A long time ago...
It's going to be a long wait for Star Wars 8. The Force Awakens has given fans a new hunger for Star Wars and although we'll soon have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to tide us over, the fact remains that Episode 8 (currently using the working title of Space Bear) is still 15 months away at best.
Still, filming is now done and director Rian Johnson has started the arduous editing process, which means we have a pretty good idea who will be appearing in the sequel. We've got some confirmed familiar faces returning, some intriguing newbies who will be joining the Star Wars universe, plus the odd hunch/guess/rumour about other roles, so get clicking and find out who will be starring in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode 8.
Daisy Ridley is Rey
Last time we saw Rey she was about to have words with the one and only Luke Skywalker (presumably stern ones about what a mess the galaxy has become since he took off). We now know that Episode 8 will definitely pick up where The Force Awakens left off so we should get to see exactly what those words are.
It's also safe to assume that the sequel will see Rey learning the ways of the Force, as Luke did from Yoda, but whether she becomes a Jedi or not remains to be seen. Daisy Ridley has said herself that she's not sure (I'm confused how she doesn't know), but we know she's spent a lot of time with Mark Hamill filming in Ireland where they shot the final scenes from The Force Awakens.
The other thing we'll probably find out about Rey in Star Wars 8 is who her parents are. It was made clear in the first movie that this was important - she talks about how she has to remain on Jakku to wait for them and relives the moment she was abandoned during her Force vision - so it's a good bet that we'll find out who's she's related to in this movie. Could Luke be her Dad? Maybe she's Obi-Wan's granddaughter? Or perhaps Kylo Ren's twin sister? So many theories, so little time.
Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker is going to be in Star Wars 8! And not just in it for mere seconds at the end. Like, actually in the movie with dialogue and everything. Daisy Ridley has said: "It's such a good story, seriously. Luke is so cool in this one." It's safe to say that Mark Hamill will have a big role in Episode 8 and Luke is clearly meant to be the Obi-Wan figure of the new Star Wars universe.
Now Rey has found him she will, presumably, be keen to learn the secrets of the Force. We know that that the pair stay on Ahch-To for a while, but will Luke eventually leave with Rey to take a more active role in the fight against the First Order? We'd hope so because we really want to see him reconnect with his sister (and hopefully not snog her this time).
Sadly, there have been some persist rumours that this might be the final time we see Mark Hamill in a Star Wars movie. Since wrapping on the sequel, the actor has made more than one comment that seems to imply Luke dies, talking about how he's "out of work" once he finishes Episode 8. We know the new trilogy isn't shy about killing off iconic characters (*sob*), but nothing's been confirmed so don't start writing your angry letters to Disney just yet.
John Boyega is Finn
Poor old Finn. Last time we saw him he was recovering from his injuries at the hands of Kylo Ren. So, is he all better in Star Wars 8? "We did at some point joke that it would be great to just have him be in a coma for the whole movie and keep cutting back to him." Rian Johnson told fans at Star Wars Celebration Europe. I'm pretty sure they ditched that idea though as John Boyega was back filming quite a lot not long after the start of production.
Of course, if our assumptions are correct he's actually going to be separated from his main co-star in The Force Awakens - Daisy Ridley. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but what's Finn going to think when he wakes up and Rey is gone? Will he sulk? Will he find a new BFF? Will he take off with Poe? Maybe.
John has also hinted at a larger role for the former-Stormtrooper in Star Wars 8, stating that his part in the film will be much more physical and that's he's spending a lot more time in the gym. Sounds like Finn will be going after the First Order with a vengeance. Then again, there's also the possibility that there might be romance on the cards, but it might not be what you're thinking. "Finn and Rey – they’re just friends." John told Variety. "The romance thing is something that’s going to be interesting in the next instalment. It’s not going to go the way you think it’s going to go." Intriguing.
Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron
Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron was initially suppose to be killed off early in The Force Awakens, but the hotshot pilot lived to steal TIE Fighters another day. Now he's back for Star Wars 8 with a bigger role according to the actor. "In the new film, there's a lot more to do," Oscar told Rolling Stone. "What happens now is the heroes get tested. All three of them," he added, noting that Poe, Rey, and Finn will all "get tested immensely".
