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Stars Wars Episode VIII’s marketing drive kicks off with online video

The marketing machine for the latest edition of the main Star Wars series, Episode VIII, is whirring into gear with the launch of an online video.

Episode VII may still be showing in many cinemas across the world but that hasn’t stopped Disney from promoting its sequel. The yet-to-be-named film has just started filming and to promote the news, its creators have unveiled a video that is bound to be pored over by Star Wars fans keen to get a morsel of news on its plot.

The brief video begins with a shot of an island on the planet Ach-to before cutting to a bearded Luke Skywalker, who was absent from much of The Force Awakens, looking solemnly at Rei, who proceeds to hand him his lightsaber. The scene is taken from the end of Episode VII and before fans are given any new footage, it switches abruptly to director Rian Johnson saying "cut, beautiful” of the scene before the Star Wars fanfare kicks in.

It ends with a note letting viewers know that the film is now in production.

While offering no new footage, fans can expect to be teased with photos and videos during the film’s production, much in the same way its predecessor exploited the excitement around its release during production two years ago.

The decision to let fans in on the production of a movie is a tried-and-tested marketing ploy now used by many marketers. It was employed with devastating impact for The Force Awakens; the film was the fastest to gross $1bn (12 days) and had the biggest worldwide opening weekend and single weekend ($529m), among several other records it topped.

Disney confirmed that Episode VIII will feature the return of the last film's stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega alongside Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern, as well as "talented newcomer" Kelly Marie Tran.