Lucasfilm has put to rest rumors that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be undergoing reshoots at Ireland’s Skellig Michael island, saying that the production taking place there is actually for the eighth movie in the series, due in 2017.
Reports emerged earlier this week that J.J. Abrams’ team would be returning to the island, located off Ireland’s southern coast, in order to reshoot scenes for the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The island was used during principal photography for the film, and while it wouldn’t be unheard of for a movie on the scale of The Force Awakens to undergo reshoots in the midst of editing, it would be extremely unusual for that process to take place so close to the release date (which was recently moved forward in Europe, as the Guardian notes).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Scheduled To Reshoot in Ireland http://t.co/PdfIBuymhw pic.twitter.com/xtuk63nV0V
— Epicstream (@FantasyandScifi) September 9, 2015
After these reports surfaced, Lucasfilm reached out to the media to clarify what is actually transpiring. It turns out that filming is taking place on Skellig Michael, but that it is actually for Rian Johnson’s as-yet-unnamed Star Wars: Episode VIII. Though Heather Humphries, Ireland’s arts minister, had initially confirmed the news, Lucasfilm has asserted that the confusion arose out of the studio using the title Star Wars, without differentiating between the two episodes clearly.
Update: Star Wars: Episode VIII to Shoot Sequences in Ireland this Month https://t.co/MHveU6Wi27 pic.twitter.com/ZifctbBNDa
— AVS Movie Show (@AVSMovieShow) September 9, 2015
Skellig Michael is a rocky island, rising some 715 feet out of the sea, and is home to the ruins of a small monastery that was populated between 400 and 600 years, lasting until the 12th century. The island is a UNESCO heritage site, and the filming of both The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII there has caused great controversy in Ireland, as Skellig Michael is home to a wide variety of sea birds, including some that are threatened. Environmental groups have objected to the filming amid fears that the crew could inadvertently transport rats or other pests to the island, which could pose a threat to the indigenous wildlife. All shipments to Skellig Michael have therefore been inspected before being allowed onto the island.
— Shrink Tank (@ShrinkTankTalk) September 9, 2015
While the current filming operations aren’t related to The Force Awakens, sources for Entertainment Weekly have asserted that reshoots for the film did take place over the summer, though they were considered small scale. Fans have long wondered what role Skellig Michael will play in the film, and now they only have a few short months until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters.
[Photo by Jesse Grant/ Getty Images]