We still don't really know much about Poe (although he does have a last name, unlike Rey and Finn), but one thing many fans seem keen on is the idea of a romance between him and Finn. Given what John Boyega said about romance in Episode 8 in the previous slide, it could happen.
Either way, we know things are going to change for Poe (and everyone else) in the sequel with director Rian Johnson shaking things up. "Rian is definitely going to places and investigating things that haven’t really been done in the 'Star Wars' universe." Oscar told the LA Times. "For me, it’s so fun getting to explore different things that I wouldn’t have expected in this universe." He added: "Certain things we get to play with – this kind of intimacy that we get to find – it's special. It’s been really fun." We can't wait to see what he means.
BB-8 is BB-8
Good news people. Everyone's favourite new Star Wars droid will be returning for Star Wars 8. One of the few characters to not have a human anywhere inside it, BB-8 will be playing BB-8... with the help of a vast technically team of course.
What can we expect from the cheeky droid now he's been reunited with Poe then? Isaac told Rolling Stone that the lovable droid is "doing all right," adding, "BB-8 gets tested too! Everybody gets tested! It's the dark second chapter, but not really dark." So, it sounds like BB-8 will be in danger once again, but we shouldn't be too worried about him. I'm sure he'll find a way to save the day.
Adam Driver is Kylo Ren
The Force Awakens' main villain will be back for the sequel after his defeat at the hands of Rey, and the murder of his father Han Solo. But how will these two things effect him? Surely he'll be eager to prove himself to Supreme Leader Snoke and seek out Rey for revenge? Some rumours have suggested that he will go looking for his former Jedi master Luke where he'll fight Rey once again.
Unlike a lot of main characters from The Force Awakens, we actually know a fair amount about Adam Driver's Kylo Ren. We know who his parents are, we know how he was trained as a Jedi... but one thing Episode 8 does need to fill us in on, is what turned him from Luke and to the dark side?
We'll also see more of the Knights of Ren in the sequel, and possibly find out what happened to them. Kylo Ren's buddies only appear in Episode 7 for a few seconds, but a leaked scene description for Episode 8 suggests there'll be a big fight between Kylo Ren and his Knights, and Luke and Rey.
But possibly more intriguing is whether Kylo Ren can be saved. We know he still feels the pull of goodness. Han tried to bring him home and made the ultimate sacrifice. Will Luke, Leia, or maybe even Rey have more success?
Harrison Ford is Han Solo?
But wait, Han Solo is dead, right? Yes, I've seen the movie, but there's always a way around that in the Star Wars universe. It's unlikely Harrison Ford will pop up as a Force ghost given that Han was never a Jedi, it's even more unlikely he'll return from the dead (this isn't Supernatural), but we're going to have to find out about Kylo Ren's turn to the dark side at some point. Queue: flashback!
Ok, that would be pretty unusual for Star Wars, but Obi-Wan Kenobi was featured in Rey's Force vision in The Force Awakens so it could happen. Plus, Carrie Fisher let slip at Star Wars Celebration Europe that Han's funeral will be part of Star Wars 8, so we might even see a very still, lying down Han then as well... although they would have had to find his body, which would be tricky.
The strongest evidence that Han Solo will be returning for Star Wars 8 is that a casting call for the movie was released soon after The Force Awakens came out and it included Harrison Ford's name. Now, it could well have been a mistake, but it could equally have been a mistake that it was released at all and Disney and Lucasfilm are really angry with someone for leaking the fact that Han Solo really is going to be back for the sequel. Never say never.
Carrie Fisher is General Leia Organa
Speaking of Carrier Fisher, we do know for sure that she will be returning for Star Wars 8 to reprise her role as General Leia Organa. Rumour has it that her screen time will be minimised though after she's attacked early on in the movie, but on the plus side, we'll reportedly get to see her use the Force.
One of the complaints from hardcore fans is that we never see the Force side of Leia in Episode 7, and given that Luke is her brother, it makes sense that she would have developed this side of herself just as much as the military leader. "The really cool thing about the sequence is that Leia survives only because she uses the Force," the leak goes. It sounds like we'll be getting a much more action-packed Leia this time around, even if it is only for a short time.
