Well, we didn’t see this one coming so soon.
UPDATED: According to Entertainment Weekly, they’re actually shooting sequences from Episode VIII.
Back in June, you may remember that the Star Wars production was aiming to return to the island of Skellig Michael in Ireland. However, we weren’t entirely sure what circumstances were involved in the return. Where they starting production on Episode VIII? Were they filming scenes for Rogue One?
Well, now it seems we know. According to RTE News, the UNESCO has granted permission for “further filming” for The Force Awakens production team.
So, this location won’t be in the other movies?
Well, it may. But for the purposes of this shoot it seems they’re obtaining additional shots for The Force Awakens.
Why would they need to do that?
Skellig Michael is an environmental and cultural treasure, so it makes sense that any filming in the location would be heavily scrutinized. Apparently, the organizations overseeing the area thought it was a very sensitive location and the bird population my suffer adverse effects from a big operation involving a film crew.
As a result, we’re willing to bet the shooting at Skellig Michael was one of the trickiest parts of the shoot. If you recall, it was actually one of the first things they shot along with all the stuff in Abu Dubai (Jakku). Typically, you want to get all the hard location shooting out of the way first and move on to all the easily controlled sets for the remainder of a shoot. That way, if there are any troubles you have time to rectify them.
We’re willing to bet The Force Awakens crew had to be very careful during their shoot, which meant less time actually filming. It stands to reason they couldn’t quite get all the shots they wanted in the initial shoot. Now that they’re editing, they know exactly where the holes in the cut are. Perhaps they need another establishing shot or a medium shot of a character moving in a scene. Point, they now have a specific list.
Fortunately, all the permits seem to be worked out. Therefore The Force Awakens production team will get the shots they need. So, we’re willing to bet it’s nothing major. It’s just a very good example of the logistical problems that can pop up when shooting in a sensitive location.
Let’s be honest, this is really nothing but great news for the area. The Lars Farm set in Tunisia has been a hot spot for tourism, helping employ many new local businesses. We expect now Skellig Michael will get even more tourism once The Force Awakens is released.
What were they shooting there?
We’re not entirely sure. Rumor is it involved Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley. Perhaps this is the location Luke has been hiding all this time?