NEW YORK -- "Star Wars: Episode VIII" has begun filming and has added Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern to its cast.
The Walt Disney Co. released a video Monday announcing that "Episode VIII" started principal photography at London's Pinewood Studios.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, the "Star Wars" sequel will follow J.J. Abrams' box-office smash "The Force Awakens." It's set for release in December 2017.
Joining returning cast members are the Oscar-winning del Toro, the Oscar-nominated Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
The production start announcement was accompanied by a brief video that showed shooting picking up right where "The Force Awakens" left off, with Johnson directing Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) on a remote island off the coast of Ireland.
(Disney is the parent company of 6abc)