The Futuristic Way Star Wars: Episode 8 Is Beefing Up On-Set Security

Security on movie sets is a big deal. And I’m not talking about the safety of actors and crewmembers, but making sure that plot secrets stay secret. No one is quite as renowned for the lengths they go to in order to maintain that shroud of mystery quite like Star Wars, but according to one new report, they’re taking things up a notch on Star Wars: Episode VIII and employing an appropriately science fiction style strategy. They will apparently use a fleet of drones to keep other drones from flying over the sets and taking pictures.

This issue first raised its head during production on Star Wars: The Force Awakens as intrepid fans flew drones over the Greenham Common set, where the scenes of the Resistance base where filmed. It was through some of these images that we got our first looks at a Millennium Falcon build, Poe Dameron’s black X-wing Fighter, and more. According to Mos Croatia (with a translation from Making Star Wars), however, when Star Wars: Episode VIII films in Croatia next month, there will be a "special team with drones to remove uninvited drones" from the airspace surrounding the shoot, further ensuring the secrecy of the set.

That is certainly an inventive way to combat people filming and taking photographs of the Star Wars: Episode VIII set. I can’t help but imagine a kind of sci-fi film going down on set as two squadrons of drones do battle. Though I suspect some enterprising fans will find yet another way to get intel from the production, they’re a wily bunch with a penchant for upping the stakes and finding creative solutions. I feel like satellite surveillance of Star Wars sets is the logical next stop for fans seeking an early glimpse.

The anti-drone drones aren’t the only measures that the Croatian set of Star Wars: Episode VIII will use. Elsewhere in the report it is indicated that in excess of 600 guards will be employed to curtail unwanted leaks, an approach that will reportedly cost approximately $4.3 million. While the number of security personnel does sound excessive, this is probably going to be a big location, and includes round the clock security, so it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII recently began filming on Skellig Michael, where the final moment of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was shot. They’ll move to Dubrovnik, Croatia to film from March 9 through March 16. While that’s not a huge chunk of time, reports indicate that some of the city has been replicated at Pinewood Studios back in England, which could indicate a significant presence in the finished movie.

There’s no word on what exactly Star Wars: Episode VIII will film in Croatia, but other reports suggest that it could be a big chase scene, and that the location could be a stand in for a war-ravaged Naboo. Those are just rumors and conjecture at this point, but they’re certainly interesting possibilities.

We’ll see for ourselves when Star Wars: Episode VIII opens on December 15, 2017. But before that, we’ll get our first look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first in the standalone spinoff movies, which hits later this year on December 16.

Brent McKnight