Star Wars Episode 8 – The Last Jedi: release date, trailers, cast, and everything we know so far

You’ve seen Rogue One, so now it’s time to get excited about The Last Jedi, episode 8 in the Skywalker saga

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will feature Rey and Kylo Ren

By now you’ve probably seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so Now it’s time to look ahead and find out what lies in store for Star Wars Episode 8 – particularly after the death of Carrie Fisher (General Leia) on December 27, 2016. Here’s everything we know so far about the next Star Wars instalment – we’ll update this page with new information as and when we get it.

What’s the latest?

The Databank pages on StarWars.com have confirmed that there is a “mysterious” and “strange” connection between Rey and Kylo Ren, also explaining that “his destiny and Rey’s [are] somehow intertwined”. Exactly what this means is unclear, but presumably the connection could be familial – adding weight to the theory that Rey may be Luke Skywalker’s long-lost daughter, and therefore Kylo Ren’s cousin.

What is the release date for Episode 8?

December 15, 2017 

This pre-Christmas release date means we have less than a year before Luke Skywalker and Rey start kicking the First Order across the other side of the galaxy.

What is the title of Episode 8?

The Last Jedi.

The official title was unveiled on January 23 with the below post:

It’s official. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is the next chapter of the Skywalker saga. In cinemas this December. http://strw.rs/61868RpcA

Posted by Star Wars on Monday, January 23, 2017

Disappointed? Well, rumoured titles before that one were even worse. First came Star Wars: Tale Of The Jedi Temple. Another was Star Wars: The Order Of The Dark Side. And in the context of that, The Last Jedi doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Director and screenwriter Rian Johnson has said that Episode 8 has been called The Last Jedi since “the very first draft”. Mark Hamill confirmed as much in conversation with AP. He said Johnson told him that the title was The Last Jedi “when we were making the movie” to which he says he replied, “‘Don’t tell me these things! I talk in my sleep.’ They have us so jacked up with paranoia over leaks.” Hamill also declared himself a fan of the name, saying  “It’s got a real samurai [feel].”

What does The Last Jedi mean? How will the name affect Episode 8?

There are already numerous theories – it could be Luke, Rey, both, or someone else entirely.

In June 2016 Hamill made a slip of the tongue by telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I finish Episode 8, and then I’m out of work.” Fans initially feared that Luke would die at the end of Episode 8, leaving Rey as the last Jedi. But he’s since hinted (in the below tweet) that he’ll be in Episode 9 of the saga – so it’s impossible to say.

Haven’t seen my chin since May ’15, so #FarewellFacialFur & #ByeByeBeard (at least til #EpisodeIX) @popculturequest pic.twitter.com/gaScz1okk6

— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 30, 2016

It’s been pointed out by fans that Jedi is both singular and plural – meaning that the film could focus on a group of Jedi, not just one.

Who is the last jedi? is Rey the last jedi? but the plural for jedi is also jedi so this can refer to more than one jedi pic.twitter.com/xCnxVpjCek

— Jihane (@wakandaho) January 23, 2017

Then again, there are other fans still who have pointed out that the phrase ‘the last Jedi’ was explicitly used in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens – in which the phrase was referring to Luke. If you read the title this way, then it doesn’t spell doom for the Jedi Order – it just means that Luke will be central to Episode 8. Phew!

If people are wondering who “the last Jedi” is, they already kinda spelled it out in the last movie. It’s Luke. #StarWars #TheLastJedi pic.twitter.com/ly7gTZN9yF

— Michael Schroeder (@TheSchroeder) January 23, 2017

Marketing for The Force Awakens notoriously avoided any mention of Luke Skywalker, and we only saw Luke in the final moments of the film. It’s been confirmed that The Last Jedi will begin directly where The Force Awakens ended, and given that Luke is the last known Jedi in the Star Wars universe at this point, we presume this title simply means that we’ll be seeing a lot more of him – and learning a lot more about what he’s been up to – in Episode 8.

Luke Skywalker is expected to play a big role in Star Wars Episode 8 – The Last JediLucasfilm/Disney

What are the cast saying?

