Star Wars set for return visit to the Skelligs... sort of

Fresh details are emerging about the Skelligs and West Kerry's role in 2017's Star Wars Episode VIII

The famous beehive huts on Skellig Michael that are now being recreated at Pinewood Studios

Simon BrouderKerryman

Star Wars is returning to the Skelligs, though in a slightly roundabout way.

Following the première of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Dublin last month the film's producer, Kathleen Kennedy ,caused a stir when she said the Star Wars crew would be returning to the Unesco World Heritage Site to film more scenes for the, as yet untitled, eighth Star Wars movie which is due to hit screens in May 2017.

Speaking to TV reporters on the red carpet Kennedy said "We're going to be near Dingle and Skellig again." This led to some confusion as it was thought the film makers, who shot on the island in July 2014 and September 2015, had concluded filming on the Skelligs.

The crew is returning to Kerry next April but this time they will be filming in West Kerry with the imposing windswept cliffs of Ceann Sibéal near Ballyferriter standing in for Skellig Michael. Skellig and Kerry's role will be much larger in the next film and the west Kerry shoot is expected to last one or two weeks.

The truth behind Kennedy's Skellig comments became clearer this week when it emerged that stonemasons and special effects teams are creating exact replicas of Skellig Michael's monastery and beehive huts at Pinewood Studios, the home of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

The logistics and bureaucratic difficulties surrounding filming on the Skelligs were deemed to much to warrant further extended shoots on the island. Producers decided recreating the site in a studio was a much simpler solution that will also allow the construction of more detailed interior sets than would have been allowed on the island.

Similar steps were taken when making The Force Awakens with locations in Abu Dhabi recreated in Pinewood with the fake sets and real locations almost impossible to tell apart.