Rumor: Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Star Wars: Episode VIII. Filming Starts in August?

donnie-yenGreat news for martial arts fans around the world! Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen has reportedly joined the cast of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. Filming is expected to start next month…



This report comes from the Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily, so I am really not sure how to treat the other part of their story, which could be considered a major spoiler. So If you’re trying to stay away from The Force Awakens spoilers please stop reading now.



Report by


Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is to star in Episode VIII of the Stars Wars franchise, said a report. According to Apple Daily, Yen is expected to be in London early next month to start work on it.


He will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo and becomes his ally, said Apple.


It said Yen won the role over eight other actors including Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wang Lee Hom, Chang Chen, Daniel Wu and Stephen Chow. He and Li were favoured because of their fighting skills and proficiency in English, but Disney eventually gave the role to Yen, who commands US$4 million (S$5.4 million) per movie, and not Li whose fee is US$10 million.


Apple said Yen, 51, was confirmed for the role about a month ago but is under an agreement not to leak the news.


Donnie Yen is most famous for his appearance in the biographical martial arts movie Ip Man, about a Chinese martial artist, who had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee.


It’s nice to see that the production continues to look for athletic artists with skills in the martial arts. Back in January a trio of Indonesian actors (who are also trained martial artists) have been cast in The Force Awakens. And with the addition of a few parkour artists and Daisy Ridley’s athletic stunt doubles the Sequel Trilogy promises to be a memorable spectacle.



Not real image. Edited by starwars7news.







Now it’s not clear if the tabloid speculates on the part that Yen will play a Jedi and that Han Solo will be back in Episode VIII. As you know there are many rumors and reports that Han Solo will meet his end in The Force Awakens. So if this turns out to be true, it will be a big game changer. But for now take this part of the story with a huge boulder of salt.


Also starting of principle photography next month seems a bit early for this project (scheduled for 26 May, 2017 release), considering that Rogue One (scheduled for 16 December, 2016 release), hasn’t still started the process (at least not officially). If you remember back in September 2014, Johnson revealed that they won’t start shooting Episode VIII for a while, “it’s not like for another year or so”. But then again in March 2015 the release date of Episode VIII was moved earlier with 7 months, so an earlier start of principle photography is quite possible.



It’s also worth mentioning that the more reputable site Twitch posted the following after the report by Apple Daily:


While the Apple Daily has a reputation for sensationalising rumours like the best tabloid publications, we had heard rumblings that Gareth Edwards and his crew were circling a number of Chinese actors for a part in his standalone film Rogue One, which just started shooting last week.



Is it possible that Apple Daily mixed up the two projects? Probably not, since the appearance of Han Solo in Rogue One is highly unlikely for multiple reasons. It would make sense if they speculated on the Han Solo part.


So as you can see things are a bit confusing, so again treat this story with the usual dosage of salt.


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Val Trichkov (Viral Hide)

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

81 thoughts on “Rumor: Donnie Yen Joins the Cast of Star Wars: Episode VIII. Filming Starts in August?

  • July 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Untrue. My sisters boyfriends fathers mothers cousins fathers uncle saw a rough cut of episode 8 (he has a time machine) and he says that Yen plays Lobots son.

    • July 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      You sir, have won the Internet today.

    • July 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Well my roommate’s dog walker’s pet hamster is actually — ah fuck it

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Good, but you should have gone with “my father brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.”

      • July 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm

        “What does that make us?”
        “Absolutely nothing ” lol

        • July 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm

          Space Balls 3: the Search for Space Balls 2

          • July 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm

            I want a new Space Balls!!!

          • July 7, 2015 at 6:00 am

            Unfortunately, Moranis has no interest in acting, and there can’t be a SB flick without Lord Helmet. On the bright side, he showed some interest in it a few years ago, but I doubt it will ever happen.

  • July 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I’m a HUGE fan of Donnie Yen, and whilst I’d certainly love to see him in a STAR WARS movie, this story sounds like complete garbage.

    • July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      I hope me trying to cover all aspects of the story is not the reason for that. 🙂

      • July 6, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        Makes more sense to cast him for R1, E8 is not that close to filming

      • July 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        To clarify, I meant the original source story must be garbage, and not SW7NEWS’ reportage of that story 🙂

        • July 6, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          I never thought I’d see the day when we’d get more concrete confirmation about Episode VIII filming BEFORE Rogue One.

  • July 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I’m martial artist my whole life, love Bruce Lee and martial arts movies, but I’ m not sure here…..Star Wars isn’t medieval China. Wushu and kung fu don’ t belong there. They cast martial artists, I hope we will not see classic kung fu styles, or anything like that in the Star Wars Universe.

    • July 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Ray Park is a Martial Artist, did alright with what he was given as Darts Maul!

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      I don’t want wire-fu in a Star Wars movie, but I don’t have any problem with Darth Maul.

