star wars episode 8 aliens

We’ve reached that delicate time in the aftermath of the release of the latest chapter in a major movie series – when is it okay to start talking about the next one without looking like a total lunatic? After we’re all, we’re still talking about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and we already have some news related to Star Wars: Episode 8 and Star Wars: Episode 9. Are there rules about this? Is it crude to dive into the rumor mill when the brand new movie is still less than a week old?

To answer those questions: no and probably. But hey, here we are.

The first of the two rumors up for consideration today is the spoiler-free one, but it is also the one that should be taken with a grain of salt. Or maybe a fistful of salt. You can never be too careful.

My Entertainment World (via Omega Underground), which provides information about about upcoming film productions for actors, has added an entry for Star Wars: Episode 9, complete with a production start date of April 2017, far earlier than expected. If true (and that’s a fairly large “if” until we hear something official), that means that the filming of Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars film will overlap with the post-production of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars film. This also means that production Episode 9 would overlap with Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s Han Solo movie, which is due out on May 25, 2018.

Episode 9 will follow in the footsteps of the Han Solo movie and return to the franchise’s traditional Memorial Day release schedule, opening on May 23, 2019. To put this in perspective, Episode 8 began filming on February 10, 2016 for its late 2017 release date.

The second of today’s stories could be considered a minor spoiler for Star Wars: Episode 8, but it comes from Making Star Wars, who have been generally on-point in the past when it comes to breaking news about these movies. If you want to know nothing, feel free to turn back right now.

We know that much of Episode 8 will be set on Ahch-To, the isolated planet where Luke Skywalker has been living (and where Rey finds him at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens). But Making Star Wars reports that Luke is not alone and shares the planet with some cute (and possibly dangerous) like aliens:

Rumor has it the creatures have razor sharp teeth and are a mixture of the terrifying and the adorable. They’re sort of like a bird mixed with a Gremlin. Someone once said it was like the Star Wars version of a Furby, but the look and feel is so Star Wars they loved it. Basically combine a puffin, a Furby, and Star Wars it up and you have yourself an idea of what this creature is.  They’re tiny–maybe 15 inches tall or so. I was apprehensive when I first heard “Furby,” but no one speaking of the design has anything bad to say about it. In fact, those that have seen the tiny puppets on set are overjoyed by their presence in the film.

Making Star Wars also notes that these creatures were inspired by the puffins that actual inhabit Skellig Michael, the Irish island where The Force Awakens‘ Ahch-To scenes were shot (Episode 9 utilizes Skellig Michael and other Irish locations for Ahch-To). While everyone should think this over with a pinch of salt,  I will say that the thought of old Luke chilling out on an island with a bunch of space gremlins brought to life through practical puppets makes my day. There are a few more details to be found at the link above.

Star Wars: Episode 8 opens on December 15, 2017.

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