Man at His Best

Everything We Know About Star Wars Episode 8 So Far

Wait for it.

BY HUGH ARMITAGE | Apr 5, 2016 | Film & TV

Unless you've been marooned on a rocky island somewhere, you'll know the excitement over Star Wars: The Force Awakens was hotter that Tatooine at double-sun midday. But now that we've experienced Rey and Finn's first adventure—and have so many, many questions that need answering - we are left with only one thing to do...

...wait for Episode 8.

Which is frustrating to say the least: there's at least a year and a half—plus a whole other non-sequential Star Wars film—to go before answers might be forthcoming. So in the meantime, here is everything we know about the sequel everyone is calling The Force Aw8ens. Ok, just us. 

OBVIOUS WARNING: Contains spoilers for The Force Awakens.

 

The Release Date

The Force Awakens was actually pushed back from an originally planned May 2015 release date, and Episode 8 will no longer be course-correcting—its original May 26, 2017 release date has been moved to December 15, 2017.

So much for a return to the traditional Star Wars release month - May the force be with you etc. Looks like the powers that be saw Collider's interesting argument for Disney sticking with December following The Force Awakens's runaway success, using an official statement to remind us all that it was "the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records ".

The new release date already has other high-profile films scheduled for December 15 running scared, including David Cameron's Avatar 2 and Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One.

 

The Cast 

At the Force Awakens premiere, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that all the cast in attendance would be returning - which means Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Lupita Nyong'o will be back. 

The bad guys will be lining up for Episode 8, too—expect to see Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma in the next instalment of the space opera saga.

Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd is also coming back as Lieutenant Connix (aka that Resistance member who stood around not doing anything), so she might even get a real role this time.

As Harrison Ford was also in attendance at that premiere, it lends credence to new theories that, as Kylo Ren continues to be torn between loyalties to the Dark Side and his family, Han Solo will feature again—albeit in flashback. But his name notably wasn't mentioned in Disney's official release in February 2016 confirming the start of filming.

Benicio del Toro will also be joining the cast, with reports pointing towards him being a villain. He was obviously bitten by the sci-fi adventure bug during Guardians of the Galaxy. Jurassic Park's Laura Dern has signed up, too, along with newcomer Kelly Marie Tran—who if Boyega is to be believed might have a lead role in the movie.

Bottom actor Adrian Edmondson is also reported to be taking a role in the film.

There have also been some unsubstantiated rumours that Hayden Christensen will return as Anakin Skywalker, fulfilling the long-held wishes of no-one, ever.

 

The Director

At the helm, JJ Abrams will be stepping down as director to make way for Rian Johnson of Looper and Brick fame. Johnson also directed three episodes of Breaking Bad, bagging himself a Directors Guild of America Award for his work on season five's 'Fifty-One'. 

Abrams himself will be sticking around as executive producer, but it seems that he is already regretting stepping down as director.

His friend and Force Awakens actor Greg Grunberg (you will probably know him best as psychic copper Matt Parkman in Heroes) said that Abrams thought that Rian Johnson's script is "so good" that he's sorry not to be directing it.

Star Wars veteran and The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan – who isn't working on Episode 8—has said that the film is going to be "some weird thing", though it seems he meant it in a good way.

And, as with every other Star Wars film, at least parts will be filmed here in Blighty. Last October, at the opening of the new Industrial Light & Magic facility in London, ILM President Lynwen Brennan confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VIII would be filmed in London.

 

The Plot

It will come as no surprise that Disney is maintaining its policy of absolute secrecy regarding Episode 8's story.

Filming has already resumed on the Irish island of Skellig Michael, where the closing scene of The Force Awakens was shot, so expect Rey to begin her training with Luke on the remote planet, possibly even in the art of double-lightsaber fighting. Hopefully it will go better than his own training on Dagobah—and if Luke ups and dies with no explanation like Yoda did, we'll be coming for you, Disney.

Boyega has said that the new film will be "much darker", and more physically demanding for him, so he'll no doubt be out of his medical coma and back in action in short order. No mention so far of his ongoing fairytale romance with Poe Dameron, alas.

Beyond that, we're somewhat in the dark, but we'll be ready for Kylo Ren to "complete his training" with Snoke as promised.

It was also reported that, to get the cast in the mood for film, Johnson screened classic films for the cast and crew—such as 1949 US war film Twelve O'Clock High and 1959 Russian drama Letter Never Sent. Make of that what you will.

As for the Star Wars Episode 8 title, there's been no word—and judging by the choice of 'The Force Awakens', we don't have a snowball's hope in hell of guessing it until it's announced.

 

Who are Rey and Supreme Leader Snoke?

The biggest questions we're hoping answers for are the true identities of Rey and Snoke. Who are Rey's family and why did they leave her on Jakku? And what will their identities reveal about her strong connection to the Force? And did Hamill accidentally let the truth slip or was he just trolling us?

As for Snoke, where did the ancient master of the Dark Side come from and how did he rise to power? There's a theory that he was first mentioned in George Lucas's prequel trilogy—or is even Darth Vader himself—and we're hoping Episode 8 will set us straight.

Other holes in our knowledge that we expect (or at least hope) to have filled are what happened between Ren and Luke that sent the Jedi master into hiding? And why was Captain Phasma so lame despite being such a big part of the pre-release hype? And why does it take so damn long to film these things? Roll on 2017 and the answers to our questions.
 

First look

The first images from the set of Episode 8 have emerged, with some very formal formalwear going on and what looks like a cross between the Phantom of the Opera and a dinosaur.

They're all very mysterious and incidental at the moment, but that doesn't make us any less excited.

 

 

 

From: Digital Spy.