    • July 7, 2015 at 12:17 am

      Ray Park was a Wushu martial artist and he used parts of it in Ep. 1. If you watch his Celebration 2015 panel he talks about all of that stuff.

    • July 7, 2015 at 4:18 am

      The Jedi are essentially Shaolin monks. Casting a Kung Fu movie star is actually a good thing. People shouldn’t worry about it becoming a Kung Fu movie or anything. Regardless, Donnie Yen is a cool guy.

  • July 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Chinese Jedi? Just call it human Jedi then, please, it’s the Star Wars universe…

  • July 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    There are parts of this I don’t mind. First, If you look at the leaked concept art with Ray holding the lightsaber and what we presume is an early art for Kylo Ren, Han in the background behind Kylo on his knees, is not dead. Still am not convinced he dies. Would not be shocked, but also would not be shocked if Han is captured at the end of 7. The first order is trying to force Luke out of hiding to confront them. Capture Han, or Leia I suppose has always worked in the past to draw Luke out, so why not play that card again. Killing Han requires them to expect Luke to seek “revenge” revenge is not a Jedi trait, not a smart play. This also allows JJ to use elements of past story lines and give twists to them. He did this really well in Star Trek.

    • July 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm


      Wait, Han surviving to Ep VIII is still considered a spoiler?
      That clears things up, I for the life of me could discern no spoiler in that.
      But again, Han dying in Ep Vii?
      the dude has contracts for the whole trilogy, he HAS to be in three films, unless Han gets some serious Qui-Gon face-time I don’t see him dying anytime soon.

    • July 6, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      That’s not Han in the concept art, that’s Finn. Also it’s fucking concept art. What part of it’s concept art and none of it gives a fucking single clue of the plot details do you people not comprehend?

      Holy fuck it’s like you don’t know what concept art means.

  • July 6, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    We haven’t seen EVII yet and news and rumors from EVIII are already here.
    Next years will be insane 😉

  • July 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Filming in August ALREADY?? Ok, now I’m a little concerned…

    • July 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Curious as to why you would be concerned that they are starting to film Ep. VIII in August (if this rumor is indeed true)? Or did you mean Rogue One?

      • July 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        There should be no concern. Given that it took Lucas three years to make a star wars. JJ will apparently do it in less, but given the timeline for VII I am not surprised they might start some shooting in August, who knows what that is though.

        • July 6, 2015 at 6:25 pm

          I think it would behoove Disney/Lucasfilm to test the water first, establish the first film BEFORE fully committing the next into film.

          “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” comes to mind.
          Just before the original Star Wars [ANH] was released, Lucas started working on a low-budget, straight to video plotline for a Star Wars followup, featuring Luke and Vader doing cat-and-mouse over some crystal or whatever, the point is, the script was for a low-budget movie, e.i, in case ANH was a bomb.

          ANH WAS NOT a Bomb, and so the original low-budget script was released as the first EU Novel “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye”, and Lucas and Kasdan shifted gear to take on the big-budget Empire Strikes’ storyline we all love.

          The Sequel adapted to suit the demand for the Original,

          I feel Disney is putting a lot of eggs in the same basket, but this basket is not proven yet, so I’m worried.

          However, it’s Disney, with Lucasfilm, IT HAS TO BE A SMASH HIT. It’s in the Geneva Convention.

          • July 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm

            I understand the concern and you make a very valid point, but when Disney committed to a timeline that required people to make a star wars film a full year shorter than one had ever been made before they put themselves in this situation. They are and have been headlong into preproduction on VIII for quite a while. With the timelines they are pushing they have no choice. Things we will never see, like animations for space battles are probably already being worked on. Also, Because of JJ’s involvement and the timeline I see fewer space battles in general. All shots of all ships in the trailers have been terrestrial. I do not think this is by accident. Space battles require animation, which requires a lot of time. So I would imagine the animations for VIII are probably already being worked on.

          • July 7, 2015 at 3:33 am

            I’m not arguing that, my point is they’re showing a lot of arrogance filming 3 movies at once.
            It gives off the impression that the audience doesn’t matter.

            Sure, Lord of the Rings did the same thing, but arguably LOTR was one Book to begin with, and with the remote location and same actors throughout entire trilogy, they basically HAD to film it all at once.
            With LOTR’s story construction, it really is one movie in 3 parts.

            Star Wars is not ONE movie, each episode is it’s own freestanding film, with significant time-jumps and changes in scene.

            Filming everything at once is NOT a requirement here, it’s greedy.

            I just feel Disney’s being a little presumptuous.

            But again, of course they are, it’s gonna be a HIT. No matter what.

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      VIII is less than 2 years away. Why is it a concern that filming could be starting soon? I think they would be foolish not to start this summer.

