The writer and director is Rian Johnson. He previously made Looper, The Brothers Bloom and Brick, and was also behind the camera for three episodes of Breaking Bad (Fly, Fifty-One and Ozymandias). "[He’s going to] bring a cool, sci-fi realism, if I may say that," Benicio del Toro explained of Johnson’s aesthetic last year. "I just like talking to him about the film. He’s one of those new talented people that Star Wars is hiring to infuse the franchise with new steroids."
Daisy Ridley is Rey. It's reasonable to guess that her arc this time will involve Jedi training with Luke, although whether he actually wants a Padawan is unclear. We also don't know who Rey's parents are yet, so that could be a thing.
John Boyega is Finn. As with Rey, we don't yet know anything about this ex-Stormtrooper's past.
Adam Driver is Kylo Ren. The erstwhile Ben Solo is dedicated to the extinction of the Jedi, so his search for his former master Luke will presumably be continuing. And now there's likely trainee Jedi Rey too.
Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron. The expert X-Wing pilot will presumably be a part of any big scraps against The First Order. Following his apparent death and late re-appearance in The Force Awakens, some have suggested the Poe we see towards the end of the film is actually a clone of the one from the beginning. We'll see.
Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker. The rumour mill suggests that he'll have a big part to play in Episode VIII but that we may not see him again subsequently.
Gwendoline Christie is Captain Phasma. Did she escape the trash compactor? Looks that way.
Domhnall Gleeson is General Hux.
Carrie Fisher is General Leia: sister of Luke, mother of Kylo Ren, leader of the Rebellion against The First Order, of which her son is a big part. Awkward.
Andy Serkis is Supreme Leader Snoke. We've only seen him in hologram form so far. There may be more of him this time, but we'd bet that's actually coming in Episode IX, in the way we didn't really see The Emperor until Return Of the Jedi.
Lupita Nyong'o is Maz Kanata. We've yet to learn the circumstances of her coming into posession of that lightsaber...
Anthony Daniels is C-3PO. BB-8 and R2-D2 are also back.
Peter Mayhew is Chewbacca. Lately bereft of his best friend, will he become Rey's sidekick instead?
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is, we think, a new, major female character. This is assuming she's playing the role that Tatiana Maslany, Olivia Cooke and Gina Rodriguez were all also in line for. The latter three of those actresses all went for "chemistry reads" with John Boyega, for a role weirdly described by some sources as the "female lead" - which you'd think would be Ridley.
Benicio Del Toro has been confirmed as part of the cast, and appears to be on the dark side of The Force. "I'm like the villain," he has said.
Laura Dern's casting was announced in February, 2016. We know nothing official about her character at all yet, but the rumour mill is suggesting she's a high-ranking part of the Rebellion, and a political rival of Leia's.
Kelly Marie Tran is an as-yet not-much-known actress with a background in comedy bit-parts. Does that mean she's playing a comedic character? Nobody outside the production knows.
Adrian Edmondson's casting was announced by The Sun in April, although there's been little to back the story up so far. If it's true, the Young Ones/Bottom/War & Peace star will be playing... a top secret character that hasn't been revealed yet.
He delegated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to Alexandre Desplat, but Star Wars warhorse John Williams remains with the numbered episodes. His Holstian themes will reverberate around Episode VIII once again.
Pinewood Studios continues to bear the brunt of the action, with filming also taking place in Dubrovnik, County Donegal and Florida (where Boynton Beach appears to be playing the part of a new planet).
Filming has also taken place on Skellig Michael again: the spectacular island off the coast of Ireland, seen at the end of The Force Awakens. Ridley has revealed that that final scene has been re-mounted, suggesting that Episode VIII will pick up exactly where Episode VII left off, rather than some time later, as we've been used to in Star Wars past. "It was so crazy doing the same scene with a different crew of people," Ridley said.
None yet, but there was a brief video released to mark the start of production on Feb 15:
Again, precious few official ones so far. Johnson has posted a glimpse of Maz Kanata:
And a picture of a cloak: