Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rumor: First Pictures From Episode VIII Shoot at Skellig Michael

By: Dominic Jones

We learned last week that filming for Star Wars Episode VIII would be taking place this month at Skillig Michael, an island just of the coast of Ireland, and now the first pictures from the shoot have  hit the web.  Skellig Michael was previously used as a location for scenes in this December's Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  Director Rian Johnson was spotted heading out to the island and images acquired by Star Wars 7 News show the film crew getting set up.  I wouldn't consider these images spoilers, they just show the film crew getting set up.  But if you are trying to avoid all Star Wars spoilers, you may want to stop reading now.  This is your Mild Spoiler Alert.  Check out the images below,

According to the local news paper, Kerry's Eye (whose cover is pictured above), here's who was there and what was happening,

A huge production crew for Star Wars VIII – the sequel to the film shot on the World Heritage Site last year – arrived in South Kerry on Tuesday and visited Skellig Michael… The director [Rian Johnson], producer [Ram Bergman], and head of photography [Steve Yedlin] for the blockbuster film – along with up to 30 pre-production crew, were ferried on to the island at around 2.30pm. The crew brought no equipment on board the boats with them, but it is understood that they were walking the island and taking pictures, and spent a number of hours surveying the area.

As for what they are actually filming there, it's still unclear since none of the cast have actually showed up yet.  However, if you've been following along with the spoilers, you may have an idea of who should be there.  In addition, Star Wars 7 News heard from someone who was there and they were able to shine a light on more of what's going on.  Unlike the images, this contains major spoilers for The Force Awakens (and mild ones for Episode VIII), so if you are trying to avoid plot spoilers stop reading now.  This is your SPOILER ALERT!
Rumors have it that The Force Awakens will end with Rey (Daisy Ridley) bringing to blue lightsaber which once belonged to Anakin and Luke Skywalker to the planet for which Skellig Michael is the location.  There she will return in Luke Skywalker, marking the only appearance by Mark Hamil as Luke in the entire film.  It is expected that Episode VIII will open up with Luke training Rey at the same location.  Based on this we are expecting that both Ridley and Hamill will be a part of the shoot this week.  
(There are reports that Hamill is already on set and nearly had a disastrous fall, though keep in mind the source on this is The Daily Mail -who have a bad reputation on this sort of thing.  My guess is that Hamill may have slipped and got some help from a guide, but that he wouldn't have been a "goner" if he did.  That being said, if Hamill did slip, then we are glad to hear that he is alright!)

Star Wars 7 News' source seems to back up some of this while providing a little more insight into what will actually happen in the scenes from Episode VIII.  According to SW7N's source,

Tents and tarps full of equipment were all over the island completely unguarded apart from one tent which lay on top of a fake sandy coloured rock built for the filming… My guess is Luke will be standing on that tomorrow. Talking to people who I can’t name as they were afraid of getting in trouble, we discovered that there were definitely droids already locked away on the island (presumably BB-8 or R2-D2 or both, but couldn’t confirm because they hadn’t seen any of the movies). Along with the droids were weapons, presumably a lightsaber or two. We also discovered that the set had been described as a “Jedi Monastery”, (although I don’t know the validity of that) and scenes were to have wind and rain machines, which we later discovered and took photos that you can (above).

Based on the rumors/spoilers from The Force Awakens it seems safe to assume that the droid on set is BB-8.  (Part of the rumors is that Chewbacca will fly Rey and BB-8 to this location.  It seems unlikely that Chewie will stay, he'll want to get back to the fight and make sure a certain someone's death wasn't in vain, but it would make sense for BB-8 to stay as a means for Rey and Luke to keep in contact with the outside galaxy).  That being said, I would love to see Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 reunited in Episode VIII.

As always these are just rumors until confirmed or denied by Lucasfilm or Disney.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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