After shattering domestic box office records with The Force Awakens, the Star Wars saga officially announced Monday that it has started production on the upcoming, still-untitled Episode VIII. The announcement was accompanied by a short video that provided an alternate look at the cliffhanger ending of The Force Awakens: The appearance of Luke Skywalker and his encounter with Rey.
According to the film’s official cast list, Episode VIII, written and directed by Rian Johnson, finds the bulk of The Force Awakens‘s cast returning, minus one or two key cast members. There are also some new actors entering the never-ending Star Wars universe: Benicio Del Toro, long rumored to be appearing in Episode VIII, is officially onboard in an unknown role, though it’s widely reported that he’s playing a villain. Laura Dern has also joined the cast along with newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Production on Episode VIII is currently underway at London’s Pinewood Studios. After postponing the film seven months as Disney attempts to monopolize the Christmas box office – anthology film Rogue One hits theaters this December 16th – Episode VIII is scheduled to arrive December 15th, 2017.