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Star Wars: The Force Awakens naturally attracted a lot of attention during its production, with hundreds of people – fans and eager bloggers alike – attempting to glean information from the film's location shoots, taking photos wherever they could. So, for the sequel, a lot more is being done to keep the film's secrets safe.
Some fans attempted to snap the action with drones, so as Episode 8 begins filming Disney has reportedly taken steps to combat the snoopers. Director Rian Johnson will bring his shoot to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for some exterior shots in early to mid-March, which is where Mos Croatia (via Making Star Wars) reports that Disney and Lucasfilm have hired a team armed with drones to help remove uninvited UAVs.
It has also been reported that some "600 guards" have been employed to secure the set and prevent chancers trawling for whatever details they can ascertain from the shoot. The measures being taken could also be a sign that something important to the plot may take place on that very shoot.
Drones were a problem for JJ Abrams and his Force Awakens team while filming at the closed Greenham Common RAF base in Berkshire, which doubled for the film's Resistance base. However, that location was public property, so there was only so much Disney could do – and indeed some set photos did leak. In Croatia they won't have that problem.
The as-of-yet untitled Episode 8 began principal photography last week, with a short video including a brief look at new footage, and a few casting announcements. The film was set for release in May 2017 but was delayed last month until December 2017, placing it two years after the hugely successful release of The Force Awakens – which recently broke the $2bn mark at the worldwide box office.