Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Episode VIII's release date, cast and whether Carrie Fisher will feature

If you’re looking for Star Wars news, we’ve got your back.

The film is due to be released at the end of the year, which gives us all plenty of time to re-watch (and re-watch again) Force Awakens.

In the mean time we have rounded up all the news about Episode VIII to keep you up-to-date.

It should go without saying, but just in case, this article contains spoilers, spoilers, everywhere. If you don’t want any part in that back away now…

Still here? Well, this is what we know about The Last Jedi so far.

What is the release date?

The film is scheduled for release on December 15, 2017. Just in time for Christmas.

What’s it called?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the official title for Episode VIII. Though at one point we all knew it as Space Bear, the potential working title.

Jedi is plural so don’t start panicking that this means the end of Luke or Rey.

Since then the director has stepped in and answered what the title actually means.

The Spanish title suggests it is plural.

Yeah, so… that title, hey?

Fans got into a bit of a panic with the colour of the title. Red apparently is bad news.

Let’s take a look at that. Revenge of the Jedi was red and The Clone Wars was red too. Empire Strikes Back was yellow though, and a lot of stuff went down…

The actual title isn’t new, The Last Jedi was used in the Star Wars comics – the 49th issue by Pablo Hidalgo, a creative executive at Lucasfilms Story Group. There’s also a novel, but it’s unlikely either will inform the movie’s storylines.

Secret footage screened revealing Luke’s question

Disney held a secret screener for shareholders where it showed a bit of footage. They let a journo from LA Times know what they saw.

That’s quite a bit. It does show Luke doesn’t know (initially) who Rey is. Are these the first three words?

Here’s what we know about Mark Hamill’s performance

J.J. Abrahams, director of the the Force Awakens and producer of the Last Jedi, has predicted that Mark Hamill will be in the running for an Oscar for his performance in the Last Jedi.

Speaking to the New York Daily Post at the Oscar Wilde awards in Los Angeles, Abrahams said: “I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark.”

Yet another reason to look forward to December 15 with baited breath.

When will we get our first look?

Star Wars New Net announced that the first time we will see any Last Jedi footage or behind-the-scenes clips will be in April at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. That’s April 13-16.

The site said: “One of our sources… shared with us an interesting tidbit.

“According to him, right now they are hard at work on a new Behind the Scenes reel for The Last Jedi, which will be the first footage that we will see from the movie.”

Rogue One footage was released in the same way at the Star Wars Celebration last July – but that was for audience members only and it was a month before the footage was released online.

Who is the director?

Prince William meets Mark Hamill and director Rian Johnson
Prince William meets Mark Hamill and director Rian Johnson
(Photo: Twitter)

The writer and director this time is Rian Johnson. He was at the helm of Looper, The Brothers Bloom and Brick.

He also directed three episodes of Breaking Bad.

Benicio del Toro speaking about Johnson’s involvement said he will bring ‘cool, sci-fi realism.’

“I just like talking to him about the film,”he said. “He’s one of those new talented people that Star Wars is hiring to infuse the franchise with new steroids.”

What’s it about?

Remember we never got a full plot synopsis for Force Awakens. Expect the same for The Last Jedi.

Hold on though, there have been plenty of references and cast quotes to puzzle together bits and pieces.

Luke will play a bigger role
Luke will play a bigger role
(Photo: Disney)

In an interview with USA Today on Jan 9, 2017, Johnson said we’d learn more about the new heroes Rey, Poe and Finn.

“I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory,” he said. “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 we’ll see more about the relationship between Luke and Rey. Luke is apparently the “emotional entry point” into the film and we’ll learn “what’s going on with Luke Skywalker”.

We do know that the movie will pick up exactly where The Force Awakens left off.

To read about a potential leaked script scroll to the bottom of the article.

Kylo and Rey’s strange connection

Kylo Ren has a “strange connection” to Rey
(Photo: Facebook)

The Star Wars franchise’s website has had a few subtle changes made to it. Eagle-eyed fans have shared their find revealing Kylo Ren and Rey’s “strange connection”. The recap on the Force Awakens focuses on the pairs link – but what is it? Siblings could be too simplistic and not so strange.

The references to the link are plentiful.

