Details about The Last Jedi, the Star Wars franchise’s upcoming Episode VIII, are still few and far between. But the cast, along with Disney and Lucasfilm, have dropped several clues for fans to chew on until the film hits theaters Dec. 15.
Not to mention that a new trailer and teaser poster for the movie were recently released at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, giving galaxy far, far away devotees even more material to speculate over.
Here’s everything we know so far about the Rian Johnson-directed installment in the so-called “Skywalker saga.”
Rey finds Luke and then…
The Last Jedi will reportedly pick up right where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) offering Luke (Mark Hamill) his old lightsaber after finding him living in self-imposed exile at the site of the first Jedi temple on the planet of Ahch-To. His first words to her will supposedly be, “Who are you?”
This tracks with what Johnson has said about the film, as he told USA Today that “What’s going on with Luke Skywalker?” is the question at the heart of the story and that Luke is the movie’s “emotional entry point.”
Hamill added his own thoughts on how his character will come into play, noting that the phrase, “the last Jedi,” appears to directly refer to Luke in the opening crawl of Episode VII. “When you read The Force Awakens script, the very first words are, ‘Luke Skywalker has vanished,'” he told Uproxx. “But down later in the crawl, and I can’t quote it exactly, I saw on Twitter this morning, ‘until Skywalker, the last Jedi, is destroyed,’…And I was wondering why they would use that phrase if it was used that way, because it specifies me. And I think it’s very ambiguous. Is the last Jedi Leia? Is it me?”
Hamill also hinted that the title could be referring to Rey, who is shown in the trailer being trained in the ways of the Force by Luke. The teaser poster even seems to suggest that Rey is destined to become a Gray Jedi, meaning she will walk the line between light and dark while possessing abilities from both sides.
If nothing else, we know the title references multiple people, as its translation in other languages is plural rather than singular.
The story as a whole will be darker, according to several involved, with a tone similar to that of The Empire Strikes Back.
The return of Finn, Poe and even Captain Phasma
Along with Rey and Luke, several other familiar faces from both The Force Awakens and previous Star Wars movies will return in The Last Jedi, including Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Princess-Now-General Leia (Carrie Fisher), whose scenes were filmed before Fisher passed away in December.
“We had to deal with tragedy at the end of 2016,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger during a March talk at the University of Southern California. “Carrie appears throughout VIII. We are not changing VIII to deal with her passing. Her performance remains as it is in VIII. In Rogue One, we had some digital character. We are not doing that with Carrie.”
In honor of Fisher, her daughter, Billie Lourd, made her first public appearance since her mother’s death at Star Wars celebration. She delivered a heartfelt tribute that was followed by a montage video showcasing Fisher’s incredible impact on the galaxy far, far away.
As for the rest of the characters, The Last Jedi will delve deeper than Force Awakens into exactly what makes them who they are. “I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory,” Johnson told USA Today. “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.”
One example of this may come in a revelation about Snoke, who some fans speculate is going to turn out to be Darth Plagueis — the Sith Lord master of Darth Sidious, a.k.a. Emperor Palpatine, who was said to have been killed by his apprentice. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine tells Anakin that Plagueis was powerful enough to bring people back from the dead…Did someone say Darth Vader?
Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern are also joining the cast, along with newcomer Kelly Marie Tran — who will play a Resistance maintenance worker named Rose. It’s even rumored that Tom Hardy will have a cameo as a First Order Stormtrooper.
As told by Rian Johnson
The movie’s script was written by Johnson — who began working on it while J.J. Abrams was still completing The Force Awakens — and has been described as “next level” and “clear” by Driver. John Williams is returning for the eighth time in the series to compose the score.
The majority of filming took place in Ireland, Croatia and England’s Pinewood Studios.
Hype or hype not there is no try
The countdown has begun for Star Wars Force Friday II, a global fan event celebrating the world-wide release of The Last Jedi merchandise that will take place Sept. 1, according to Disney and Lucasfilm. “Plans for this year’s world-wide event are top secret but expect something befitting the excitement around the next episode of the Star Wars saga,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Disney’s chairman of consumer products and interactive media.