Director Rian Johnson and company started filming Episode VIII today in London, and not only have we already gotten an extremely tiny bit of new footage (all of it containing Luke Skywalker’s amazing Jedi face) we have the official cast list, including a few new names.
The movie stars everyone you’d expect from The Force Awakens, plus this “Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.” Not, of course, that we know anything about who they are playing, but we can all always wildly speculate based on rumour.
Del Toro’s name has been attached to this movie for a while now. He’s supposed to be playing a villain. If he’s another First Order bad guy, he’ll be joining returning cast members Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. He could also be a villain unaligned with the First Order, like a Jabba-esque crime lord or a bounty hunter.
We have no idea who Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran could be playing, but their casting could mean that the names we’d heard bandied about for a new female lead—Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), and others—were just rumours.
Here’s the announcement video, featuring the shocking news that the last scene of The Force Awakens will also appear in Episode VIII:
And the full announcement:
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.