Star Wars: Episode VIII is an upcoming American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It will be the tenth installment in the Star Wars film series, and the second in the Star Wars sequel trilogy following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran.
Some scenes, which required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland, took place during pre-production in September 2015, while principal photography began at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom in February 2016. Episode VIII is scheduled for release on December 15, 2017.
In September 2015, Disney shortlisted the female cast members to Gina Rodriguez, Tatiana Maslany, and Olivia Cooke. Later that month, Benicio del Toro confirmed that he will play the villain in the film, and Mark Hamill (who plays Luke Skywalker) was also confirmed. In October 2015, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was rumored to have been cast in the film. In November, Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2, replacing Kenny Baker, who portrayed the character in Star Wars through Revenge of the Sith, and served as a consultant in The Force Awakens. In November, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced at the London premiere for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that the entire cast would return for Episode VIII, along with “a handful of new cast members”. In February 2016, at the start of filming, it was confirmed that Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran had been cast in unspecified roles.