Star wars episode VIII will begin filming September 14. Looper director Rian Johnson will be directing the sequel film. Skellig Michael, an island off the Kerry coast in Ireland, is the location of the upsoming shoot. The island setting in the film is believed to be the home of Luke Skywalker. Filming took place on Skellig Michael for a short period of time during the production of Star Wars episode VII, but this time the much longer six week filming planned for episode VIII is causing some environmental concerns.
Environmental group An Taisce in Ireland has voiced concerns about the threat to wildlife on the island. The island is populated by sea birds and is home ruins of a monastery dating back as far as the 6th century. The presence of the production crew could cause disruption and harm the wildlife and ruins.
“It is not sufficiently understood, even among those who depend on tourism locally, that in order to protect Skellig for the future, it can never be regarded as a mass destination” said An Taisce heritage officer Ian Lumley.
The island is a UNESCO Heritage Site which has strict limitations in place to protect the island.
“Heather Humphries, Ireland’s arts minister, confirmed the news amid concerns about how shooting would be handled on the island, according to Irish TV news RTÉ. An ecologist and observers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Monuments Service will monitor filming to protect archaeological sites and wildlife habitats, and the Lucasfilm production has agreed to honor strict guidelines set in place to protect the site.” Anthony Breznican of Entertainment weekly.
Even with the limitations in place, to film this movie or any movie, is it worth the risk of harming the island surroundings? Alternatives like green screen technology exist and were used in Star Wars episodes 1-3 to digitally create the films environments and scenery. Quality and believability may not be quite the same with computer generated scenery, but it comes with less risk of harming wildlife and damaging old ruins.
Star Wars episode VIII is schedules to release in theaters during Spring 2017. Take a look at the attached youtube clip for other Star Wars news from Machinima.