'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Begins Production and Adds Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro to Cast

The highly anticipated sequel began production Monday at London's Pinewood Studios, and flies into theaters on Dec. 15, 2017

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty; Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Star Wars‘ galaxy of new stars is snapping into focus.

Disney and Lucasfilm announced Monday that production on the latest installment in the saga, the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII, has begun, kicking the next phase of Star Wars fandom into hyperdrive.

Filmmakers also revealed that the production has added a pair of big stars to the cast: Wild‘s Laura Dern and Oscar-winning Traffic actor Benicio Del Toro.

A brief video was released Monday hyping the announcement, showing Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley in character as Luke Skywalker and Rey.

Also in the sequel, which began principal photography on Monday at London’s Pinewood Studios, will be newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, producers said in the announcement.

Dern, Del Toro and Tran join the existing cast, which includes Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, among others.

At the BATFA Awards Sunday in London, Boyega said he was psyched to jump back into action as stormtrooper-turned-freedom fighter Finn, noting that that despite the awards celebration, he was ready to return to work the next day at the crack of dawn.

“I start tomorrow,” he said while walking the red carpet. “I’ve got a 6 a.m. pickup tomorrow!”

Looper director Rian Johnson is at the helm of Episode VIII, which flies into theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.

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