STAR WARS – Attention, Star Wars fans: It’s time to make some room on your desk, toy shelf, bookshelf, and in your closet.
Disney and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars Force Friday II, a global fan event celebrating the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi products. Toys, collectibles, books, apparel, and more will go on sale beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 1, 2017, with stores around the world opening for a weekend-long celebration of all things Star Wars. In addition, packaging for the new line, featuring striking images of a lightsaber-wielding Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn, was also revealed today and can be seen below.
“The first Star Wars Force Friday event was truly unique, uniting fans across five continents in an unprecedented global live unboxing event ahead of thousands of midnight openings at retail,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “We’re excited to confirm that Star Wars Force Friday is back for The Last Jedi. Plans for this year’s worldwide event are top secret, but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga.”
Star Wars fans around the globe embraced Force Friday in 2015, with hundreds of thousands turning up to stores at midnight to be the first to get their hands on merchandise from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Toys from the new line were revealed via a global livestream unboxing event with top Maker Studios creators that unfolded over 18 hours, 15 different cities and 12 countries, attracting millions of views on YouTube. Fans took to social media to share their experiences with nearly 3 billion Twitter impressions about the events, using #ForceFriday.
Jill Wilfert, vice president of global licensing and entertainment from The LEGO Group commented, “It was so much fun to be a part of Star Wars Force Friday, and we can’t wait for fans to join this year’s celebration as we reveal new Star Wars: The Last Jedi products during Force Friday II — a global event that will connect fans and families, and allow them to build, create and share their experiences with others.”
Details of how fans can participate will be revealed closer to the event, but the worldwide launch will tap new technology and Star Wars mythology to create a unique experience for fans. Just like 2015, products for The Last Jedi will be kept under wraps until Force Friday II to preserve surprises for fans. As well as introducing new characters from the movie in toy form, the line will build on the success of products like Sphero’s BB-8, introducing more innovative technology to bring the characters and stories from the film to life in unique ways.
“Toys play a unique role in the Star Wars universe, and we’re proud to have been part of that incredible legacy for the past 40 years. The new line for The Last Jedi is our most innovative yet, and we’re excited to unveil it on Force Friday II,” said Samantha Lomow, senior vice president at Hasbro.
STAR WARS – We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.
THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.
Daisy Ridley (joined by a few friends) wishes fans a happy Star Wars Day and offers thanks for all the money raised through Star Wars: Force for Change. This marks your last chance to donate — and the chance to win a trip to Ireland and visit Skellig Michael, the iconic location of Rey’s fateful meeting with Luke Skywalker in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.
TOTAL FILM – Despite getting its release date pushed seven months back to December 2017, Star Wars: Episode VIII has kicked off filming only a month later than originally planned. While several key shots were filmed late last year – to link the film to its predecessor The Force Awakens – Rian Johnson’s eagerly-awaited sequel has officially started principal photography today.
The news hails from Disney CEO Bob Iger, who made the announcement to investors during Disney’s quarterly earnings call. “There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products,” he said. “Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.” John Boyega, who returns to play stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn, also confirmed the start of filming on Twitter.
As for the Colin Trevorrow-directed Episode IX, Iger’s comments aren’t exactly definitive. Does this mean it’s already entered pre-production? That seems a stretch, given that the movie isn’t due to hit cinemas for another three years. Seeing as Trevorrow is wrapping up work on his next film The Book Of Henry, it’s likely that he’s just diving into the story and concept stage for Episode IX.
Iger then goes on to discuss Gareth Edwards’ anthology tale Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “Filming is virtually completed and we absolutely love what we’ve seen so far. This is the first of a set of planned stand-alone stories and we’re already in preproduction on our next one, for release in May of 2018.” That “next one” is the young Han Solo movie which has Phil Lord and Chris Miller attached to direct.
Directed by Rian Johnson, and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Benicio Del Toro, Star Wars: Episode VIII opens on December 15, 2017. The Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16, 2016. Star Wars: Episode IX opens on May 24, 2019.
STAR WARS – Today, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally scheduled for release in summer 2017, will now debut on December 15, 2017.
The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861.3 million and the third biggest global release ever with $1.886.7 billion.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: Episode VIII is currently in preproduction and will begin principal photography in London next month. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman will produce and J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski will executive produce. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the coming weeks.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – The British government formally announced Monday that episode eight of the Star Wars franchise will be shot at Pinewood Studios just outside of London.
“Pleased to announce #StarWarsVIII will be filmed here in UK @PinewoodStudios – great news for @starwars fans & our UK creative industries,” tweeted George Osborne, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, the British equivalent of the secretary of the Treasury. Osborne also trumped up the $152 million (₤100 million) inward investment and 3,000 jobs the production will bring.
The news comes on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), but also coincidentally a bank holiday Monday in the U.K. Lucasfilm and Disney representatives couldn’t immediately be reached. Pinewood declined to comment.
Episode VIII to be #MadeinBritain, bringing 100m investment and 3,000 jobs here. #MayThe4thBeWithYou
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) May 4, 2015
Yet to be titled, Star Wars Episode VIII will be directed by Rian Johnson. Filming is due to start in 2016 with a release date scheduled for 2017.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said late last year that the company has continued its “long tradition of Star Wars movies being made in London.” She added: “It goes back to 1976, and to know that we are now coming back and we will be making the movies once again based out of Pinewood.”
In Britain, the timing of the announcement is partly seen as a political move by Osborne, an attempt to associate his party, the Conservatives of David Cameron, with a high-profile injection of foreign investment as the U.K. election takes place on May 7.