Not much, sadly. On the set of Murder on the Orient Express in January and February, Daisy Ridley’s co-star Josh Gad attempted to trick her into answering his questions, with limited success. So far he’s shared three videos of his attempts to Instagram – the latest features Judi Dench asking if Rey has been tested for Midichlorians, if Supreme Leader Snoke is Emperor Palpatine, who the last Jedi is, and ‘What’s up with Rey-Lo?’

See the first and second attempts on Gad’s Instagram too.

What Episode 8 trailers are available?

None so far – but in April 2016, a few tantalising photos have been released by director Rian Johnson along with a very short behind-the-scenes video of Luke with Rey on the remote island that we saw at the end of The Force Awakens. You can see both below.

One of director Rian Johnson's behind-the-scenes photos from the Star Wars episode 8 set

Another of Rian Johnson's behind-the-scenes photos from the Star Wars episode 8 set

Felt so good to drop this into the cut this morning.

A post shared by Rian Johnson (@riancjohnson) on

You might recognise this, from Johnson’s Instagram, as a Dejarik table – Dejarik is a holographic board game in the Star Wars universe…

A post shared by Rian Johnson (@riancjohnson) on

Other than that, a few photos have been posted online, allegedly from the set, but whether they’re genuine remains to be seen.

Star wars episode 8 photos
This dude enjoying himself on set + landspeeder #starwars #StarWarsEpisodeVIII pic.twitter.com/XMSbBuK6C5

— Mr.🔱onderful (@mr1derful1) March 14, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VIII Set Pics pic.twitter.com/l8VY0w6dOT

— Novagera (@CHRISPRIEZ) March 14, 2016

(˵ ˃̶̀ε ˂̶́ ˵) ⁽⁽٩(๑˃̶͈̀ ᗨ ˂̶͈́)۶⁾⁾【The Space Horse in Star Wars: Episode VIII. https://t.co/aFv7vPRf9Mpic.twitter.com/fef3D5pmJo

— 北條貴文(Takafumi Hojoh) (@hojoh0419) March 14, 2016

When can we expect the first official trailer for The Last Jedi?

April 13.

Two weeks after the title of The Force Awakens was announced, the first trailer was revealed. Some fans took that as a precedent and looked two weeks ahead from the announcement of The Last Jedi‘s title (on January 23), to the Super Bowl, one of the biggest events in the American sports (and TV) calendar. Sadly, the first trailer for The Last Jedi was not shown during the game on Sunday, February 5.

The next obvious date for a teaser to land is April 13, 2017 – the first day of Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida.

Who is in The Last Jedi?

The usual suspects: Luke (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), plus returning characters Snoke (Andy Serkis), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and even the wise old character of Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) who might have been presumed dead and gone in The Force Awakens if it weren’t for this on-set photo from Episode 8 director Rian Johnson.

The late Kenny Baker has been replaced by Jimmy Vee in the part of R2-D2. In The Last Jedi there is also an actual Usual Suspect – in the form of Benicio Del Toro – who is believed to be playing a new badass villain. If he’s anything like the The Collector he portrays in Guardians Of The Galaxy we’re in for a treat of the first order.

If reports are to be believed Obi-Wan Kenobi is likely to return too. Other than that, Jurassic Park star Laura Dern is rumoured to be playing a Resistance leader, while Rogue One director Gareth Edwards will also get in on the act with a cameo. Tom Hardy is tipped to make a cameo as a stormtrooper, too. He all but confirmed this in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter –  “I don’t know if I can even say that” when asked if the rumours were true. He added: “The internet is a glorious web of deceit and misinformation, isn’t it?”

Obi Wan Kenobi, rumoured to appear in Star Wars Episode 8

Will Carrie Fisher need to be CGI-ed?

No.

Carrie had finished filming Star Wars: Episode 8 before she died at Christmas time. What her death will mean for future Star Wars films is currently unclear. It has been reported that Disney executives have met to discuss what impact her death could have on the series. Though her Episode 8 filming was finished, Episode IX is still in pre-production, and she was reportedly being set up for a prominent role in that instalment. This may mean that her role in Episode 8 could change to accomodate any later plotlines. Disney have now confirmed that they will not be “digitally recreate” Fisher for the film; “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.”

Will The Last Jedi be like The Empire Strikes Back?

