Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi: Everything we know so far

Mike P Williams
Contributor

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’ hits cinemas at the end of this year, so until then the world will continue to ask questions over what the title really means, who’s around to fight the First Order, and whether Luke Skywalker will be in the film for more than a silent minute this time.

Trailer… due to premiere in April? – Credit: Lucasfilm

So, here’s a look at what we know so far, as well as some ideas about what the film may hold for us as ‘Star Wars’ enthusiasts.

Note:  This article contains possible spoilers and speculation for The Last Jedi.

Who’s behind it?

‘Looper’ and ‘Brick’ director Rian Johnson is helming his first ever ‘Star Wars’ movie, and the step up from him previous indie work is startlingly evident. Like ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ director Gareth Edwards, he’s moved up from acclaimed, much more low key films – but let’s face it, it doesn’t get any bigger than ‘Star Wars’, meaning anything that came before this would pale in comparison.

Johnson’s behind the screenplay too, as he bases it around creator George Lucas’s characters, but has full control over both script and camera, which is a huge responsibility.

What’s its title about?

When the film’s name first dropped, there were masses of speculation over what exactly it meant. Naturally, fans managed to delve into hours of discussion over the words ‘The’, ‘Last’, and ‘Jedi’ – and for good reason. The big question is who the last Jedi is. Is it Rey, Luke, or Kylo? Is it all three? Is it a singular Jedi, or multiple Jedi?

Recently, we learned that a European translation of the title was in fact plural, so there are more than one Jedi who are either present in various parts of the galaxy, or, as we predict, pulling together as a unit.

Daisy Ridley as Rey – just one of the Last Jedi? – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Who’s in it?

Pretty much all of the cast are returning from ‘The Force Awakens’, with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega’s Rey and Finn remaining as its leads. Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux, Mark Hamill’s illusive Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa are back. With Lupita N’yong’o as Maz Kantana, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, and of course Warwick Davis.

The notable absence is obviously Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, who was slain at the hands of offspring Sith-in-waiting Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who also returns.

Newcomers include Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro whose characters are currently unknown. Billie Lourd (Fisher’s daughter) is on board as Lieutenant Connix. Interestingly, Tom Hardy’s rumoured to have a cameo – as a stormtrooper, no less – so perhaps he’ll appear in a similar way Daniel Craig did in the previous instalment.

Carrie Fisher in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ – Credit: David James/Lucasfilm

The plot

There’s little to go on other than the IMDb synopsis that reads as follows;

Having taken her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

In truth, no one knows much of anything regarding the plot, but there’s plenty of speculation over its twists and turns; over who lives or dies, and who will choose the Light or Dark Side.

On a more sensitive note, and while we don’t like to speculate too much on the impact deceased actors will have in film logistics, it’s worth noting that the late Carrie Fisher is in ‘The Last Jedi’ having filmed all of her scenes by mid-2016. The rumour is that General Leia will have a more prominent role than she did in ‘The Force Awakens’, which will be a poignant farewell for the beloved icon who died at the end of last year.

With the title leaving plenty of theories to mull over, there’s been a hint towards a “connection” between Rey and Kylo. Heroic Hollywood noted that the latest character bio tweaks reveal said “connection” between the pair – could they be related by blood? And if so, in what capacity?

Jedi in waiting? Rey passes Luke his trusty lightsaber – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Rumours

As always, there are plenty surrounding characters new and old, as well as what we can expect in terms of a story arc. And while the plot is very firmly under wraps, there’s plenty of talk about a returning Finn (Boyega) and new face (Del Toro).

Firstly, we last saw Finn in pretty bad condition at the end of ‘The Force Awakens’, having taken a beating at the hands of Kylo Ren.

According to the Independent, Finn will embark on a secret mission to plant explosives aboard a new Star Destroyer that’s orbiting an unspecified planet. It’s unclear whether this is the First Order’s new base, but he will supposedly be accompanied on his mission by an unknown character played by Kelly Marie Tran.

Benicio del Toro’s role is also shrouded in mystery, but it’s thought he’ll be a leader within the First Order. So far, all he’s said of it is during an interview on Spanish language radio station RAC1, where he reveals he “is like a villain.” A replacement for General Hux, perhaps? We’re not so sure, specifically because Gleeson is on the ‘Episode VIII’ cast list… unless a demotion is on the cards.

The Express have (allegedly) done some digging and reckon he’s listed as ‘The Man in Black’ and as Vikrim Fett, according to “Star Wars expert Mike Zeroh”. An intriguing concept, for sure.

Between now and the end of the year, fans will likely get a number of teasing snippets of information so they can at least try to put some of the pieces together. However, knowing how secretive Disney were over ‘The Force Awakens’, it’s unlikely we will know who the last Jedi are or any of the big twists until we sit down and witness the film for ourselves.

Will we see plenty more of Poe and BB-8? It’s more than likely – Credit: Lucasfilm

When’s it out?

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’ is in UK cinemas from 15 December.

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