  • July 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Hey guys, we’re getting 3 Star Wars movies in less than 2 years time!!! How cool is that? 🙂

    • July 6, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      I can see Rogue One starting principal photography on Aug.3rd and not VIII.

      • July 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm


  • July 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Please NO martial arts in Star Wars. It’s fine in martial arts movies but so many Hollywood films are ruined by high octane fight scenes where it always turns out that EVERYONE is an accomplished in those techniques. If I want to see a fight in an action movie, I’d rather it was a good old dust up like the old Die Hard/Bond movies. It’s just too much, too repetitive and becomes just too boring to watch after the zillionth time. So I’d prefer it if it was kept out of Star Wars – the lightsabre duels in the PT also proved this to me; gone was the pathos of the OT duels.

    • July 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      The PT was during the times of the Republic where the Jedi Order was in full bloom, so it was a given to see many lightsaber duels; the OT represents the dark times where the majority of the Jedis were no longer in existence hence why lightsaber duels were few (it also was meant to be Luke’s story mostly).

    • July 7, 2015 at 4:21 am

      They are fighting monks. They would have their own martial arts. They would certainly learn how to fight without weapons.

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    I read this (unfortunately) on a China news site which didn’t bother to warn about spoilers.

    So, warning to people that don’t want to be spoiled. Don’t read my next sentences.

    I don’t think they know if he’s going to be a Jedi. They’re just goofing around. But the thing about Harrison Ford pissed me off (reading about it, I mean). I guess I’m happy Han doesn’t die but I really didn’t want to know about it.

    • July 6, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      There’s no spoilers here. Quit fucking dumbing down our language.

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Ok, what totally throws it for me is “plays a Chinese Jedi”. So does that mean Mace Windu was an African Jedi? I didn’t know China was a planet in the Star Wars galaxy. I would say this story is BS, save for the part about the guy having a role in the movie.

    • July 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      The same issue was brought up by a thumb-version of an Imperial Officer in Steve Oedekerk’s “Thumb Wars” [yes, it is a thing, this movie exists, and it is something that can not be un-seen]
      anyways, the officer brings up the question:
      “Why do we all have outrageous British accents… when we’re all out in space where there’s no britain??”

    • July 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

      @Trainmastet J

      Use your brain. It’s just an easy way to identify a character to fans, like a female or Latino Jedi.

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Sounds pretty cool – but could someone please cast Zhang Ziyi in a SW movie – imagine how awesome she would be as a Jedi or Sith.

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    a 50 year old Jedi in EP VIII…assuming Luke is the sole remaining Jedi at the end of ROTJ could mean 1 of three things.

    1- Luke wasnt the only one and there were Jedi still in hiding
    2- Luke trained forced sensitive adults
    3- Huge timeline gap between 7 and 8.

    • July 6, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      He could be in make up of cg or something?

    • July 6, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      I’m thinking a mix of 2 and 3. It won’t be such a huge gap since I’m pretty sure they will want to keep our heroes alive and out of the yoda-years. If this rumor is true I’d guess luke will train young adults and the will be a longer gap between films. Maybe by episode 9 we will have Luke as a force ghost being the last “OT” character around.

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Why is everyone having delusions of grandeur?
    I don’t mind a Chinese guy as a jedi. I don’t mind whether or not Han Solo dies. I think a Japanese guy would’ve been better becuz everything about the The Force is stolen from the Japanese culture.

    • July 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Jedi are Japanese, [Edo-JEDI period!]
      the Force is Chinese “Chi”, I don’t know the religion’s name, but it’s one of the Chinese religions,

      the Jedi are 100% Japanese badass though,

      • July 8, 2015 at 6:06 am

        Splitting hairs here, but Jedi came from the Jidaigeki genre, not the Edo Jidai itself.

        Also, Toshiro Mifune was the first choice to play Obi-Wan Kenobi (clearly another Japanese influence).

    • July 7, 2015 at 4:23 am

      And much of Japanese culture was derived from Chinese culture. A Jedi is closer to a Shaolin monk as opposed to a Samurai.

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    A Chinese Jedi?! Cool! Well, hopefully the Chinese Jedi will join forces with the Black Jedi and White Jedi to go on a search for the lost Mexican Jedi. Then afterwards, they can all get together for some really good death sticks at the Salvadorian Cantina!

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Makes sense if he was cast because contrary to belief EP 7 does have the mideval thing going.on

    So I’d imagine so will the rest of the trilogy.

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Great in IP Man,probably won’t hurt the box office in China either.

    • July 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      That’s probably their true incentive.

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    If Han dies in EpVII, than this rumor is BS

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    iron monkey is one of my faves

  • July 6, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I hope he doesn’t have a sex change and dye his skin before shooting, just to be trendy with the media/government.

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      the article has been removed!

      • July 6, 2015 at 7:51 pm

        I wish Anon 18:56’s comment could get deleted.

  • July 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Are they making a Star Wars film or a kung fu
    hustle type film? ( With all these martial arts actors ) or is it – Hidden Skywalker, crouching Sith Lord. (JK) XD

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Well that was fast with the deletion.

      Anyone print that spoiler?

      Whenever something gets deleted quickly I always think it was a real spoiler.

      • July 6, 2015 at 7:45 pm

        My buddy who works for MPAA ratings saw the new star wars trailer that’s going to be shown at SDCC this friday. On what he described to me on how the trailer went, it’s going to be a blast. He may have been fooling with me to avoid getting in trouble but he saw it. So take this with a handful of salt. He jolted down a basic summery from beginning to end. Here we go.
        running time 2:28
        Lucasfilm fanfare fades , fades out
        Marching sound effects during black
        fades in to stromtroopers marching on a snow planet, the same planet from teaser 2
        Than cuts to Domhnall Gleeson’s character on snow plant next to Captain Phasma Saying “Set target coordinates, the Resistance are no match for our new weapon” cut to black
        A pub table with Rey, Finn, Han and Maz holding hands in a circle format
        Dialog “This is why the weapon came to you” While the talk over it shows Leia giving Anakin’s saber to Finn
        Cuts to Rey running through a forest
        Kylo slaughtering people on Jakku but it looks like a tuskin raider village
        X-wings and Tie fighter fighting above snow planet, looks very Hoth
        BB-8 beeping than pans up to 3po saying “Now you hush”
        Leia in a rebels meeting similar to Ep4 breif meeting “The First Order have no idea on what they’re in stored for”
        Poe running to a black xwing in a rebel base (Yavin 4)
        Chewbacca roaring violently and shooting his bowcaster
        quick shots of various scenes than cuts to black
        black for a few seconds than fades to Kylo walking up to Finn and Rey on the snow planet with the falcon hovering – night time-
        Han’s voice “You can do it kid, I believe in you”
        fades out to the title-card of the movie with the December release month with the force theme, but it sound emotional , it’s different
        cuts to Finn. Rey, Han and chewie making like war cry sounds, seems they are crashing the falcon on again, the snow planet.
        Now since you’ve read, my personal opinion is that it may be fake or legit but it sounds exciting. Weird that there is still no sign of Luke Skywalker even though he was in the second teaser.

  • July 6, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Disney abolished Lucas treatment, story for 8 is under development by RJohnson. Filmimg in August is completely BS. Aside from Ray and Luke , we are not knowing which character in 7 coming back to 8. Character created by JJ may be discarded by Johnson

    • July 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      JJ is producer on VIII

  • July 6, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Rofl people complaining about spoilers here, this is an unsubstantiated rumor and it’s probably untrue and was posted to generate hits which you are helping them achieve by reposting.

    • July 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      STFU OP

  • July 6, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Just because he is proficient in martial arts didn’t mean they are making him a Kung fu Jedi. Ray parks was awesome as darth maul so I’m sure this will be in the same vein. He will be doing flips and Jedi-like stunts but I don’t think he will be doing any sterotyical martial arts moves or pull out a light-nunchuck or silly things like that. David prowse was a weightlifter and bodybuilder but we never saw Darth Vader pumping iron lol 😛

  • July 7, 2015 at 4:56 am

    I feel like it’s fairly obvious that he’s been cast in “Rogue One”, not “Episode VIII”.

    The term “Chinese Jedi” makes it fairly obvious they are just making details up. “He’s Chinese and is good with swords so he must be playing a ‘Chinese Jedi’ and he will probably interact with main characters and one of them is named Han Solo….”

  • July 7, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I would be very surprised if they killed Han. Like, resurrect Chewie from his death in the novels, but then kill Han? – Nah.

    I think, the movies are going to be fairly vanilla, especially the first one. They want to bring a brand back to the mainstream, all the while introducing a new continuity. To overload the movie with all aspects of the new continuity, AND to kill off one of the franchise’s biggest brand heralds seems implausible for a modern 21st century marketing ploy.

    …That said, last time I thought we’d get a SW story that literarily would write itself, we got midichlorians, and a toddler driving in Ben-Hur-style death races. -_-

  • July 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Should be interesting, Donnie yen is one of my favourite actors and despite the fact I would never of thought of putting him in star wars it does make sense. He has a mature grey jedi look to him (he’s good at doing serious or witty characters) and he’s really fricking fast lol. Seeing as he can use a wide array of weapons I wonder if they’ll give him something different? Perhaps another double bladed light sabre user or some kind of staff?

  • July 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Great actor, but martial arts have no place in star wars – it’s a cash-in – it’s just another silly movie trend (see powerful women & ethic minority lead roles etc)…. assuming he is going to do his martial arts.

Comments are closed.