Rian Johnson Reveals New Details On 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'; New BTS Photos

By Matt O.

Just a little while ago, Star Wars: Episode VIII writer and director Rian Johnson was on the Future Filmmaker Discussion panel at Star Wars Celebration 2016, which just wrapped up. During the awesome panel Lucasfilm President praised Rian Johnson's skills as a director saying that "“Watching him on set [for Episode 8], Rian moves the camera as well as Steven Spielberg.”

After that Johnson discussed some tidbits about the filmmaking and creative process on Episode VIII saying that:

“One of the first things I did was go up to San Francisco, and spent about 6 weeks figuring out the story [for Episode 8]. I think it was a good thing.”

After that Johnson revealed perhaps the most surprising aspect of Episode VIII, that a Star Wars film for the first time will not have a significant jump in time between films saying:

“For the first time, this movie is going to start where the last one left off.” 

Which confirms what our sources had told us awhile back, that Star Wars: Episode VIII will pick up right where The Force Awakens left off with Daisy Ridley's Rey coming face-to-face with the legendary Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on the planet of Ahch-To. We then go a new behind the scenes image with Johnson saying that the island Skellig Michael they filmed on was "a very mystical, magical place.... It was appropriately surreal."

Director Rian Johnson on set of Star Wars: Episode VIII the Skellig Michael island.

The director then went on the comment on a couple of films that helped influence his filming of Episode VIII, Three Outlaw Samurai and 12 O'Clock High. The director also briefly commented on how he had to leave his life long love of Star Wars and his wide-eyed nostalgia behind while developing and filming Episode VIII:

“It was an incredible experience on many different levels…You come into it with those feelings of deep nostalgia, but then you realize you have to get over that.”

Rian Johnson and actor John Boyega then added several cool details about the film saying:

  • The Force Awakens was an "an incredible explosion of adventure, but Episode VIII will instead be a more character-heavy tale and dig beneath the surface of Rey & Fin, and many more.
  • In Episode VIII the characters have been pushed in a new direction in a very, very cool way.”
  • Episode VIII, like The Force Awakens before it, will also feature much in the way of practical sets and backdrops, with Johnson saying “The amount of sets we’ve built on this movie has been absolutely outrageous.”

Star Wars: Episode VIII is set to hit theaters on December 15th, 2017.