Star Wars: Episode VIII may still be over a year away, but that doesn't mean the filmmakers have taken a vacation once filming concluded. It turns out, that there's already a rough cut of the film that has been completed. The news comes from the man responsible for scoring the new film. He says that he's seen an early version of the movie, which is at least complete enough for him to begin putting the music together.
Over the weekend, John Williams returned as the conductor of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, a position he held for the entire decade of the 80s and the first part of the 90s. He conducted a great deal of his famous film music, including some from the Star Wars films. However, according to MassLive, he informed the assembled crowd at Boston's Tanglewood Music Center that in just a few weeks he would begin his work on Star Wars: Episode VIII, after having seen a rough cut of the film.
For what it's worth, John Williams told the audience that he did not know who Rey's parents are, which could mean a couple of things. Most likely, this information will not be relayed in the new film. However, it's barely possible that a scene like that could have been omitted from the rough cut, simply to prevent people like John Williams from spilling the beans.
Star Wars: Episode VIII had its release date pushed back by half a year after there was concern that the script needed additional work. However, since then, the movie appears to have been traveling at light speed. Filming began early this year but principal photography wrapped less than a month ago. In only a few weeks the editors have apparently put together some sort of complete film, which seems awfully fast. Of course, this rough cut could have an emphasis on the "rough" part, certainly, there are no effects done, that part always takes up the bulk of the post-production period, but, at the rate they're going, it certainly feels like the film could have made its original May 2017 release date.
John Williams reiterated an earlier comment, that part of the reason he wants to continue to score the Star Wars films is because he likes Rey a great deal and doesn't want anybody else writing music for her. We get the impression that he wants to know more about the character in the same way that the rest of us do.
Certainly, we would expect whatever version of the film that John Williams saw to go through a lot of changes before they have a final edit, nevermind the additional post-production work. Having said that, the fact that they already have a starting point seems to imply that either they expect to have a lot of work to do over the next 16 months, or they want to get it all finished well in advance of the December 2017 release date.
There probably isn't much chance of Star Wars: Episode VIII getting pushed back up to its original release date, but maybe having things moving like this means we could get our first trailer, or at least a bloody title, sooner than we thought.