POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW!
We have had pretty good connections to Skellig Michael since Star Wars: The Force Awakens filmed there. Last year we had friends giving us photographs every day of the shoot and we were able to keep a close eye on the shoot from afar thanks to friends in the area helping us out.
I saw conceptual art for the location and it was not unlike what Skellig looks like. The production itself referred to location as “Magic Mountain.” Most of the locations and spaceships had amusement park monikers given to them. “Magic Mountain” is a Six Flags theme park outside of Los Angeles (it’s pretty fun, too). Interestingly, our friend David Green toured the location and the place is being called “The Jedi Monastery” by people in the area. That makes sense considering that is where we hear Luke is in exile, hiding, meditation, or whatever took him out of the action in the galaxy.
A persistent rumor we have heard and a lot recently is that they are returning to Skellig Michael to film for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Initially during the production of The Force Awakens they wanted to return to the location to shoot some coverage for VIII which was prevented by bad weather. Once Rian Johnson came on board for VIII and the story developed it was required they shoot there again and this time, bad weather was preferred. Shooting at Skellig Michael for Star Wars: Episode VIII appears to be slated for this October. Interestingly, the place is going to look a lot different because of the weather at that time. For The Force Awakens they tried to get as clear a day as possible for the shoot because it is the happy and optimistic ending of the film. That might not be the case for Star Wars: Episode VIII, which could be a dark film if it follows the Original Trilogy form somewhat.
For Star Wars: Episode VII about 60 people were involved in the shoot but the location is bracing for a larger return for Star Wars: Episode VIII. For the The Force Awakens it was about getting a perfect shot, right weather, and setting the tone for the ending of the film. It appears as if they are actually going to film scenes there for VIII and the time frame we keep hearing is longer than it was for VII.
All of this makes me think Star Wars: Episode VIII might pick up right where VII stopped, at least for Rey. The rumor is that with Rey bringing the lightsaber to Luke Skywalker, that is where the new Jedi Order will be begin anew: in a secret location, where it cannot be harmed again (probably just consisting of Luke Skywalker and Rey).
Thanks again David Green for helping corroborate the location specifics for Skellig Michael.