It may be no Blue Harvest, but the secret working title for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, “Space Bear,” has been inadvertently confirmed by a photo tweeted from the set.
Space Bear was first rumored to be the working title of the next installment in the Star Wars saga earlier this year, appearing on MovieCastingCall.org, according to Coming Soon. On Friday, actress Carrie Fisher tweeted out a photo of her chair on-set (ably manned by her popular pup, Gary Fisher), which authenticated the rumored title, depicting the production’s tongue-in-cheek artwork in the background.
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) February 19, 2016
Fans should take note that Space Bear is simply the working title for the next Star Wars film, and almost certainly has nothing to do with the actual title of the film, which has yet to be revealed. Working titles are often used in major movie productions, and may or may not have anything to do with the film’s plot. Return of the Jedi, for example, was famously known as Blue Harvest while filming, a name that was later co-opted by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy for the first of its tributes to the famed space opera. George Lucas and his crew at Lucasfilm actually went even further in their efforts to disguise the production of Jedi, coming up with the tagline “Horror beyond imagination” for the supposed film.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) February 20, 2016
Return of the Jedi wasn’t the last Star Wars film to use a working title, either. The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams’ recent entry into the franchise, was rumored to have filmed under the title AVCO. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is set for release this December, as the Inquisitr recently noted, is thought to be filming under the title Lunak Heavy.
Other studios and productions have utilized working titles as well, at times making them a kind of in-joke for the production staff. Marvel Studios used the title Group Hug for The Avengers, while After Party was used as a production title for its sequel. Though the title Space Bear could conceivably represent a similar type of joke, past experience with the Star Wars franchise suggests that it actually has very little to do with the plot.
— MovieWeb (@movieweb) February 20, 2016
Disney recently stoked fans’ excitement over the release of Episode VIII by debuting a short clip to mark the beginning of the film’s principal photography. Featuring a heretofore unseen shot of Luke Skywalker on the island sanctuary world of Ahch-To, the 35-second-long clip also features a quick behind-the-scenes look at the production crew working on the Irish island of Skellig Michael.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 15, 2016
Along with the production announcement, new additions to the cast of Star Wars: Episode VIII were also revealed, as Entertainment Weekly reports. Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran will all be joining the Star Wars universe in as-yet-unrevealed roles, though it has long been rumored that Del Toro would be portraying the villain of Episode VIII (Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader Snoke, and General Hux are all confirmed to be returning in the sequel, as well).
One notable absence from the cast of Episode VIII, however, is Billy Dee Williams. The 78-year-old actor, who portrayed Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars trilogy, has long been a fan-favorite, yet whether he will return for the sequel trilogy remains a mystery.
Filming at Pinewood Studios, Space Bear (better known as Star Wars: Episode VIII) will debut in theaters on December 15, 2017, two years after The Force Awakens and just one year after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
[Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney]