Star Wars: Episode IX Filming Locations, Plus Rey’s Parentage

Now that Lucasfilm‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi has become the highest domestic earner of 2017 and crossed the $1 billion mark globally, it makes sense that J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX filming locations are already being eyed. There’s a twist, however: Scotland’s Daily Record is reporting that a new Star Wars movie will shoot on Scottish locations, including Argyll and in the historic mountain pass known as the Rest and Be Thankful, but the newspaper says the movie that’s filming is the first of Rian Johnson’s recently-announced new Star Wars trilogy.

So what’s the snag? The fact that they mention it’s Johnson’s trilogy has to be false, since they claim shooting in Scotland is earmarked for this coming June. Johnson only just announced he is starting development on his trilogy, which will be disconnected from the Skywalker saga, so there is no chance they will be shooting six months from now. To give you an idea of why this is impossible, Johnson only began work in earnest on The Last Jedi in mid-2014, right around the time J.J. Abrams started shooting The Force Awakens. He turned in his very first rough draft of the script in March of 2015, filmed a two-day pre-shoot at Skellig Michael, Ireland in September 2015, THEN started the proper shoot in February of 2016. So that’s nearly two years of development on The Last Jedi before cameras really began to roll in earnest, meaning we don’t expect Johnson to start shooting the first film in the New Trilogy (NT) until at least 2020. So what Star Wars film could be shooting six months from now? Only one film fits the bill: Episode IX. By June 2018, the spinoff film Solo will already have been released, and director Stephen Daldry’s planned Obi-Wan spinoff isn’t projected to start shooting at England’s Pinewood Studios until January 2019. Add to it that Abrams previously shot live-action plates for The Force Awakens in the Scottish Highlands.

“The fact such a successful and popular worldwide franchise will be filmed in Scotland will excite fans and also provide a welcome boost to the economy,” said Scottish Labour’s culture spokeswoman Claire Baker MSP. “I hope the producers take advantage of the skills people in Scotland have to offer, so as many local people as possible can find work and Scotland’s fantastic creative and digital community can take full advantage.”

Abrams pitched his vision for the final chapter in the Skywalker saga to Disney CEO Bob Iger on December 15. He will direct and is co-writing the script with Chris Terrio (Justice LeagueArgo). Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm. Previously set for a May 24, 2019 release date, the film will now arrive on December 20, 2019. Abrams’ film will be made under the business name of Carbonado Industries (UK) Ltd., with the working title “Black Diamond.”

(SPOILER WARNING FOR THE LAST JEDI) Meanwhile, in a discussion with The Huffington Post about Rey’s parentage reveal in The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson confirmed that the moment was Kylo Ren sensing a weakness in Rey to exploit to bring her over to his side. While some were disappointed to learn that Rey was just a “nobody” — neither a Skywalker nor a Solo nor a Kenobi — Johnson states there’s still time for Abrams to create a new point of view on who those “filthy junk traders” who abandoned her really were.

“Anything’s still open, and I’m not writing the next film. [J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio] are doing it,” Johnson said. “The easy thing would be, ‘Yes, your parents are so and so and here’s your place in the world. There you go.’ The hardest thing she could hear would be […] ‘No, you’re not going to get the answer. This is not going to define you. You’re going to have to find your own place in this world. Kylo is going to use that even as leverage to try and make you feel insecure, and you’re going to have to stand on your own two feet.’” 

However, an interview with Daisy Ridley with Rolling Stone back in November stated that Abrams and Johnson both came up with the same explanation of who Rey’s parents were, so what Kylo is telling her is likely (some form of) the canonical truth. Isn’t that better, though? Isn’t the whole point of The Last Jedi about shifting the saga away from some weird space oligarchy where everyone’s related back to the idea that ANYONE can wield The Force? Argue about it in the comments below!

The characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Episode IX can currently be seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, now playing in theaters globally. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (BrickLooper), the film continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcoming back cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Domhnall Gleeson as Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. New cast members include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro as DJ, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose.