With the words “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode eight,” director Rian Johnson began principal photography Monday on the next installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.

StarWars.com, the official website, posted a 34-second trailer declaring that “Star Wars: Episode VIII” is “now in production.”

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An accompanying announcement said the film, being shot at Pinewood Studios in London, “continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and brings back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.

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New cast members include Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

The follow-up to the highest-grossing film released domestically is scheduled for release Dec. 15, 2017.