Peter Mayhew/Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca
Fans everyone speculated that Chewbacca wouldn't be returning for Star Wars 8 after he was oddly missing from the initial cast announcement, but thankfully it looks like that was just a mistake as Peter Mayhew has been confirmed to be reprising his signature role of Chewie for the sequel.
Chewbacca is obviously going to be suffering the loss of Han in the upcoming movie, and as it kicks off where The Force Awakens ended, he'll probably be hanging out with Like and Rey on Ahch-To. Plenty of Star Wars 8 set photos have been released showing the Millennium Falcon right where we left it at the end of Episode 7, so no doubt the Wookie will be close by.
Presumably, Finnish actor Joonas Suotamo will also be returning for the new movie after taking on a number of Chewbacca's more action-packed scenes during The Force Awakens, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Gwendoline Christie is Captain Phasma
The much-hyped Chrometrooper received a lot less screen time than we anticipated in The Force Awakens, and seemed to meet her doom via a trash compactor at the end of the movie. But don't despair - it's been confirmed that Gwendoline Christie will return as Captain Phasma for Star Wars 8.
How you ask? Well, we're not entirely sure yet, but Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told the LA Times that the leader of the First Order's Stormtroopers will definitely be back in action, adding: "She's an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word."
There's been many comparisons between Captain Phasma and the original trilogy's Boba Fett - both characters being fan favourites, and both being shamefully under-used (so far) - but with at least one more movie to go, Phasma will have the chance to flex her chrome muscles once again. But seriously, how did she survived the destruction of Starkiller Base?
Domnhall Gleeson is General Hux
If the original trilogy taught us anything, it's that you can never have too many baddies, which is why Domnhall Gleeson's General Hux kept Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke company on #TeamDarkSide in The Force Awakens. Despite the destruction of Star Killer Base at the end of the movie, it seems the red-haired officer will be returning for Star Wars 8 as he scarpered just in time. Remember the random First Order technician who runs away shouting, “We won’t survive — even Hux has gone”?
Director Rian Johnson confirmed General Hux's return during a Twitter Q&A where he was asked by a fan if there would be any red heads in the movie. He replied by tweeting a picture of General Hux. Granted Snoke isn't going to be very pleased with his deputy given that once his plan failed, Hux abandoned Star Killer Base and save his own skin. And we doubt his relationship with Kylo Ren has improved any. Someone's going to have to prove himself.
Could this mean we'll see a lot more from Domnhall Gleeson in the sequel? Here's hoping. His performance as the straight-laced First Order officer who seriously disapproves of Kylo Ren was excellent, but just like Captain Phasma, we didn't see as much of him as we would have liked.
Andy Serkis (and a lot of CGI) is Supreme Leader Snoke
When planning any great movie trilogy, you don't want to give everything away in the first film. So, while Supreme Leader Snoke made an appearance in The Force Awakens, it was definitely Kylo Ren's movie as far as the Dark Side is concerned. That's probably all going to change in Star Wars 8 though.
Now is the time for bigger and more evil villains and Andy Serkis' Snoke definitely meets that description. Epsiode 8 will hopefully see us discover a bit more about the bad guy - we know that he's Force-sensitive, hates the Resistance, and is responsible for Ben Solo's fall from the Light Side. But why?
His plans will hopefully come more into view in the next film but, to be honest, I'd just settle for a clear look at him. All we got in The Force Awakens is a big, blurry hologram. Is he human? Big? Small? We don't know. But if the series follows the rough shape of the original trilogy, this should be the episode where we actually meet him face-to-face. Are you scared?
Anthony Daniels is C-3PO
The older Star Wars droids may not have had as big a role in The Force Awakens, with newcomer BB-8 rather stealing their thunder, but it wouldn't be Star Wars without them. We know C-3PO will be back because Anthony Daniels has been threatening to release the story to Star Wars 8 on Twitter.
After reading the script, the actor tweeted: "Just read Ep VIII and thought I'd share the story with you because I know you can't wait to hear it too. You do want to hear it. Don't you?" I'm guessing he was joking, but that didn't stop fans from tweeting at him YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS.
In the end, director (and writer) Rian Johnson had to reply to his tweet with a funny picture of Han Solo putting a hand over C-3PO's mouth from the original trilogy. I think he got the message.
