins, which include steep, crumbling stone steps that rise to the monastery, 600 feet above sea level.
How this monastery will be used is unclear, with rumors swirling that this site could be where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has gone into seclusion, while others believe it could serve as the backdrop for General Hux's Starkiller base, or the home of the First Order. What do you think of these new details? Do you have any theories about how Skellig Michael Island in Ireland connects Star Wars: The Force Awakens to Star Wars: Episode VIII? Let us know what you think below, and stay tuned for more updates.