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Is Star Wars finished with filming at the Skelligs? Here's what we know

We got some answers.
Jan 4th 2016, 4:36 PM 19,943 24

THE SKELLIGS WILL most likely feature in the next Star Wars movie, but filming on them is believed to have finished.

There are rumours, however, that a replica of the Skelligs has been recreated so that the crew will not need to return to the islands, which feature in Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which took in over $1 billion in record time).

These rumours, from a Star Wars fan blog, haven’t been confirmed by anyone involved in the film – and it being Star Wars, it is to be expected that details on the next instalment of the sequel trilogy (to be written and directed by Rian Johnson, though JJ Abrams is still on board as producer) are kept under wraps.

What we do know, however, is that filming of the Skelligs for Episode VIII does appear to have already taken place at the monastic settlement.

TheJournal.ie got in touch with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to ask about the rumours. They said:

The Department understands that the filming carried out on Skellig Michael in September 2015 was for Star Wars Episode 8.
The inclusion of Skellig Michael in Star Wars Episode 7, which is currently in cinemas, will have a significant and lasting impact on the Irish tourism industry.
The Department is not in a position to comment on any potential future film projects, due to the sensitive and confidential nature of such projects.

Back in September, Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed that three days of filming had been completed that month on Skellig Michael.

When contacted about the rumours, Pinewood Studios – said to be the site of the reconstructed Skelligs, and where some of the filming of The Force Awakens took place – said it could not comment on any aspect of Star Wars filming.

Lucasfilm has been contacted for a comment, but has not yet replied.

Skellig Michael renovation work Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

So, the jury is out on whether Lucasfilm will return to the Skelligs, but we will, no doubt, be informed if the crew are set to return.

We don’t know if the Skelligs might be recreated so that new filming can be done, or to re-do footage that was shot at the islands already.

One thing we do know – filming in the UNESCO protected site wasn’t without its issues.

Permission to film at the Skelligs was granted despite objections from environmental groups like An Taisce, and the fact Birdwatch Ireland was very concerned about the safety of the puffins and seabirds that make the island their home.

Did filming cause damage?

A report published by the National Parks and Wildlife service in October of last year found that the filming had no adverse impact on seabirds or their habitats.

It did highlight two ‘minor incidents’, where a crew member snagged a jacket sleeve on the entranceway to the Upper Monks’ Garden, and a small amount of diluted water-based paint was spilled on rocks adjacent to the Wailing Woman.

The hope is that the featuring of the Skelligs in The Force Awakens will act as a boon to the Irish tourism industry.

We already found out today that director JJ Abrams and team sure did love their time there.

Read: Tourism Ireland hopes this video will send Star Wars fans flocking to Skellig Michael>

Read: Skellig Michael’s obscurity is about to end ‘in a blaze of silver-screen glory’>

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Aoife Barry

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