Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Ahch-To's mysterious inhabitants, D23 rumours, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts: 

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi release date: December 15, 2017
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Benicio Del Toro, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran
  • Writers: Rian Johnson

Update: July 14 - Fresh info about the mysterious guardians of Ahch-To

Things have quietened down on the news front ahead of the D23 Expo this weekend, but MakingStarWars.net, as ever, are on it. This small but lovely bit of info comes is about Porgs, the birdlike guardians of Ahch-To, where Luke, Rey, R2-D2 and Chewbacca are at the start of The Last Jedi.

The article mentions a cute scene where one of the creatures lands on R2's head. For anyone experiencing Jar Jar related palpitations as they read this, remain calm: to me, the Porgs feel more like the Ewoks. And while they weren't the coolest thing in the original trilogy, they did help us understand more about the likes of Chewy and C3PO. There's something nice about seeing peripheral Star Wars characters interacting with the weirder elements of the Star Wars universe. It builds personality, and brings levity to an episode that could otherwise be rather dark. Give Porgs a chance, yeah?

Update: July 14 - New footage incoming at D23 Expo?

Maybe. There's not much to go on, but we know that Rian Johnson will be at the event, and there's no Star Wars panel at San Diego Comic Con 2017, suggesting this would be the perfect place to reveal something new and Star Wars-y. We're unlikely to get a new trailer, but pay attention to the Live Action Film panel on Saturday - we may get a recut version of the old trailer with some snippets of fresh footage. Truthfully, it's more likely we'll get a name for the troubled Han Solo movie, and some other nice info. How about *whisper it* some Obi-wan movie news, please? 

***Original article continues below***

We might not be approaching the final trench run for The Star Wars: The Last Jedi just yet, but we certainly know where the Death Star is. We have the plans. We know the weaknesses. We’ve seen the Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser trailer; we’ve got a beautiful, enticing poster; and we've had some beautiful, revealing shots of the cast via Vanity Fair, all of which you can find below. You’ll also find cast details, plot speculation and comprehensive page of the best Star Wars: The Last Jedi theories.

Star Wars 8 director is indie sensation Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson is writing and directing. Don’t know who he is? He wrote and directed the excellent and utterly unique Brick in 2005, a brilliant, hard-bitten film noir pastiche set in a high school. He also did brutal time-travel fable Looper in 2012, so between the two he couldn’t be a better fit for what’s inevitably going to be the darker middle section of the trilogy. Also, his first short film was called Evil Demon Golf Ball From Hell!!!, which sounds like nothing if not an exasperated casual slur for a Death Star. 

Johnson revealed that Luke Skywalker is at the heart of the Star Wars 8 story. Speaking to USA Today, he explained that, “what’s going on with Luke Skywalker?” is the central question surrounding the upcoming movie. He also said that he wanted Star Wars 8 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.” Less like a bleak reflection of Empire Strikes Back than many were expecting, then, but still exciting. 

He’s also uncompromising about to delivering his vision. Johnson decided that the scar Kylo Ren got fighting Rey at the end of The Force Awakens looked goofy, so he fixed it. If you thought Kylo Ren looked different, well spotted. 

Star Wars 8 release date is December 15, 2017

At the moment we’ve got a release date for the UK and US of December 15, 2017, although bizarrely, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia can apparently catch it a day earlier on December 14. There are some reports that it will be released a day earlier than originally planned in the UK, though, but nothing has been confirmed by the studio yet. Premieres for The Force Awakens happened four days before the US cinematic release, so you should be on full spoiler alert for Episode 8 from December 11 onwards. Seriously, turn the internet off.

It’s a shame they moved the original May 26, 2017 release date - we could have already watched it 10 times by now and it means we’re missing out on the ‘May the Force’ jokes - but the prospect of another Star Wars Christmas makes up for it. Let’s hope we head to Hoth for all the festive feels.

The Star Wars 8 trailer is here!

Well, the teaser trailer is, at least. We finally got to see it at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, and while it's not going to break all-time internet records – or eclipse the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens which reached 17.7m YouTube views in 24 hours – the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer hit a not-too-shabby 16.8m views in just under a day. You can watch it below, and don't miss our list of 10 questions we have after watching The Last Jedi trailer.

There are also rumour of another trailer, detailed on MakingStarWars.net: the BBFC has classified a new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the evidence suggests it's different from the one we saw in April. 

It makes some sense, although official sources have suggested another trailer is a long way off. There's a chance it could just be what we've seen already, but shorter. Either way, we'll be expecting something new at either the D23 Expo on July 15, or San Diego Comic Con on July 22. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Vanity Fair images are incredible

Vanity Fair has released a stack of new Star Wars: The Last Jedi photos, and they're basically incredible. I've included them in a gallery below, but hit the link if you want to see them in their uncropped glory. Not only do they reveal details about loads of things we've speculated about below - such as Benicio Del Toro's man in black, and Laura Dern's magnificent hair - but they're worth staring at if only to marvel at the absurd talent of photographer Annie Leibovitz. Seriously. Every single one is a work of art.