Kylo Ren’s biography confirms he’s “puzzled by a strange connection he felt with [Rey]”.

Later it says “both captor [Ren] and captive [Rey] were surprised when Rey found herself able to sense Kylo’s own thoughts – including his conflicts and doubts”.

it then says: “He sensed his destiny and Rey’s were somehow intertwined, but how?”

Rey’s biography says: “To the surprise of both, Rey found Kylo’s own mind open to her as well. She saw that the seemingly fearsome warlord was vulnerable, filled with conflict and pain.”

Influence on the movies

Speaking to Empire Rian Johnson did share the films that have influenced his take on Star Wars though.

“Twelve O’Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots. Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And To Catch A Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur.”

Will Carrie Fisher be in it?

Carrie Fisher will star in The Last Jedi
Carrie Fisher will star in The Last Jedi
(Photo: REUTERS)

Yes, the movie had finished production before Carrie Fisher sadly passed away over Christmas 2016.

The film’s producers have said her death means she won’t be in Episode Nine.

It was thought she would feature heavily since Han Solo is now dead, and the new trilogy has followed the Skywalkers’ story with Kylo Ren, her son.

First peak at the opening crawl

Rian Johnson gave us our first look at The Last Jedi opening crawl.

Who will star in it?

Daisy Ridley will star as Rey
Daisy Ridley will star as Rey

Daisy Ridley as Rey.

Most are assuming her story will be interwined with Luke since she found him at the end of Force Awakens.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Yes he’s back, but rumours abound that this may be the last time.

John Boyega is Finn. We’re yet to find out more about his past.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. The Sith is determined to bring down the Jedi, so it makes sense Luke is next on the hit list.

Kylo aka Ben Solo has already killed off daddy Han, but we weren’t sure about his arc for this movie.

He has since been spotted in Ireland – where Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley were filming. Make of that what you will.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) with Stormtroopers

Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, X-wing pilot. After his ‘death’ then reappearance later in Force Awakens people are already suspicious after poor old Poe.

Gwendoline Christie is Captain Phasma.

Domhnall Gleeson is General Hux.

Carrie Fisher is General Leia. While Carrie Fisher has died since filming she had already finished up her scenes.

Leia (Carrie Fisher) & Han Solo (Harrison Ford)
(Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd)

Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. We should see him in person, though we’ve only seen him in hologram form so far.

Lupita Nyong’o is Maz Kanata.

Anthony Daniels is C-3PO.

We also have R2-D2 and BB-8.

Peter Mayhew is Chewbacca, though he’s now minus best mate Han.

Reportedly Adrian Edmondson is starring in it too (he starred in Bottom).

Who’s new?

Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been cast as a new female character. All we know here is based on assumption.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (right) starring as “Dido Elizabeth Belle” in the movie Belle

She could be up for a main role if she was up against Tatiana Maslany, Olivia Cooke and Gina Rodriguez.

They were all called in for chemistry reads alongside John Boyega. Weirdly, it was listed as the ‘female lead’ – which you’d assume would be Ridley.

Laura Dern and Sam Neill 'Jurassic Park'
Laura Dern and Sam Neill ‘Jurassic Park’

Laura Dern was announced in February 2016, but there’s not much information. Fans speculated she’s part of the Rebellion.

Benicio Del Toro has been cast as someone on the Sith’s side. He’s even said he’s ‘like the villain’.

Benicio del Toro
Benicio del Toro
(Photo: Getty)

Kelly Marie Tran is only really known for comedy small parts. There’s no more info on her role.

Adrian Edmondson from The Young Ones and Bottom is supposedly starring, but the only source was in The Sun back in April. We shall wait and see.

Who will write the music?

We’re back to John Williams after he gave Rogue One to Alexandre Desplat.

Where is filming taking place?

The small island of Skellig Michael, Skellig Islands, County Kerry, Ireland.
(Photo: Getty)

Pinewood Studios has been the home for the Star Wars films, and for Episode VIII this seems to still be the case.

There have been location shoots in Dubrovnik, County Donegal and Florida.

There were leaked photos of filming on Skellig Michael as well.

Daisy Ridley has already spoken about the new Star Wars
Daisy Ridley has already spoken about the new Star Wars

Ridley has already revealed they re-mounted the final Force Awakens scene, so we are picking up where we left off.

