Our Full ‘Episode VIII’ and ‘Han Solo’ Report from the Future Filmmakers Panel at Star Wars Celebration
It’s been an eventful weekend full of Star Wars news and reveals, but Lucasfilm has saved the biggest surprises for last. Sunday’s Future Filmmakers panel closes out the three day-long Star Wars Celebration Europe with big announcements for Episode 8 and the Han Solo spinoff. While the panel won’t be live-streamed like the Rogue One panel was on Friday, ScreenCrush’s Erin Whitney is in London at Celebration covering the panel. We’ll be live-blogging and tweeting everything as it happens live, so keep coming back here for the latest updates.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be joined by Story Group Development lead Kiri Hart, Episode 8 director Rian Johnson, and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are helming the upcoming Han Solo Movie.
News and Updates From the Future Filmmakers Panel:
-The panel gets underway with Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo. Next Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart take the stage, talking about the first Rogue One trailer, who discuss the notion of “standalone films,” and realizing from the response online that they would have to explain to people how those movies are different from the primary “Saga” films.
Next, Rian Johnson takes the stage to a standing ovation. Kathleen Kennedy says he “moves the camera as well as Steven Spielberg.” He talks about working with the Lucasfilm Story Group and watching the dailies for Episode VII. He spent six weeks with the Story Group while The Force Awakens was still in production.
Johnson’s ideas for Episode VIII came from reading the script and watching the dailies; not from the hype that followed. His inspirations for the film:
Next Johnson dropped a pretty significant tidbit: “This movie is going to start right where the last one left off.” Johnson continued talking about his personal memories of Star Wars, and seeing the very first movie with his father.
Johnson, on what it’s like directing Mark Hamill: “You realize your responsibility is to ultimately tell a story that feels alive right now.” Nostalgia is great, he added, but you have to get past that. “The second film is where we start zooming in on the characters, getting to the heart of them.” Johnson said.
Next they revealed a few behind the scenes photos:
A fun tidbit: The production code name for Star Wars: Episode VIII was “Space Bear.” For now that’s as close as we get to the unveiling of an official subtitle for the movie.
Up next: The directors of the Han Solo spinoff movie: Phil Lord and Chris Miller!
They’ve just moved to London and are still working on the script for the movie, along with Force Awakens and Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan.
Miller and Lord note that they have worked with Han Solo before, in The LEGO Movie. They also joked that since Batman and Han Solo met in The LEGO Movie, that is now officially part of Star Wars canon. This clip was then shown on the panel:
Keep your eyes peeled for director cameos in Rogue One. Rian Johnson plays a character on the Death Star. And Lord and Miller were going to make a cameo but didn’t get to at the last minute. They did get a picture in their costumes though.
Over 3000 actors auditioned for the role of the young Han Solo. Ironically, the guy who got the job was the very first person who auditioned: Alden Ehrenreich, who came out on stage to join the panel.
Ehrenreich auditioned for six months for the role of Han Solo, including scenes with Chewbacca and on the Millennium Falcon. What was the experience of being on the Millennium Falcon like? “Unbelieveable,” Ehrenreich said.
The Han Solo solo (heh) film goes into production early next year, like January or February. Next, a surprise: An appearance by Finn himself, John Boyega, who takes the stage with the rest of the crew. He describes Episode VIII as “an indie movie in a studio franchise.”
And, yes, Finn will wake up from the coma he was in at the end of The Force Awakens. (First the Force awakens, then Finn.) Boyega also marveled at Ehrenreich getting the job playing the next Han Solo.
The surprises continued with an appearance of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, flanked by their respective dogs.
And with that, things started winding down. No big announcements; we still don’t know the Episode VIII or Han Solo movie titles, and we didn’t get too many more details on either. Although we did get Alden Ehrenreich officially confirmed as Han Solo. We’ll have lots more from Star Wars Celebration throughout the weekend. Until next time, may the Force be with you.