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Monday, March 14, 2016

What's Happening on the 'Episode VIII' Dubrovnik Set?

Over the past few weeks, sets for Star Wars: Episode VIII have been built in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in preparation for filming which is scheduled to take place March 9th-16th. Security guards and even anti-drone drones are on duty to prevent news outlets from snapping pictures, but when you're working on open streets in broad daylight, there's tons of opportunity for leaks. Let's take a look at some of the images from the set and see what we can discern from them: 
These neon lights and controlled panels were the first big signs that something special is happening in Dubrovnik. The city's architecture is most reminiscent of Naboo than any other place in the Star Wars universe, but if Episode VIII is like The Force Awakens, it'll stray away from the planets of the Prequels. Regardless, if there's anything that the set photos tell us for sure, it's that this will be a pretty fancy place in the film...though that doesn't mean our beloved heroes won't find trouble. 
Here's some of the extras dressed like they're going to the opera, complete with suits, dresses, and scary alien masks. Even if this isn't Naboo, the textures and designs of this city are more similar to the glossy, clean tones of the Prequels (Coruscant, Kamino) than the rough, unforgiving terrains of the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens (Tatooine, Hoth, Jakku). Rumor has it that in the context of the film, our heroes visit this planet to inform Lando Calrissian of his old friend Han Solo's death. 
A video posted by Ana Baban (@ana_baban) on
This video isn't very clear, but you can see an unknown figure being thrown through the air. This indicates that they got hit by a small explosion, or (more excitingly) a Force push. The latter would confirm that Luke, Rey, and/or Kylo Ren are present in this city. Daisy Ridley stated that she wouldn't be filming in Dubrovnik, but it appears that her stunt double will be there to shoot some action scenes and Ridley will film the close-ups in identical sets at Pinewood Studios. 
Here's that aforementioned trouble. A speeder chase will reportedly occur (these images certainly support that), including a crash that's bound to ruffle some petticoats. Participants could easily include Rey, who's been shown to be a skilled pilot and even had a deleted snowspeeder chase sequence in The Force Awakens. (Though it would be great to see old Luke getting behind the wheel and showing these youngsters how it's done.)  
There's no doubt that one of the figures riding on the back of this beast is John Boyega (or rather, his stand-in since the actor himself was doing charity in London this week), but what about the other woman? The obvious answer is Ridley's stunt double, but Making Star Wars reports that it's actually Kelly Marie Tran. Her character could be introduced as a guide of sorts who takes Finn through the city on this domesticated animal.

What are your thoughts and theories about these photos? Where do you want Episode VIII to film next? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @sithobserver, and may the Force be with you. 

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