Star Wars Episode 8 hits cinemas this Christmas – here’s all the info we have to date.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – it just sounds like the best Star Wars film ever, right? The title itself oozes the suggestion of Luke Skywalker training Rey in the ways of the Force before embarking on a death-or-glory raid on some (probably spherical) Imperial stronghold in search of the truth of Rey’s parentage, while Kylo Ren cuts a swathe through the remaining original cast like he’s just seen the ultra-tight budget for Episode 9. That’s speculation by the way, not spoiler. The spoilers come later.
Episode 8 will undoubtedly be one of the cinematic events of 2017, and rumor is already rabid about what the film might contain. Will we learn who Rey’s parents are? Is she about to become the last Jedi? Who is this gigantic Gollum they call Snoke? Here’s everything we know so far.
What is Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s release date?
As with the previous recent Star Wars films, Episode 8 hits screens over the Christmas holiday – December 15 in 3D and IMAX 3D.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailers
Early days, so thus far we’ve had just one trailer, but it’s already more revealing than many of those that emerged ahead of The Force Awakens. Here we see Rey learning to manipulate stones with the Force, presumably on the oceanic planet of Ahch-To (bless you), Finn unconscious inside a pod-like machine and an array of Star Wars mainstays in action – the Millennium Falcon blasting its way through an air battle, the Knights Of Ren on the warpath and R2-D2 in front of a burning building. The key moment of the trailer is Luke declaring “I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end”. Sucks.
Who is The Last Jedi?
From the title alone, it sounds as though Rey will be the last of the Jedi, suggesting Luke may meet a sticky end in this episode – a rumor that many fans jumped on when Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) told The Hollywood Reporter last June that “I finish Episode 8, then I’m out of work”. He’s since hinted on Twitter that he will appear in Episode 9 however, and translations of the title for foreign Episode 8 posters have seen ‘Jedi’ used in the plural. So Luke and Rey are at least two of the last Jedi(s) out there.
What’s the plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
There’s only a vague outline of the plot to be gleaned from the information so far. We can see that Luke trains Rey in lightsaber skills in the trailer, but that might well be last piece of Jedi training ever, considering that he seems to be shutting up Jedi shop in the trailer. We’re also likely to learn what Luke’s been up to in the 30 years since Return Of The Jedi and since Ren destroyed his Jedi Academy. Otherwise, details are scant: LA Times journalist Daniel Miller Tweeted about footage he was privy to, claiming that Hamill’s first line to Rey is “who are you?”, Chewbacca, Leia and Finn all make an appearance, that various planets and terrains are involved - “mountains, oceans, forests, deserts. Look suitably epic, exotic” – and that thre’s a shot of a damaged X-wing flying around inside another spaceship “like a wounded bird”.
Interviews with some of the main players, meanwhile, have suggested that Episode 8 will be rather more philosophical than The Force Awakens, further explaining plot points and digging into the humanity and motivations of Kylo Ren.
“Even though it’s very much a blockbuster movie,” Adam Driver told Larry King, “there was no taking that for granted and that we were forced to be general. There was a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one, that we get to explain more in the second one, to make both of them make sense. But they do kind of feel socially active to me, and George Lucas originally, a lot of Star Wars was in response to Vietnam and a lot of what I remember talking about with JJ and Rian was this idea of terrorism, and two sides being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get whatever they thought was absolutely correct.”
Rian Johnson, who directed the film and wrote the screenplay, has also stated that we’ll learn far more about Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron. “I wanted to know more about each of them,” he’s said, “and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. Figure out what’s the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now — let’s throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.” He also said that Rey’s family history will play a big part of The Last Jedi and that the bond between Rey and Luke will be strong. “It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives.”
Other snippets of info point to the inclusion of something called a Bio-Hexacrypt, which sounds like the sort of thing you’d grow alien eggs in, and a photo pertaining to be from the set shows Boyega and Ridley riding a gigantic ‘space horse’. Meanwhile, a translation of the Japanese poster promises “the most shocking truth in Star Wars history… surpassing the previous stories”. More shocking than Luke kissing his sister in The Empire Strikes Back? What, is Yoda Jar Jar’s dad or something?
Who’s in the cast of The Last Jedi?
The regular cast (that survived The Force Awakens) return en masse, with Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, Driver’s Kylo Ren, Andy Serkis’ Snoke and Oscar Isaac’s Poe joining first-era legends Hamill, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Jimmy Vee replaces the late Kenny Baker as R2-D2 and the fact that Frank Oz has “been asked not to talk about” playing Yoda suggests that he’s definitely playing Yoda.
The Force Awakens had fun with plonking major stars in unrecognisable roles – remember Daniel Craig’s star turn as a stormtrooper? Of course you can’t – and The Last Jedi is reportedly awash with cameos. Tom Hardy is rumored to be hiding behind one of those stormtrooper masks this time, while Benicio Del Toro is believed to turn up as a new villain and Laura Dern is tipped to play a pivotal role in the Resistance.
Carrie Fisher, who helped Johnson write the script of Episode 8, finished filming her scenes in the new film before her death in December 2016 and producers decided not to change the film as a result. She won’t, however, be CGI’d in order to fulfil her projected central role in Episode 9.
Where is The Last Jedi being filmed?
Besides Pinewood Studios and Skellig Michael studios, fan photos suggest that further locations include Mexico and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Johnson released some behind-the-scenes footage from a shoot on Luke’s island, but all that can be gleaned from that is that Hamill is definitely in it and it’s being filmed with film cameras.
What are the best rumors and spoilers for The Last Jedi?
Several cast members have claimed that Johnson has taken a darker slant to The Force Awakens, leading fans to speculate that this might be the new trilogy’s Empire Strikes Back. Johnson himself has downplayed the suggestion though, telling USA Today “I want it to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.”
Word-of-mouth from the set suggests that one witness saw Daisy Ridley wearing a green-screen arm, suggesting she may lose a hand in The Last Jedi a la Luke and Anakin, perhaps cementing a family line. It’s a theory backed up by her telling a podcast, when asked if Rey is injured in the film, “Injured emotionally or physically? I’ll say… yes.”
Rumor is rife that we may well see the return of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and YouTuber Mike Zeroh claims to have been told from a reputable source of a shot in which Luke draws Rey’s lightsaber from her hand and dismantles it in mid-air using only the Force, a nifty twist on the old spy thriller trope of an assassin dismantling their rifle in seconds. And there’s a seriously wild-ass theory floating about that Del Toro will be playing Rey’s father, plucked from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The convoluted rumor involves Toro playing Jedi padwan Ezra Bridger turned bad. With no evidence on display though, we’ll be filing that one under ‘fanboy fantasy’ for now.
YouTubers have grown rich and fat posing and debunking rumors about the true identity of Supreme Leader Spoke. The most convincing argue that he's Darth Plagueis (the original master of Darth Sidious) or Mace Windu, the Jedi master played by Samuel L Jackson in the prequel trilogy, and that Finn is his son. If you've hours to kill, start your own investigation here: