A few months back we heard that Lucasfilm and Disney were in negotiations with the Irish film board to continue filming in the country. Now, RTÉ News is reporting that Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of Ireland, has granted permission to Lucasfilm to return to the Ireland for further shooting for a Star Wars film. It was at first interpreted to be reshoots for The Force Awakens, but Entertainment Weekly has since learned from Lucasfilm that filming will actually be for Star Wars Episode VIII. Rian Johnson and his team will soon be headed to the Irish Island of Skellig Michael to begin production on the film which is slated for released on May 26th, 2017.
Filming for The Force Awakens took place on the Island last year as well, and at the time caused some environmental concerns among local officials who were worried the film crew may damage to the delicate wildlife and archaeological features there. Minister Humphreyss assures that the Island's safety is a major priority and that the film crew will be limited to utilizing only certain parts of the Island and they will only be able to film within the month of September. The government also expects the filming to be a boost for local tourism.
It's very interesting that production is already ramping up for Episode VIII even before the release of The Force Awakens and just after filming began for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I still wouldn't count out the idea of The Force Awakens reshoots on Skellig Michael, especially considering the rumored ending of that film and the beginning of Episode VIII. If you read the spoilers, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But that's just me speculating, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: RTÉ, EW
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