There was a reason director Rian Johnson set course for Skellig Michael immediatley upon picking up the megaphone on Star Wars: Episode VIII.
That’s because, as was revealed at Star Wars Celebration Europe over the weekend, Johnson’s 2017 sequel will pick up directly where The Force Awakens left off, meaning fans will be checking in on Luke and Rey on Anch-To soon after that iconic crawl zooms across the screen.
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Speaking during a panel at SWCE, Rian Johnson touched base on his own experience at the helm of Episode VIII, revealing that it wasn’t long before nostalgia came flooding in.
“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.”
President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, was also present on the panel, heaping praise on Johnson’s directing style: “Watching him on set, Rian moves the camera as well as Steven Spielberg.” That’s quite the vote of confidence from Kennedy, who has enjoyed a long tenure on the Star Wars franchise that stretches back to the original trilogy.
Rogue One is, of course, the first Anthology film that will branch off the core timeline, but by the time Rian Johnson’s sequel slams into theaters late next year, the likes of Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson will all be lighting up the screen once more.
When quizzed about Episode VIII, Carrie Fisher seemingly let slip of a major scene involving “Han’s funeral,” before quickly correcting herself to reflect on Han and Leia’s fraught relationship.
“We had a very volatile relationship, which leads to space divorce as you know,” she said. “Or space estrangement, at least. We had a child who turned out to be Hitler, and you’d feel bad too if your son had done all that.”
Star Wars: Episode VIII has been pegged for release on December 15, 2017.