Your massively successful franchise reboot has just become the highest grossing movie in North American box office history, what do you do? You get right to work on the next chapter. Today saw the first day of production of Star Wars: Episode VIII just as Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still setting the box office ablaze and delighting moviegoers around the world. But there’s more.
Episode VIII, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper), will see the Star Wars debuts of Oscar winning actor Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), two-time Oscar nominee Laura Dern (Wild) and fresh face Kelly Marie Tran. Del Toro’s casting announced has long been rumored if not completely confirmed; the Sicario star appears primed for a character on the dark side while Dern’s casting comes as a complete surprise- the actress and longtime David Lynch collaborator does have blockbuster bona fides, however, as she famously appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic World. Her role hasn’t been specified.
Tran marks another notch on the diversity belt for the Star Wars universe. The Asian-American actress is a veteran of the comedy troupe Uprights Citizens Brigade and has appeared on the small screen in the television series About a Boy as well as multiple CollegeHumor shorts. All three join returning Star Wars 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.
Star Wars: Episode VIII just commenced filming at the legendary Pinewood Studios in London. The film is set to come out on December 15, 2017. If that wait is too long for the Star Wars devout, the spin-off tale Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters this December from Godzilla director Gareth Edwards.