With very little warning, Star Wars' social media platforms dropped two awesome tidbits about the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode 8. The more instantly gratifying and visually pleasing of the two was our first look of production beginning at the now infamous island Luke Skywalker met Rey on at the conclusion of Episode 7.
However, the more fascinating piece of news was attached to the video in the form of a casting announcement. Star Wars UK's Twitter account disclosed that Benecio Del Toro was officially added to the cast as well as Laura Dern and an unknown actress named Kelly Marie Tran.
It's going to be so bizarre to see Laura Dern in a Star Wars movie. The actress has always been fantastic in both surrealist movies, such as the work of David Lynch and Paul Thomas Anderson, as well as her appearances in big budget productions such as Jurassic Park. Where she fits into Episode VIII will be speculated about over the coming months.
It seems writer/director Rian Johnson is upping the ante on female characters within the Star Wars Universe. In addition to Dern, we also know Gugu Mbatha-Raw will have in some form of significant role; and now there's Kelly Marie Tran as well.
Tran's credits are very limited, mostly coming from a comedic background of College Humor, Comedy Bang-Bang, and miscellaneous short films. Whether or not her role is of any significance or whether it'll be a bit character should be revealed once the movie gets closer. Given her comedic chops, perhaps she's coming on as some form or broader comedic relief.
Either way, any Star Wars news is good news, and the fact that Rian Johnson wasted no time in hitting the ground running is an encouraging sign of things to come. These types of announcement videos are probably all we're gonna get until an actual teaser trailer drops (probably some time next winter), but it's more than enough for me.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release on 15th December, 2017.