Initially Adam Driver said it had a tone “similar” to Episode 5 which fans took as gospel. But he quickly backtracked to clarify his comments, stating: “What I said was the tone of it was different, I didn’t say that it was gonna be in the vein of [it]— I was using it as an example, so poor example.”

Though he’s known for dark sci-fi epic Looper, director Rian Johnson, appears to be reining in the idea that The Last Jedi will be especially dark: speaking to USA Today he said, “I want it to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.”

But John Boyega has promised darkness, saying: “Rian Johnson is great. It’s a different take, darker, bigger. Someone will say: ‘How do you get bigger than Force Awakens? But it’s crazy.”

Original Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has given possibly the most accurate hint so far: “These movies will all be so different,” he has said. “Johnson is a friend of mine — he’s going to make some weird thing”.

What else do we know about the plot?

We’ll pick up directly from where The Force Awakens ended on Ahch-To, and we’ll later see a brand new planet.

In a recent interview, Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, said that his character’s “humanity” will be explored more in Episode VIII.  Speaking to Larry King, Driver said: “Even though it’s very much a blockbuster movie, there was no taking that for granted and that we were forced to be general. There was a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one, that we get to explain more in the second one, to make both of them make sense. But they do kind of feel socially active to me, and George Lucas originally, a lot of Star Wars was in response to Vietnam and a lot of what I remember talking about with JJ and Rian was this idea of terrorism, and two sides being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get whatever they thought was absolutely correct.”

Johnson has confirmed that the backstory of the main three protagonists – Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron – will be explored more fully in The Last Jedi. The director, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, has said: “I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. 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.”

Speaking specifically about Rey’s story, he said that she will form a strong connection with Luke Skywalker: “It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives.” He has also said that family is “a huge part of especially Rey’s character, something that was a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this.”

What spoilers and rumours are out there?

Rey loses an arm. In an appearance on the cult podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno, Daisy Ridley was asked if her character would be injured in the new film. She replied: “Injured emotionally or physically? I’ll say… yes.” Fans are theorising this means that she, like Anakin and Luke before her, will lose a hand in the new film. Star Wars YouTuber Mike Zeroh said in a video that a contact of his “saw Daisy Ridley on set… what he caught on her left arm was that it was actually covered by a green screen sleeve.”

There’ll be a scene with dismantled lightsabers. Mike Zeroh, that Star Wars Youtuber again, claims he was sent an email from a source who previously passed on accurate details about The Force Awakens. The email details a scene where Luke is training Rey on the importance of lightsabers. Luke pulls Rey’s lightsaber from her hands using the force, floats his own lightsaber and dismantles both before her very eyes. A battle between Luke, Rey and Kylo’s Knights of Ren has also been rumoured. We are likely to learn more about Rey’s mysterious origins too – and why Luke fled the Jedi Academy.

Benicio Del Toro will play Rey’s father – a Jedi from Star Wars RebelsThis theory is quite out there, but the idea is that Del Toro will play a character from the animated Disney series Rebels, which is set five years before Episode IV: A New Hope. The theory imagines that Del Toro will play the older version of Ezra Bridger – a Jedi padawan in the show – who would be about the same age as Luke Skywalker at this point. The idea is that he’s gone bad: Redditor Darth_Hodor believes he will have joined Snoke and “together they start manipulating the Jedi starting with Ben Solo. Foreseeing this, Luke hides Rey from her father, and in retaliation Ezra, through or with Kylo Ren, destroy[s] the Jedi Academy. Luke flees and Del Toro is left without knowing where his daughter is hidden.” Rogue One was the first Star Wars film to bring a character from an animated series to the live-action films – Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) was in The Clone Wars – which means there’s now precedent for it to happen again with Ezra from Rebels. But it’s a pretty far-out idea – Del Toro could just be playing a brand-new character.

Where will it be filmed?

Skellig Michael and Pinewood Studios have already been confirmed, but if leaked fan photos are to be believed, also Dubrovnik in Croatia (as seen in many a Game Of Thrones scene) and Mexico.

New behind the scenes shot of Luke Skywalker on the set of Star Wars: The Force… https://t.co/itUlABMofM pic.twitter.com/XbeffdamXZ

— Jason Ward (@MakingStarWars) February 25, 2016

What questions does The Last Jedi need to answer?

