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Star Wars episode VIII evokes concern from conservationists

Conservationists have objected to Disney and Lucasfilm’s return to the remote Irish island of Skellig Michael to shoot scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII.

The Irish national trust, An Taisce, raised concerns over Star Wars impact on local wildlife after objecting to the franchise’s previous visit.

Spokesman Ian Lumley claimed the frequency of helicopter flights to and from the location can disrupt avian behaviour and expressed concerns that flights were scheduled to double for the new shoot.

He claimed Skellig is a very fragile, world heritage site with important archeological features such as dry stone walls.

Irish arts minister Heather Humphreys, however, has confirmed that film crews will return to Skellig for Rian Johnson’s sequel, due in cinemas May 2017.

Humphrey’s said specialist staff from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Monuments Service would be present on set and would have the power to stop filming if necessary.

Meanwhile, the UK release of episode VII has been shifted forward by a day, with the Force Awakens opening on December 17, both in the UK and Australia, a day ahead of the North American unveiling.

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