Drones have already transformed the discussion around privacy, property rights, and where civilian rights to fly the diminutive craft begin and end. It seems they also cause no end of headaches for filmmakers who want to keep the details of their movies secret until they hit theaters. This was already problematic during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it seems the team ramping up for Episode Eight anticipates even larger problems next time out.
Parts of the next Star Wars film will be shot in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is an ancient city — recent research indicates it may have been settled by Ancient Greeks who needed sources of fresh water and a beach when they stopped for the night. (Dubrovnik offers both features and sits 95 nautical miles between two ancient Greek settlements, neatly fitting the theory). It sits on the Adriatic Sea, and shots of the area look as though it could be used as a stand-in for the islands and oceans glimpsed in the last few minutes of Episode VII.
According to MosCroatia, which broke the news:
In addition to considering Dubrovnik, there is a special team with drones that will remove the uninvited drones that no recording would not be made public so that even those air. We do not know whether they have a Star Wars X drones wing tags or something like that, but it would be cool.
Indeed. Could Episode VIII director Rian Johnson be planning to film drone-on-drone combat between intrepid attacking Resistance forces and his own First Order? The current series of Star Wars films chose to emphasize real-world locations and practical sets as opposed to Lucas’ reliance on CGI, but real-world miniature battles would be an interesting way to remind viewers of the miniature battles they watched in the original trilogy.
Joking aside, and assuming this report is real, I’m not sure how this could be implemented safely. Any method of removing drones from a given area is also going to end with said drones falling out of the sky, possibly harming those below. Aggressive foot patrols and old-fashioned border zones is probably the easiest way to keep people out of the area, which may be why MosCroatia reports Episode VIII will field 600 guards to keep the set free from interference.
Hopefully issues like this don’t become so common as to force directors to use CGI simply to avoid being buzzed and harrassed by aircraft. It’s not hard to imagine how drone buzzing could ruin film takes or pose a danger to actors, particularly in the hands of pilots who are focused more on trying to get a killer photo or video than on basic safety.