1. Who is Lor San Tekka and how did he acquire the star-chart?

Max von Sydow plays Lor San Tekka. He gives Poe Dameron part of the star-chart showing where Luke is, and he seems to be an elder in the village of Tuanul on the desert planet of Jakku. That’s the same planet Rey lives on, but far enough from her that she probably wouldn’t know who he is. It could be, though, that he knows her, and is living on Jakku to keep an eye on her for someone – possibly Luke.

We know he regards Leia highly – he says to Poe, “to me [Leia] will always be royalty”. Lor also knows Kylo Ren, as their conversation covers their shared history and how old Lor has become. What’s never revealed is why and how he has the part of the star-chart that leads to Luke. Did Luke leave it with him?

We don't learn much about Lor San Tekka in the Force Awakens. Who is he?Lucasfilm/Disney

2. Is Finn Force-sensitive? How will he fit into The Last Jedi?

All the trailers seemed to indicate that Finn was our new Jedi, but when push came to shove he was just a bit rubbish fighting Kylo Ren. That said, it would’ve been a bit weird for Maz Kanata to give the lightsaber to a complete randomer, so possibly she sensed the Force in him too. Unlike Rey he’s not a dab hand at mechanics or problem-solving, but as a gunner he excelled in the Millennium Falcon (with Rey) and the TIE Fighter (with Poe) so possibly he’s got some more surprises up his sleeve. If not, he’s provided the film with a lot of the film’s heart – and laughs. For instance…

Thumbs up for a Monday morning! 😉#mondaymotivation #StarWarsTheForceAwakens #bb8 #BB8Awakens pic.twitter.com/2HPLUshKgf

— Victoria Tait (@vicky_tait) December 21, 2015

3. Where did the First Order really come from? What about the Resistance?

JJ Abrams has actually spoken about the origins of the First Order: “What would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again? What could be born of that? Could The First Order exist as a group that actually admired The Empire? Could the work of The Empire be seen as unfulfilled? And could Vader be a martyr? Could there be a need to see through what didn’t get done?”

But what do they control? Some fans think that the Republic is in control of much of the galaxy, but some regions of space are under the influence of the First Order. This would mean the Resistance are the Republic-backed, ex-Rebellion forces living in those regions – which would add up, considering we don’t actually see anyone representing the Republic itself in the film.

4. Where is Snoke? Who is Snoke? Actually, why is Snoke?

Is Snoke a massive being, or it just his hologram that’s self-aggrandisingly enormous? If he’s really that big, any battle against him in future films will look ridiculous, right?

Snoke remains a figure shrouded in mystery. What more will we learn about him in The Last Jedi?Lucasfilm/Disney

What kind of alien is he? He’s got some pretty funky scars and seems to be pretty old, so he would have been around during the time of the Empire. But how did he get control of the First Order? Where’s he based now? And why the hell does he have to be CGI? So many questions.

5. How did Snoke corrupt Kylo Ren? Before or after he killed all the padawans?

The story goes that Kylo Ren killed all the young Jedi who were training at Luke’s Academy, but why did he suddenly go mad, and when? Was Snoke already in control of him, making him do it, or did he do it and then run away to join Snoke?

Some have guessed that he grew fanatically obsessed with his grandfather Darth Vader while he was in training, and went to find his body. Perhaps he fell in with the Knights of Ren at that point, and returned with them to kill all the other Jedi-lings later, to Luke’s horror.

6. What is the extent of Kylo Ren’s power?

He’s doing things we’ve never seen before in the Star Wars films – he can force information out of people’s minds. He can stop blaster fire in mid-air. No lightning, though. Is that something Snoke hasn’t taught him yet?

The battle between Rey and Kylo Ren put the latter's powers to the test. Will we see his powers grow in The Last Jedi?Lucasfilm/Disney

7. Why does Kylo Ren keep feeling ‘calls from the Light’?

One of the weirdest lines in the movie is to do with Kylo Ren feeling the call of the Light – as if it’s as corrupting a power as the Dark Side. His childish tantrums suggest he’s happy to give himself wholly to anger, but he still seems to feel remorse. Why does he feel it? Could it be the lasting influence of a character like Obi Wan?

