We got Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, less than two months ago, and it did not disappoint. Many had been worried that Disney’s control over the project would detract a lot from the depth and intricacy of the Star Wars universe. Those fears were allayed, however, when the film came out to rave reviews, and it is on track to be one of the most successful films of all time.
The awesome reception of Star Wars: Episode VII left Star Wars fans (which the world has quite a lot of) hungry for information about Episode VIII, and now they have it.
Just hours ago, the public received a huge Star Wars: Episode VIII update, and we now have confirmed info about release date, directing choice, filming location, and some very exciting cast additions.
First, the Star Wars: Episode VIII release date has been confirmed to be December 15, 2017. It is a ways away, but that gives fans more time to get hyped up. Because it’s a long wait, it will be all the sweeter when Episode VIII does hit. Besides, we have Rogue One, the first entry in the Star Wars anthology series, to tide us over when it is released this December.
Second, the director of the next episode has been confirmed as Rian Johnson. Rian has actually been slated to direct the eighth episode of Star Wars for quite some time, but the video released yesterday evening was the first we actually saw of him interacting with the crew on set.
The video begins where Star Wars: Episode VII left off, at the remote island on which Luke Skywalker is living. The camera holds a closeup on his face and then shows Rey, in character, handing him his lightsaber… and then Rian Johnson yells “cut!”
The camera then shows Johnson addressing the crew.
“Welcome to episode eight,” he shouts, then claps along with the crowd.
“Now in production,” flashes on the screen in the signature yellow-on-black Star Wars script, then the video is over.
If this is any indicator, Disney will do a great job keeping the hype train going for the next 22 months until Episode VIII is released.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the finalized cast of the next Star Wars chapter has been announced. We did not lose any major cast members since The Force Awakens, except, obviously, for the ones who died in the film, and Star Wars: Episode VIII is adding some award-winning actors.
Namely, there’s Benicio Del Toro, the 49-year old actor notable for his roles in films such as Sicario and Snatch, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in 2000’s Traffic.
Laura Dern, also 49, who has been in films like Jurassic Park and The Fault In Our Stars and who is nominated for an Oscar this year for her work in Wild, will also be joining the Star Wars legacy.
And finally we have newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, a much younger Asian-American actress who you may recognize from the College Humor original videos about Asian stereotypes. We can only imagine that Kelly was more than thrilled when she got the call asking her to be in the next installment of Star Wars, the most successful film franchise of all time.
Look for her in the video below.
Principal filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII, which still has not been given an official name, began at Pinewood Studios in London, the indoor location of most of Episode VII. The set design in The Force Awakens was stunning, and if it can be replicated with an enhanced cast and a new and distinct directorial style from Rian Johnson, the world will be very happy come December 2017.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]