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If you were a die-hard “Star Wars” fan and loved “Force Awakens,” chances are you’re hungry for updates on the next episode in the saga, ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII.”
Star Wars Celebration Europe, which took place in London in July, revealed some interesting information about the film. Since then, others from the cast (and a few rumors) have given us a further idea of the movie, which is currently in post production.
Below is everything we know so far about the movie (which comes out December 15, 2017), from the mouths of stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, and writer/director Rian Johnson.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
Not familiar with Rian Johnson? He directed the hit sci-fi movie “Looper.”
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Get ready to hear the name Rian Johnson a lot throughout the next year. Though he’s only made three feature films going into “Episode VIII,” those movies include stunning works like the modern-day film noir “Brick” and sci-fi mobster movie “Looper,” which have shown he’s ready for the largest stage in filmmaking.
Looking to take a deeper dive? Here’s more about Johnson you need to know.
Johnson spent six weeks at the Lucasfilm headquarters, Skywalker Ranch, figuring out the “Episode VIII” story.
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At Star Wars Celebration, Johnson revealed that while writing the script for “Episode VIII,” he spent six weeks at Skywalker Ranch. But he wasn’t just taking inspiration from the grounds that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas walks. He also had an eye on “The Force Awakens.”
“We would watch dailies come in from ‘VII,'” Johnson told the Celebration crowd. “It was probably really healthy creating the story based on our reactions to the footage rather than the cultural reactions. It was a unique experience.”
The movie will start right where “The Force Awakens” ended.
Before principal photography began in London on “Episode VIII,” Johnson and his crew took actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) to Skellig Michael, the island where the final scene of “The Force Awakens” took place, to shoot an extension of the scene.
That will be the opening of “Episode VIII,” according to Johnson.
“I don’t want to skip ahead [after] that last moment of ‘Episode VII.’ I want to see what happens next,” Johnson said.
This has sparked an interesting conversation among fans. Will there be an opening crawl in “Episode VIII”? There are typically months to years between “Star Wars” episodes, so the crawl brings the audience up to speed. Johnson did not say if there will or will not be a crawl in the new movie.
It will focus more on the core characters, with fewer shoutouts to the “Star Wars” legacy.
Many fans and critics took notice of all the hallmarks from the original trilogy in “The Force Awakens.” Lucas said Disney described it to him as a movie “for the fans.”
But it sounds like that will change at least a bit in “Episode VIII.”
“The second film is where we zoom into the characters, getting to the heart of them and challenging them,” Johnson said.
Though Leia, Luke, Han (more on him below), Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 will all return, it sounds like for this episode we’re going to get deeper into the new generation of characters.
New cast members include Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran.
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There are no details yet on the characters these actors will play in the movie, but we’re excited by the possibilities.
There could be a Han Solo funeral scene.
If you’re still shaken up by Han’s death in “The Force Awakens,” it sounds like you can have some closure in “Episode VIII.”
Carrie Fisher let it slip during Celebration that there will be a funeral scene for Solo.
Moderator Warwick Davis asked Fisher what she knew about what went on with her character and others between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens,” but she clearly thought the question was about what happens after “Force Awakens.”
Fisher answered, “Han’s funeral.”
She quickly fixed the mistake, but there’s a very good chance we’re going to see a proper send-off for Han in “Episode VIII.”
Luke Skywalker will speak this time (a lot).
Mark Hamill was also at Celebration, and the actor told the audience that Luke will definitely have dialogue in the new movie, unlike what we saw in “Force Awakens.”
“I was looping [recording additional dialogue] ‘Episode VIII’ yesterday,” he said. “Rian Johnson is amazing. His dialogue will make you forget ‘May the Force be with you.'”
Now that’s quite a statement.
Adam Driver says the movie has an “Empire Strikes Back” tone.
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While promoting his next movie “Paterson” at the Toronto International Film Festival, Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) told Collider that “Episode VIII” feels like one of the best films from the original saga.
“It’s similar to how ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ has a different tone,” said Driver. “For that people always go ‘oooh, it’s dark’ but I don’t know that it necessarily is. It’s just different in tone in a way that I think is great and necessary but also very clear. [Johnson] trusts [that] his audience is ready for nuance and ambiguity. He’s not dumbing anything down for someone and that’s really fun to play.”
We could see more flashback scenes.
According to Making Star Wars, rumors on set and documents the site has seen show that Rey’s vision of Luke in hiding that happened in “The Force Awakens” won’t be the last. The site reports that kids were cast in “Episode VIII” to play young Padawans, which could be part of a flashback scene where Skywalker is teaching the Force.
We might see The Knights of Ren.
- From “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
The most feared group in the galaxy under the order of Supreme Leader Snoke and lead by Kylo Ren might get screen time. Star Wars News Net posted a story with an aerial shot from an “Episode VIII” set in Ireland that shows a large group of people gathering. A source described the scene as The Knights of Ren disrupting Jedi training.