Location, location, location

A few fans have captured the crew filming, or least they think they have.

Like this.

Then there’s this.

Is there a trailer?

There’s no teaser or full trailer yet, just a promo that was released at the start of production back in February 15, 2016.

Song for Last Jedi

Rian Johnson has been teaming up with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats – now there’s a song endorsed by Rian himself.

Theories and questions

Do no read if you’re not into spoilers…or theories…you get the picture

Leader Snoke’s real identity

Snoke is one ugggggllly baddie
Snoke is one ugggggllly baddie
(Photo: Lucas Film/Disney)

One of the main questions following Force Awakens was whether we’d seen Leader Snoke before.

There’s been endless theories, but one seems to have gripped fans more than others.

We need to turn to the books for this one.

Gallius Rax is an Imperial admiral in the Aftermath Trilogy of books set after Return of the Jedi.

He was born on Jakku and enlisted as Emperor Sheev Palpatine’s apprentice.

Rax works under the codename Operator in the first two books, but was last seen preparing for a coup. We know from the ashes of the Empire Snoke’s First Order will rise.

So Rax and Snoke, one and the same?

Well, Snoke doesn’t look in any way human like, but we’re well aware Siths can undergo great change – just look at Darth Vader.

Are they linked?
Are they linked?

Is this the end of Luke?

Probably not. Everyone panicked when Mark Hamill said “I finish Episode 8, and then I’m out of work,” at a Big Issue event. He took to Twitter to calm everyone down.

Will there be a LGBT character?

After the shooting in Orlando nightclub Pulse in 2015 a petition was launched asking for a LGBT character to be in the next episode.

“While Star Wars is a sci-fi fantasy world with bizarre aliens and hulking monsters, it still features characters just like us,” it said. “After A New Hope, steps were taken to expand and diversify the cast, giving us the smooth-talking Lando Calrissian and Rebel pilots played by people of colour.

“The tradition of making Star Wars more inclusive continued with the casting of Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, the main protagonists of The Force Awakens. It’s my hope that Star Wars will take another step forward by introducing their first-ever LGBT character in a movie.”

Josh Gad pumped Daisy Ridley for information

The film is called the Last Jedi, which has caused a lot of speculation. While on the set of Murder of the Orient Express, Josh Gad grilled Daisey Ridley about the meaning of said title.

Here’s the video.

Josh Gad questions Daisy Ridley about The Last Jedi

Leaked script

Warning, Warning…Warning.

Last year a script was leaked on Reddit . Of course, it doesn’t mean it’s legit and the actual script. The script had the name as Echoes of the Dark side and…

Last warning.

The script has Rey, Finn and Kylo with equal storylines, but don’t come together until the third act of the movie. While training with Luke, Rey finds out she is the reincarnation of Anakin, making her Luke’s father. Right. Still with us?

Finn is captured by Kylo and is tortured to reveal Rey’s location. There’s also a suggestion that Obi-Wan Kenobi will return.

The (genetic) link to Obi-Wan Kenobi

In an interview with Vulture , actress Ridley was asked about her genetic connection to Obi-Wan Kenobi, but refused to comment on it.

“We will see in a year…Just sit tight on that question.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise for the franchise to tease the question out to the very last second of the film, creating a dramatic revelation from which to jump into the credits and set up for the third film in this trilogy.

As for an appearance by the master Jedi, it was rumoured last year that LucasFilm and Disney were pausing a planned Obi-Wan solo movie so he could be used in the main trilogy.

According to Geek Tyrant , while visiting the Rebel Force Radio podcast in November, EW writer Anthony Breznican suggested the reason a Kenobi movie hasn’t been focused on yet is that the studios are planning on incorporating him into the current trilogy in some way. This would mean that Kenobi would possibly play a major role in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi or in Episode IX.

“I have heard rumours that the one reason they haven’t moved sooner on Obi-Wan is that they’re not done with Obi-Wan quite yet in the saga films. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Obi-Wan [solo film] happen beyond Episode IX.”

This is not to be dismissed as Breznican is famously close with Lucasfilm and the production teams behind these movies.

It would also make sense given Ewan McGregor has previously voiced the character in The Force Awakens and played the first part of the sequel saga.

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