Star Wars: The Force Awakens hasn't even been in theaters a full 24 hours yet, yet fans are already buzzing about the next installment in the Lucasfilm franchise. Star Wars Episode VIII does not yet have a title, but the movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on May 26, 2017. Certain characters, like John Boyega's Finn, Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron and Daisy Ridley's Rey, will undoubtedly be back for the next go-round. As for the rest, well, for now, mum's the word. Without sharing any spoilers, E! News has rounded up everything we know about the next film.
1. J.J. Abrams will not co-write or direct the movie.
Though he will remain a producer, Abrams is passing the torch to Rian Johnson, who helmed 2012's Looper. Johnson is both writing and directing Episode VIII. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is producing the movie with Johnson's producing partner, Ram Bergman, plus Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.
2. The script is complete.
Ridley confirmed in a Dec. 17 Q&A with Variety that she knows what's in store. "It's very good; very good," she said. "Let's see VII first and then we'll talk about VIII."
3. Script rewrites are inevitable, however.
"The script for VIII is written. I'm sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what [Kasdan] and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going," Abrams told Wired in November. "We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we've been as transparent as possible." Abrams added that Johnson "has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well...He's going to do it in the way he sees fit. He's neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process."
4. Filming has already begun.
In September, reports surfaced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be doing reshoots in Ireland. However, Lucasfilm later confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that they were shooting scenes for Episode VIII. Production resumes in January.
5. The cast is getting bigger.
In July, reports surfaced claiming that Benicio Del Toro was being eyed for an unspecified role. Two months later, he confirmed his casting in an interview with Spanish radio station RAC1. "Star Wars is coming up. We'll see how that turns out," he said. "I think we start shooting in March." Asked to describe his character, he said, "They don't let me talk too much about it. I'm like the villain, but we'll see."
6. Captain Phasma's role will be expanded.
"She's an important character," Kennedy told The Los Angeles Times on Dec. 4 of Gwendoline Christie's role, calling her "a baddie in the best sense of the word."
7. The movie is getting the 3D treatment.
Deluxe's Stereo D confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter Dec. 14 that it has a deal to create a stereoscopic edition of Episode VIII, just as it did with The Force Awakens.
8. Each new installment will be different than the last.
"Rian Johnson is a friend of mine—he's going to make some weird thing. If you've seen Rian's work, you know it's not going be like anything that's ever been in Star Wars. You couldn't have three more different people than J.J., Rian and [Star Wars Episode IX director] Colin [Trevorrow]," screenwriter Kasdan revealed in a Dec. 3 Q&A with The Los Angeles Times. Though they build upon the foundation George Lucas laid in 1977, of course. But, he added, "Everything else will be different."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in theaters now.