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Star Wars Celebration concluded its stay at the ExCel Center outside of London with a massive Future Filmmakers Panel, where we, learned who'd be playing young Han Solo in a spinoff movie (hey there, Alden Ehrenreich) but did not learn the official title of Star Wars: Episode VIII. This, despite the fact that director Rian Johnson was present at the panel, and was nice enough to drop a few tasty nuggets -- like the fact that his movie really will begin minutes after Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended (with the above scene of Daisy Ridley's Rey handing a familiar lightsaber back to Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker).
That doesn't mean that we walked out of Star Wars Celebration completely empty handed with regards to Star Wars: Episode VIII (the as-yet-untitled sequel). Without any footage to show fans, Rian Johnson instead shared a series of behind-the-scenes, making of images, and used them to talk about the process of making Episode VIII. I'm going to share them with you below, and talk about what he said is important about the image. Starting with:
As expected, Star Wars: Episode VIII will bring back a mixture of the old and the new. The Force Awakens cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac will reprise their roles, and they'll join Original Trilogy all-stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (pictured below). But in leading off with this image, Rian Johnson spoke admirably about the countless extras and crew that toiled in the backgrounds to get Episode VIII off he ground and keep it there. In this photo you can see some of the costuming, props and sets that are on display in the film. The crew seems to be having a good time... but not as much fun as these two, on stage at Star Wars Celebration:
The Practical Effects
In showing this model creation of a ship (which Rian Johnson confirmed contains Billie Lourd, daughter of one Carrie Fisher), the director went on to emphasize the amount of set design, prop construction and practical effects that went into Star Wars: Episode VIII. Green screen is unavoidable in a film of this scale. But Johnson raved about his carpenters, the set designers who went the extra mile to build him practical locations, and the prop wizards who helped bring this movie to life.
To that end, the next shot Rian Johnson shared was of Ireland -- Skellig Michael, to be specific, which we all know now is the spot where Rey (Daisy Ridley) meets Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Is this the home of the First Jedi Temple, and the spot where Luke will train his Padawan? With this photo, Johnson raved about shooting on location, and how it allowed the cast the ability to step into the worlds of Star Wars -- especially one that became so famous once The Force Awakens had been released.
The Collaborative Nature of Lucasfilm
Die hard Star Wars fans will recognize the cowboy hat-wearing hoss in this photo as Dave Filoni, executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and an all-around wealth of knowledge on all things Lucasfilm (dating back through his years on The Clone Wars). In sharing this photo, Johnson talked about the new collaborative nature of storytelling that exists at Lucasfilm, where he'd work in tandem with Gareth Edwards (Rogue One), Filoni and even Colin Trevorrow (Star Wars: Episode IX) to help ensure a powerful continuity in this upcoming film, and the blocks that it needs to establish for future stories.
"The helmets... they are much heavier than you think," was Rian Johnson's comment on this image. And yes, he would know, as it was revealed during the same panel that Johnson has a cameo in Gareth Edwards' Rogue One, where he plays the Imperial soldier who presses the trigger on the Death Star. Cool gig, Rian!
This final shot shows a TIE Fighter in the cockpit of his craft, and Rian Johnson revealed that this actually is his assistant, Leo, who volunteered for a role and ended up with a cameo in which you can't see his face. I doubt he's complaining.
So, what cool details can you see in these images that Rian Johnson shared from the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII? Do you wish that we learned the movie's title? When do you think we WILL find out the title? Weigh in with your best guess below.