Star Wars Episode VIII returns to new locations in Ireland
Luke Skywalker is expected in County Cork and County Kerry in southern Ireland as latest sequel goes before the camera.
Shooting of the next film in the Star Wars saga is to move far, far away to rural Ireland, it has been confirmed.
Lucasfilm has been granted permission for 12 weeks of set-building and filming in County Cork, prompting hopes of a further tourism boom in the area after a remote Irish island, Skellig Michael, appeared in December’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
The locations for Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson, will include private land on Brow Head, the most southerly point on the Irish mainland.
Skellig Michael, off the coast of County Kerry, featured in the final scene of the most recent movie.
Fans hope the next instalment will explain links between Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the Jedi Knight protagonist of the original 1970s and 1980s trilogy, and the new character Rey, played by young British actor Daisy Ridley.
Brow Head features numerous derelict buildings inluding a chain of signal towers built during British rule in 1804 to give warning of a French invasion during the Napoleonic wars.
The towers’ architecture has qualities which Star Wars aficionados may well consider sits within the style of the Star Wars universe.
Ireland’s Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said filming would be allowed from 8am to 8pm.
In May, the Star Wars crew will also film in County Cork on the mainland which looks out to Skellig Michael, where there have been concerns surrounding the production’s effect on the island’s fragile environment.
At private land on Cork’s Sybil Head Lucasfilm will be permitted to use a 200-strong crew over five days, and also has permission to use a helicopter for shooting from a minimum of 300 feet.
Limited filming has already taken place on Skellig Michael.
The use of multiple locations in Ireland also gives fans a hint that the sequence – set on the fantasy world of Ahch-To – will form a significant element of the next episode.
Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: “My department has been working with Disney Lucasfilm over recent months in a bid to accommodate the return of Star Wars to Ireland.
“Disney Lucasfilm have developed a strong affinity for Ireland, and I am delighted to see them return to Ireland for further filming around our beautiful and dramatic coastline.
“We have already seen how the most recent Star Wars film has brought Sceilg Mhichíl and southwest Kerry to a global audience.
“Now, further locations around the Irish Coast will experience similar exposure, providing untold benefits to the tourism and film sectors.
“Ireland is fast becoming a film location of international standing. It is important now that we continue to build on this reputation by supporting our indigenous industry and promoting Ireland as a world class production location.”