The box-office juggernaut that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still raking in the cash, having grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and the Star Wars hype has never been more alive. And, to make things even better, the cameras have started rolling on Episode VIII and the first official footage and first official press release for the follow-up has been released.

Details surrounding the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VIII have been very slim and the film is being shrouded in absolute secrecy but, finally, we have our first bit of official information, as well as an official video, from The Force Awakens sequel to get excited over! Cameras have started rolling on the next instalment in the Star Wars franchise, which will be directed by Rian Johnson, and, today, Lucas Film have debuted a production announcement teaser video for Episode VIII and it contains our first footage from the film, featuring Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley. Where Episode VII made us wait right until the very end to give us a look at Luke Skywalker, it seems as though Episode VIII will open up with him, moments after that film ended. We already get more footage of Hamill in this teaser than we got in the entirety of TWA.
Accompanying the production announcement video, an official press release from Disney has also been released and it reveals that Benecio Del Toro and Laura Dern will be joining the forthcoming instalment. Whilst their roles remain a mystery, the rumour on the street is that Del Toro will be a villain of sorts - of course, he was rumoured for the role for some time so it's exciting to see this official casting. Also joining the ensemble for an unknown new female lead role is newcomer Kelly Marie Tran - who beat out other possible contenders Tatiana Maslany, Gina Rodriguez and Olivia Cooke. Of course, Harrison Ford won't be returning - despite some rumours - but, more surprisingly, neither will Peter Mayhew and Max von Sydow, apparently, according to the press release. With the film set to release in December 2017, it's still very early days so we can most likely expect more information in due time.
Here's the official production announcement press release, in full:
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back 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.  New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
With Rian Johnson at the helm, and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie FisherMark HamillAnthony DanielsDomhnall GleesonLupita Nyong'oGwendoline Christie, Benecio Del Toro and Laura DernStar Wars: Episode VIII is set to hit cinemas on December 15th, 2017.

Check out the production announcement below:

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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