We're still most of a year away from Star Wars: The Last Jedi but with the next episode of the trilogy on the way, news has begun to surface about when the last film in the series will get underway. With a planned release date of May 2019, the movie won't be waiting around to get started as multiple sources are claiming filming will begin this July.
This will give Star Wars: Episode IX nearly two years to get everything ready for the finale of the trilogy. The information comes from My Entertainment World who currently lists the July start time for Episode IX in London. In addition, Movie Casting Call also reported that extras would be needed for this film at the same time. The movie will be filmed at Pinewood Studios, where all the other Star Wars films have been shot previously. The Han Solo movie is currently filming there and it appears that once principal photography is done for that film, the next Star Wars movie will be moving in and taking over.
Since we still don't know much of anything about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we can't even begin to surmise about what Episode IX will hold. The only item of note that we know for sure is that Carrie Fisher will not be there, having passed away in December. We know that Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow took meetings with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy to figure out what to do with the film following the loss of a significant character. The studio has stated that it will not be using CGI to bring Leia back with another actress, but beyond that, we have no idea how the script is being changed. Whatever the final decision was, it appears the necessary changes have been made if the film will be ready to shoot in just three months.
While Star Wars movies are even more massive undertakings than your average movie blockbuster, a two-year lead time does seem excessive. Principal photography will likely be complete before Star Wars: The Last Jedi is even in theaters. It may simply be a case of everybody being ready, getting schedules in line so that all the right people are available at the right time can be one of the most difficult things about making movies. But one one wonders if there might be a need for a much longer post-production period. Maybe Star Wars: Episode IX is going to need more time than usual because it will be doing new things with effects or CGI that will require more time. Either that or there could simply be more of it and so more time will be required.
The other thing that we'll be keeping an eye on is any news that comes from the Star Wars: Episode IX set. In addition to telling us about that movie, it might also give us details about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If certain actors from Episode VIII aren't on set for Episode IX it could give us an idea what direction this year's movie will be going.