‘Star Wars: Episode 8’ – Everything You Need to Know About the Upcoming Sequel
You waited patiently for over 10 years for a new Star Wars film to arrive and wash the taste of the prequel trilogy out of your mouth. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally did arrive, it quickly became the biggest movie of all-time and quickly got Star Wars fans, both new and old, excited for the new trilogy. The ending of Star Wars: The Force Awakens left us all with that one fleeting and tantalizing glimpse of Luke Skywalker and tons of questions. It’s time to start looking forward to the next installment, Star Wars: Episode 8, to see what the future has in store for Luke, Rey, Finn, Poe, Leia, Kylo Ren, The First Order and The Resistance.
Using everything we know from our in-depth analysis of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and what we currently know about the next film, we put together this handy guide to Star Wars: Episode 8 and what every Star Wars fan can expect when it finally hits theaters.
What Will Happen in Star Wars: Episode 8?
Obviously no one knows for sure yet what is going to happen, but based on the teaser video that was released from the set, we know the film will pick up with Luke Skywalker and Rey on the distant planet of Ahch-To, where Luke has been in hiding for many years. Rey is there to present him with his lightsaber in the hopes of luring him out of seclusion and helping train her in the fight against Kylo Ren and The First Order. When we last see her battling Kylo Ren, she is more powerful with the Force than Luke was during his early stages, but will she become a Jedi? Will she too struggle with the Dark Side?
We know that Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill have already filmed scenes for Star Wars: Episode 8 on Skellig Michael, the real life location of Ahch-To. The reason they shot these scenes last year, according to rumor, is that the lush greenery you saw in The Force Awakens, would naturally be turning a dark grey for the winter, a crucial look for the scene Star Wars: Episode 8 needed. Do they spend time here training, or does Luke travel back to Resistance headquarters to reunite with his sister? Does Rey get itchy and abandon Luke at his new home just like Luke left Yoda?
But, one of the biggest questions everyone hopes is answered in Star Wars: Episode 8 is Who Are Rey’s Parents? There has been a lot of speculation that Luke is Rey’s father, but other theories abound. Could she be a Kenobi? Is she a Solo? It’s one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the new Star Wars trilogy and, like with Empire Strikes Back’s big reveal, we expect it to be answered in this installment (more on this in our next segment).
In addition to Rey’s parents, there’s been a lot of speculation as to who Finn really is. He’s a stormtrooper with only a code name assigned to him by the First Order (FN-2187), but who was he before he was forced into servitude? Have we met his parents before, will we in Star Wars: Episode 8 and what will that mean for his future?
Which of the Force Awakens Cast is Returning For Star Wars: Episode 8?
We know that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis will all be returning for Star Wars: Episode 8. In addition, Lucasfilm has confirmed that Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran have all joined the cast in unspecified roles.
Benicio Del Toro has previously hinted that his character will be a new villain, so we’ll assume he’s a villainous character, and may even be part of Snoke’s plan to complete Kylo Ren’s training. Snoke looks kinda busted up and clearly can’t do the hands-on work himself, so maybe he brings in someone to help him? Or, if The Knights of Ren, who take orders from Supreme Leader Snoke, are the new version of The Sith, perhaps Benicio Del Toro’s character is a senior leader within the Knights and reunites with his old partner to cause trouble for The Resistance?
While we know nothing about her role, that hasn’t stopped the internet from speculating about who Laura Dern is playing. Just having an older female character immediately makes people jump to the conclusion that she could be playing someone’s mother. Someone like Rey?
Other actors were rumored for roles in the film, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tatiana Maslany and Bel Powley, but those roles were reportedly minimized so the story could focus on Rey, Finn and Poe without introducing new heroes into the mix. It’s possible Tran’s character represents what one of these other actresses could have played.
Who is Directing Star Wars: Episode 8?
Rian Johnson was confirmed as both the writer and director of Star Wars: Episode 8 back in June of 2014 and he worked closely with J.J. Abrams during post-production of The Force Awakens to prepare the script. Johnson will be the only person other than George Lucas to receive the sole writing credit on a Star Wars movie that he also directed. J.J. Abrams said that when he read Johnson’s script for Episode 8, he thought it was so good, he immediately got jealous that he wasn’t returning to direct the next film.
Johnson brings with him an impressive crew that includes producers Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive producers by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They join returning Star Wars crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
Johnson said that he wanted to shoot Star Wars: Episode 8 in 65mm, but because of some “specific logistical reasons” they had to stick with 35mm film.
When Does Star Wars: Episode 8 Open in Theaters?
Star Wars: Episode 8 is set for release on December 15, 2017. The film was originally set to open in May of 2017, but was pushed back once Disney and Lucasfilm executives saw how successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens was with a holiday release date. That also gives a full year in between Star Wars: Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode 8.