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Disney CEO Bob Iger announced today that the sequel to their mega-hit The Force Awakens has officially began shooting.

“There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products,” said Iger. “Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.”

Looper and Brick director Rian Johnson is taking over the helm of the next entry into the Star Wars saga, replacing Episode VII director J.J. Abrams. Abrams is staying on to produce the film, while Johnson will be writing the script for it, as well as directing.

Originally shooting for the film was scheduled to begin in January of this year, however once news broke that the release date for Episode VIII had been pushed back from May to December of 2017, it was announced that Johnson was retooling the script due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the three new main characters Rey, Finn, and Poe. Shooting was pushed back a few weeks to compensate for these minor rewrites.

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