For the first time in the franchise’s history, a Star Wars sequel will pick up from the moment the previous film ends. Actress Daisy Ridley revealed as much to MTV from the red carpet of the Academy Awards, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter:
Ridley did confirm what many had suspected since the release of the video announcement that Episode VIII had started production in mid-February: that the movie really does open directly after the conclusion of The Force Awakens.
“When we went back to Skellig to do the opening of VIII, it was so crazy doing the same scene with a different crew of people,” she said, adding that she’s been spending a lot of time rehearsing with Hamill. “He’s amazing to rehearse with, and I’m very excited to be doing the rest of the stuff.”
Ridley’s revelation provides context for an earlier released production announcement video for Episode VIII in which director Rian Johnson was seen helming a scene identical to the last one in The Force Awakens. The choice to pick up from the precise moment where the previous film left off defies tradition, raising the question of what other conventions Episode VIII may abandon.
The new film is expected in theaters around Christmas in 2017, preceded by the spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December.