We're just starting to absorb the impact that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already made on popular culture, which is why it's wild to realize the next Star Wars movie will open in theaters in less than a year. Already in production, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a spin-off movie that promises to be a distinct entity, set in a time period just before the original Star Wars in 1977.
But that's not all! Star Wars: Episode VIII will begin production "in a few weeks," according to John Boyega, who stars as Finn in the new series. Boyega made an appearance at the conclusion of a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and stated in part: "The movie is yours now and I really hope you enjoyed it and we are so happy to be starting on Episode VIII in a few weeks in London and it is going to be fun."
The Force Awakens began filming in mid-May 2014 and concluded in early November 2014, so we can expect a similar shooting schedule of about six months for the eighth installment. That would allow a bit more time for postproduction and the completion of all the visual effects work that will undoubtedly be required.
Officially, we don't know too much about the next installment, although it was announced in March 2015 that Rian Johnson (Looper) would be writing and directing the movie. We've since heard more details about the cast, which will include Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac, as well as more new and returning characters.
Now we've heard that director J.J. Abrams has read Johnson's script. His longtime friend Greg Grunberg, who has a small role as pilot Snap Wexley in The Force Awakens, reports that Abrams "read it and said something he never, ever says. He said: ‘It’s so good, I wish I were making it.’ … I never hear him express regret like that.”
That should allay, at least for the moment, any concerns that Johnson won't be able to maintain the level of quality that Abrams has established. Of course, Johnson has already demonstrated his talent as a director, not only with the movies he has made but also excellent episodes of TV's Breaking Bad. Abrams will still be around as well, since he is serving as an executive producer on the project.
We're already excited to see Star Wars: Episode VIII, due in theaters on May 26, 2017.