Jimmy Vee is R2-D2
While R2-D2 was played by original trilogy (and prequels) actor Kenny Baker in The Force Awakens, news broke that Jimmy Vee would be taking over from him for Star Wars 8 before Episode 7 had even been released. At the time, fans speculated it was because the 81-year-old actor might struggle with the sequel's more demanding role (after all his part in The Force Awakens was pretty small). Sadly, this appears to be the case as Kenny Baker died earlier this month, but while friends and fans alike paid tribute to the actor, I'm sure he'd be happy to know Jimmy Vee is taking over his iconic role.
So, what's in store for the droid. Well, when we left him at the end of The Force Awakens he'd woken up after a nice long nap and joined Rey and Chewie in their journey to find his former master Luke Skywalker. The Metro reported that Jimmy had been spotted filming on Skellig Michael in Ireland with Mark Hamill so could it be like old times? Will R2-D2 watch Luke train Rey in the ways of the Force, the same way he watch Yoda train Luke? Maybe.
Lupita Nyong'o is Maz Kanata
Another mo-cap character from The Force Awakens who will be returning for Star Wars 8 is Lupita Nyong'o's wise alien Maz Kanata. While an earlier draft of Episode 7 saw Maz join Han and co on their mission - eventually leading Maz to place Luke's lightsaber in his hands - this version was scrapped leaving her fate ambiguous by the end of the movie.
We're pretty sure she survived though as director Rian Johnson has posted a set picture featuring Lupita Nyong'o and Maz Kanata to his Tumblr. So, what will she be up to? Well, with her castle destroyed, could she be keeping General Leia Organa company at Resistance headquarters? Like Snoke, she's an ancient and powerful being so would definitely be an asset to the Light Side. While Rey is training with Luke, the Force-sensitive Maz may be guiding his sister, Leia. Either way, we suspect she may prove to be one of Rey and co's most important allies.
Benicio del Toro is ?
And so we get our first new name cast in Star Wars 8. Benicio del Toro was the first actor to be announced for the sequel who wasn't in The Force Awakens, and although his role was originally a bit of a mystery, Benicio has since let slip that he's playing a villain.
During an interview with Spanish radio station RAC1, he said: “Star Wars is coming up, we will see how that turns out. I think we start shooting in March… They don’t let me talk too much about it. I’m like the villain… But we’ll see”.
There have been more leaks since then detailing his character but as we can't verify them at all, take them with a pinch of salt. In fact, if you'd like to go in not knowing, look away now. Stormtrooperlarry.com revealed:
Benicio del Toro: Said to be a former bounty hunter turned politician in the Republic. He survived because he was offworld during the destruction of Hosnian Prime. According to the leak, Kylo Ren will kill him off later in the movie.
Laura Dern is ?
Another new cast member comes in the form of Laura Dern who is probably best known for her role in Jurassic Park. Again, we had no idea who see would be playing originally, but if the leaks are to be believed...
Laura Dern: Take this one with a massive grain of salt, her character is one Asala Qurd. She plays the role of a Republic military officer commanding a capital ship. She reportedly butts heads with Leia Organa, including a scene where she says “The daughter of Darth Vader has no right to lecture me!”
As one of the senior surviving brass, Laura is said to take command of the Resistance after the Republic world falls and Leia gets severely wounded during the evacuation. According to a previous leak, she and Poe will then have a confrontation about their future course of action. Laura wants to hide and consolidate forces, whereas Poe wants to rescue a captured Finn and take the fight to the First Order.
Kelly Marie Tran is ?
Kelly Marie Tran is something of a newcomer, being best known for her stint working on College Humour Originals. A talented comic actress, she reportedly beat the likes of Tatiana Maslany and Gina Rodriguez to the part, so she's obviously playing someone of significance. But really, she could be playing anyone, from a Resistance fighter to one of the Knights of Ren.
Once again, here's what the leaks have to say if you want to know:
Kelly Tran: Rumored to play the Resistance spy Shtala Zi, she is Leia’s contact on the relocated capital of the Republic. Shtala has evidence linking Del Toro’s character to the First Order, and Poe and Finn are tasked with making contact. Later on, Shtala and Finn will have a romantic adventure in the city. Finn will fall for her, only to be betrayed by Shtala as she is revealed to be a double agent for the First Order.