Could the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi be behind Kylo Ren's 'calls from the light'?Lucasfilm/Disney

To combat this feeling, he offs the man who made him in a stark, beautifully cinematic scene, but the remainder of the film suggests that even that won’t rid him of his sense of morality. The main arc of this trilogy, alongside Rey’s development, seems to be the redemption of Kylo Ren – who, as some fans have pointed out, took his new name from ‘sKYwalker soLO’. Neat.

8. Who are the Knights of Ren, really?

Where do they come from? Do they all serve Snoke? Where are the others? What are they doing? Are they part of the First Order or something different? We’re counting on The Last Jedi to tell us more.

9. Will the Republic survive the Starkiller blast?

The star system the Starkiller weapon destroyed was the capital of the New Republic – apparently called the Hosnian system. How significant was the loss? And if it was, what the hell is the Republic going to do now?

Hosnian Prime was destroyed in The Force Awakens. Will the Republic survive in The Last Jedi?Lucasfilm/Disney

10. Are there more Starkiller weapons? What do they do once a star has been fully ‘drained’?

The Starkiller seems to be at a loose end once it’s used up a star. Are there others around the galaxy? And do they move the planet-sized weapon somewhere else when it’s destroyed a star? Hmm.

11. Where does Hux come from?

He’s pretty young, but he’s already in a very senior role, and he looks like he’s going to be in The Last Jedi too. How and why is he in that position? We might find out more in the next film.

General Hux's origins have yet to be explored in The Last JediLucasfilm/Disney

12. What has Luke – ‘the last Jedi’, as the opening crawl called him – actually been doing for 30 years?

Seriously.

@eflow_freeflow and my favourite memory was wen yoda training luke #StarWars pic.twitter.com/JWJDKViV1D

— John_D (@johndowdall87) December 19, 2015

Same goes for Leia, really. How long had it been since she’d seen Han Solo? And how long ago did their son kill all the young Jedi? Some of their backstory was overly spelt out, while some of it we’ll probably never know.

13. Why exactly was R2-D2 dormant the whole time?

Maybe it was just convenient for the plot that the map to Luke didn’t get pieced together until the final minutes, but perhaps it can also be explained with Rey’s vision. The shot of the hand on R2-D2 seems to show Luke’s robotic fingers. Perhaps he was commanding/forcing R2-D2 to shut down until he came into contact with a Jedi (Rey) who could come and find him. Alternatively, perhaps Luke somehow felt Rey’s power awaken when she was escaping Starkiller base, and remotely activated the droid using whatever power he shut him down with.

14. What was going on elsewhere in that vision Rey had?

Fun fact: Both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness’ voices are used here. Guinness’ dialogue for ‘afraid’ has been cut to say, “Rey”, while McGregor recorded whispered dialogue for “these are your first steps” – the line that closes the vision Rey has when she touches Luke’s (and Anakin’s) old lightsaber.

Elsewhere in the montage sequence she runs down a First Order corridor, gets saved from murder by Kylo Ren and his band of merry Knights, and then is abandoned on Jakku at a young age, shouting “come back!” at a departing ship.

There are many interpretations of Rey's vision in The Force Awakens.Lucasfilm/Disney

Fans have speculated that she was among those training at Luke’s Jedi Academy, but was not killed because of her youth. In fact, looking at the clip again it seems as though Kylo Ren saves her from being killed by another Knight – perhaps Kylo Ren refused to kill the child, killed the Knight who tried to do the deed, then took her to Jakku, wiped her memory and left her there, hoping she would never discover her connection to the Force.

15. Who are Rey’s parents?

Rey tells BB-8 her parentage is ‘classified’ in the film. She may be Luke’s daughter. At the end of the film Luke seems to be standing by a grave – some fans think it’s a ceremonial one created for Rey, who Luke believes Kylo Ren killed years before. This would suggest she’s descended from Anakin Skywalker – Darth Vader – but there’s also a theory that Rey is related to Obi Wan Kenobi.

Rey is a mysterious figure in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Who are her parents?Lucasfilm/Disney

If it wasn’t Kylo Ren who abandoned her on Jakku as a child, perhaps it was Luke, putting her safety before her happiness in the hopes that Kylo Ren and Snoke would never discover her there, and telling her to wait there until someone came back to get her. Which would be never, in the end.

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