What We Know About ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ So Far

(Possible spoilers for Episode VII and Episode VIII)

Star Wars: Episode VII came out a month an a half ago, so clearly Episode VIII can’t come out any sooner. I mean, we’ve nearly run out of speculations about the identity of Snoke and the origins of Rey. What were to happen if we actually ran out of theories to discuss and pick apart endlessly? We need more source material to pull from! And now that the release date has been pushed back even further, the only thing we can do is not panic and focus on what we do know about the next installment.

In terms of the characters we’ll be seeing, all of the major surviving characters (and maybe even a very much dead character) from Force Awakens are confirmed to return. Luke Skywalker will be doing more than staring longingly on an island next time, and we might even be seeing Lando. Gwendoline Christie recently spilled the beans about returning for Episode VIII (and let’s hope it’s with a much bigger role), so I wonder who she got to shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level. There are some rumored new faces, including Benicio Del Toro, Tatiana Maslany, Olivia Cooke, and Gina Rodriguez. British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is also confirmed for a new role.

Although J.J. Abrams isn’t back at the helm, Looper director Rian Johnson has taken the reins. Abrams is still providing creative consulting, but Johnson will be the sole writer of the script and story (hopefully crafting the subtitle Brick In Space). We still don’t know much about the plot, but it was good enough to make Abrams say he wishes he were directing it. So that’s good enough for us.

Shooting has begun in Ireland on Skellig Michael, aka the planet of Ahch-To, where Rey found Luke. But if you’re hoping for more Force Awakens-style drone spoilers, you’ll be sorely disappointed as the studio is using tech to shut them down. It sounds mysterious, but it seems like Episode IX already has them beat by planning to shoot in space.

Unfortunately, we won’t know anything for sure for nearly two more years. Let’s just get Patton Oswalt to speculate wildly for us on the next movie, too. That should hold us over.