'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Begins Shooting This Month In Ireland

Writer/director Rian Johnson is getting to work on the new Star Wars film, with the Star Wars Episode VIII shoot set to begin this month in Ireland. We know this because a report out of the country initially indicated that The Force Awakens reshoots were being undertaken.

In fact, however, the new work is the beginning of production on Episode VIII. Now, whether this is a bit of second-unit shooting before the real production begins, or the official start of production, remains to be seen.

Note that some potentially minor spoilers for The Force Awakens follow.

News of the shoots, originally noted as The Force Awakens reshoots, came from Irish TV news service RTÉ, and was confirmed by EW.

The report says that when Lucasfilm set up the shoot schedule it simply used the name "Star Wars," supposedly in an effort to keep the shoot low-key. As if any Star Wars shoot can really be low-key if it is taking place in a public (or in this case semi-public) location.

As I mention above, this could be an early shoot to capture basic landscape images to later augment with effects — no cast needed — akin to the Iceland and Abu Dhabi shoots for The Force Awakens which took place prior to the official start of production in May 2014.

We've also wondered if The Force Awakens might have a post-credits tag and if, in the manner of Marvel movies, the director of the film the tag is teasing would shoot that footage. If so, in this case it would be Rian Johnson, and the reason for the use of this location could be one we discuss below.

Here it gets a bit complicated, and this is also where the potential spoilers kick in. We've used inviso-text in a couple places below to hide some details.

J.J. Abrams and crew did shoot on the island Skellig Michael, off the southern coast of Ireland, for The Force Awakens. The shoot caused friction with some groups that are concerned about protecting the local flora and fauna, and the monastary ruins that exist on the island. It's not a place where flocks of tourists can visit any time, because there is the potential to damage the landscape.

The location is reportedly used as the spot where [begin invisotext] Luke is hiding out in The Force Awakens, and we've heard it is where the ending of that film takes place. The theory that this shooting was meant as reshoots for JJ Abrams's film came about in part because of the fact that the spot might look different now, due to seasonal changes, than it did when the Abrams unit shot there. But if the island is part of the end of The Force Awakens, it could also potentially be the beginning of Episode VIII. [end invisotext]

As for reshoots for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, some quietly took place earlier this summer. Not a big deal, really, as reshoots for big movies take place all the time as the edit moves along. The director and producers might realize they need something extra or a bit different as the movie comes together.

EW says that Abrams organized reshoots when he had his cast assembled in San Diego for Comic Con, which is a pretty good and even sneaky plan.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens will begin to hit theaters on December 16 of this year in some countries, and will open in the US on December 18. Star Wars: Episode VIII will open on May 26, 2017.