What We Know About ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

There’s been a disturbance in the Force, and we’re not talking about Jar Jar. The title of the next installment in the “Star Wars” franchise was revealed on Monday: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The release date for the movie, written and directed by Rian Johnson, is Dec. 15.

Here’s what we know and don’t know, as well as some things we can safely assume, about Episode VIII. Or, as we imagine Yoda might say, “We know and know not, there is much.”

1. “Luke, I am your … daughter,” maybe? We hope we’re going to find out.

We know that Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, is in the next film. He briefly appeared at the end of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, and will play a larger role here. In “The Force Awakens,” one of the main plot points centers on Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, and her journey to discover where Luke is hiding. There are also hints that Luke and Rey are related — but this is not confirmed. In an interview with USA Today, Mr. Johnson said the new movie would certainly explore the relationship.

Mr. Hamill caused a small kerfuffle at a charity event last summer, when he said he would be “out of work” after the next movie, which some fans interpreted to mean that he would no longer appear in “Star Wars” films.

He followed up with a tweet that said that he was only referring to the fact that Episode VIII was wrapping production soon.

Last February, Disney released a short teaser video announcing production on Episode VIII, showing the island where Luke and Rey reunite, with brief snippets of Mr. Hamill and Ms. Ridley on set.

2. There is no trailer yet.

So use the Force and imagine for now.

3. We don’t know what Princess Leia’s involvement will be.

Carrie Fisher, whose iconic Princess Leia captivated generations of fans, wrapped her work for “The Last Jedi” before she died in December. However, it is unclear how her character will be involved in the new movie or in the films beyond Episode VIII. The Hollywood Reporter cited insiders who said that multiple scenes featuring Ms. Fisher’s character were planned, but whether those plans have changed isn’t clear. (Ms. Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, appeared in “The Force Awakens” and is on the cast list for “The Last Jedi” as well.)

4. We do know there will be no younger Princess Leia, at least not one played by Carrie Fisher.

In “Rogue One” — spoiler alert — the movie ends with a cameo of sorts from a holographic re-creation of a younger version of Ms. Fisher’s character in the first installment of the franchise, “A New Hope.” After Ms. Fisher died, rumors swirled that the filmmakers behind the forthcoming movie might do the same. However, in a statement posted on the official “Star Wars” website, Lucasfilm said, “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or Gen. Leia Organa.”

5. We do not know much about the plot.

There are some morsels, though. In the USA Today interview, Mr. Johnson said the new movie would focus on “what’s going on with Luke Skywalker,” as well as the back stories of central returning characters from “A Force Awakens,” including Rey, Finn (a former stormtrooper, played by John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (a pilot in the Resistance, played by Oscar Isaac).

Also, Tom Hardy might put in an appearance. He is rumored to be making a cameo, but was very cryptic when asked about it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Ah, the internet is a glorious web of deceit and misinformation, isn’t it?” Mr. Hardy said.

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Credit Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


Disney finally dropped the official title for Star Wars: Episode VIII with a relatively sparse announcement poster, but it's already the source of a lot of speculation. Beyond who the title, "The Last Jedi," is referring to, the color palette in the poster itself is causing people to take note.

The Last Jedi made its debut with a big, bold red "Star Wars" logo, which is a marked difference from the more friendly yellow used in The Force Awakens' announcement.

This isn't the first time that a Star Wars logo has been red. Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie to have a declarative red title treatment, and that was replicated during the promotion of Revenge of the Sith. While there have been different iterations (and color schemes) used for the various editions -- and posters -- of those films, it is notable that The Last Jedi is joining those ranks.

But what could it mean? Assuming that Disney's marketing team didn't choose the red logo haphazardly, it's easy to conclude that there's a reason behind The Last Jedi's crimson splash. Whereas both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith were the third films in their respective trilogies, Episode VIII stands apart as the second film in this new set of Star Wars films, meaning there must be some other connective tissue. Strap on your tinfoil hats, because it's time to speculate on what the connection between this new title treatment and its red-tinted predecessors might mean. Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens continue below.

A Disturbance in the Force
The most obvious similarity between these three films is that they all reference the warriors fighting on both sides of the Force: the Jedi and the Sith. It's a fairly superficial connection, but it could be tying into a deeper theme linking the films.

Looking at more similarities between Return and Revenge, both films feature a character turning from one side of the Force to the other. In Return, it's Darth Vader turning from the darkness back to the light, while in Revenge, it's his descent into embracing the Dark Side.

Could that be a hint at the direction The Last Jedi is heading in? Its title alone suggests the Jedi will be at the forefront of the story, and it's easy to assume it's referring to Luke Skywalker or the Force-powerful Rey (or both, since "Jedi" can be plural). But considering Kylo Ren's fraught relationship with the Light and Dark Side -- and his Jedi training from Luke -- it's easy to assume he will have a big role to play as well. And hey, he is symbolized by the bad guy red color of the Dark Side.

The Force Awakens already set up Kylo's conflicted feelings about the Jedi as he finds himself pulled between the two sides of the Force. The movie revealed that Luke had been training young Force-sensitive people to eventually become a new generation of Jedi, including Ben Solo. But after Supreme Leader Snoke seduced Ben to the Dark Side, we learn the son of Han and Leia destroyed the Jedi Luke had been training, leaving only his uncle alive. But Ben -- now Kylo Ren -- still isn't a full-fledged Sith, much to his chagrin, meaning he still could be won back over to the Light.

Though Kylo ended The Force Awakens by doing everything within his power to go over to the Dark Side fully, it's easy to assume his journey toward being a Sith won't be so easy. In fact, Adam Driver already hinted that we'll see a more sympathetic side to the wannabe villain. On Larry King Now, Driver said the aspect of Kylo Ren he's most excited to show fans is the character's "humanity," which does seem to suggest the man formerly known as Ben Solo won't remain all bad.

And let's not forget Kylo Ren's general obsession with Darth Vader. He's desperate to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, so why not represent him also flip-flopping allegiances in the logo of this movie? Ben Solo seems largely ignorant about the fraught path Darth Vader walked with the Dark Side, and likely isn't aware Anakin re-embraced the Light shortly before his death. How fitting, then, that he might be retracing his ancestor's steps, though in a way that he likely didn't anticipate.

That's our best, tin-foily theory on why Star Wars: The Last Jedi got slapped with a red logo. Let us know why you think Disney opted for this color scheme in the comments below!

'Star Wars: Episode VIII' is called 'The Last Jedi'

Holster those blasters. Turn off your lightsaber. Something important has just happened. The powers that be at Disney and Lucasfilm have decided to reveal the full name for Star Wars: Episode VIII today, which graces movie theaters on December 15th, 2017. Ready? The Last Jedi. Yep, that's it. We know little else about the movie, other than it'll feature one mister Luke Skywalker and the new generation of galactic butt-kicking heroes, Rey, Finn and Poe. Oh, and presumably the angst-ridden Kylo Ren will show up too. If you're keeping count, there's just 326 more days to wait...

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