Reports are coming in that Rian Johnson is returning to Skellig Michael — and the surrounding area — for Star Wars: Episode VIII, to film scenes for Luke Skywalker’s island, Ahch-To…
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Making Star Wars is reporting that mobile sets are being built at Pinewood Studios (where many scenes for The Force Awakens were shot), that will stand-in for the ocean planet and island where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker has been in exile. The island’s name is Skellig Michael — an island in Kerry, Ireland — where ancient ruins of a monastery still stand. The location provided the perfect backdrop for the first Jedi Temple that Luke sought-out, after his new Jedi Order was betrayed and slaughtered by Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren.
Here’s what Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy had to say about Rian Johnson returning for filming there:
“We’ll continue to use Skellig. Skellig is absolutely beautiful and you know the extraordinary thing which just shows you the force was working in Ireland is that it was sunny and beautiful both times we shot there. We’re going to be near Dingle and Skellig again.”
MSW also reported on the mobile sets, built to resemble Skellig:
“The Skellig Michael sets have been built and in some cases recreated at Pinewood. The location of the set at Pinewood is the same place they filmed the Jakku village scenes for The Force Awakens. Filming at Skellig Michael was just too complicated for environmental reasons. Migrating birds have more power than any corporation over that isle.”
Because Skellig Michael is environmentally protected, and due to the fact that the island is home to historical ruins, as well as the temperamental weather in County Kerry, Ireland, filming at the actual location has been made difficult for Disney/Lucasfilm.
Hopefully, these problems will be worked out, as Rey’s eventual training as a Jedi, with Luke Skywalker, is sure to be a large part of Star Wars: Episode VIII. In fact, the first Jedi Temple may serve as the new home to Luke’s restored Jedi Order…I guess we’ll just have to wait until May, when filming returns, to learn more.