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Star Wars 8 costumes revealed for Kylo Ren and Rey

We now know what Rey will be wearing in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, thanks to special skins revealed as part of a Star Wars Battlefront 2 pre-order bonus. As you can see, it's very Qui-Gon Jinn. You might scoff and say "robes, innit?", but it's actually  the hair that's the biggest hint. Does this hint at a narrative link to everyone's least favourite JedI? Probably not, but it's a strong look nonetheless.

There's another snippet of information we can glean from the same piece of promotional art. Kylo Ren's outfit has changed slightly - his hooded cloak has been replaced by a flowing black cloak reminiscent of Grandpa Vader. This links to prior speculation that Ren would be wearing the cape in homage to his Dark Side relative. How did it manage to survive being burned at the end of Return of the Jedi? Who knows. Maybe Vader had spares. But it's very in character for Ren, and would be a smart throwback to the earlier films. 

Star Wars 8 cast has a few surprise names

Everyone who isn’t dead is coming back, and yes, that does include Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma. Let’s break down all the new characters:

We’ve got more details about Benicio Del Toro's mysterious man in black, but you might might want to skip this paragraph if you want to go into the movie spoiler-free. MakingStarWars.net reports that Del Toro's character is a grimy, suspicious mess. Here's where it gets really cool, though: his ship is apparently completely at odds with the character. While he's an unkempt wreck, his craft is positively luxurious, putting the Millennium Falcon to shame. The suggestion here is that he's part of a jailbreak, and that Finn and Kellie Marie Tran's character are busting him out - which explains his appearance. Either that, or his character is deliberately not who he seems - a classic Star Wars twist we've seen before with Yoda and Obi-wan.

We finally know who Kelly Marie Tran will be playing in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She’s a new hero called Rose, but she’s not an ace pilot or an steely bounty hunter - she's part of the Resistance's maintenance crew. That simplicity is part of her appeal, according to Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson - it’s the encouraging idea that anyone can step up and become a hero. 

The positively regal Laura Dern is apparently playing someone “very aristocratic”. And, as anyone who’s seen any Star Wars films knows, this is code for ‘hair that looks like an exotic pastry’. Except that in Laura Dern’s case, her hair is pink. Dern revealed in an interview with Yahoo News that she won't even tell her own children who she's playing. This is partly because she want to save her children the constant, probing questions from their friends. Obviously, I'm going to speculate wildly and assume that the level of secrecy is because she's A Big Deal. Did someone say Rey's mum?

Warwick Davis is back, because it wouldn't be Star Wars without him. 

Also appearing in unconfirmed roles are the astonishingly wonderful Gugu Mbatha-Raw; and, most bizarrely of all, eccentric British comedy legend Ade Edmonson appears in a super-secret role.

Elsewhere, Yoda voice actor Frank Oz was suspiciously coy when asked about about The Last Jedi. When questioned about the film in a Variety review, the legendary actor and puppeteer replied, "I’ve been asked not to talk about it." It might mean nothing, or it could hint at a fascinating flashback. 

And finally, there's no positive way of spinning the loss of an icon like Carrie Fisher, but at least we know we'll get to see her as Leia Organa one final time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that her role in the upcoming movie is whole and untouched, and the episode remains unchanged following her death.
 

Star Wars 8 - Han Solo to return?

Harrison Ford has never been officially confirmed as being in the cast, but his name did briefly appear on a casting call document for the film, before swiftly disappearing after the entire internet shouted “Look! Harrison Ford’s name on an Episode 8 casting call document!”. The late Carrie Fisher let it slip during the Star Wars Celebration that there may be a funeral scene for Han, and multiple sources are reporting that an attempt will be made on Leia’s life during the funeral. 

Star Wars 8 plot will continue where the last film ended

For the first time, a Star Wars sequel is going to continue right from the end of the previous film. In fact, the end of The Force Awakens was changed to accommodate this. The Last Jedi director told Entertainment Weekly that he asked JJ Abrams to change the ending of the The Force Awakens. BB-8 was originally going to accompany Rey to Ahch-To, but Johnson wanted R2-D2 to join her instead. It’s intended to echo the events of The Empire Strikes Back, in which R2 went with Luke to train on Dagobah. It’s a cool touch that recalls George Lucas’s famous line about poetry. Except this time it’s actually true.

We know that Daisy Ridley has been back to shoot a continuation of her climactic meeting with Luke Skywalker, and we also know that said scene will start off Luke’s full-scale return to the story. Hamill said recently that Luke will be far chattier this time - he didn’t have a single line in The Force Awakens - and the stuff he says will be worth listening to. “Rian Johnson is amazing. His dialogue will make you forget ‘May the Force be with you’.” That’s a bold claim.

We also know that Finn’s feeling better in Star Wars 8, thanks to a prolonged spell in a bacta tank, but there are internet rumours about him being paralysed. Truthfully, he’s probably not. Apparently, Finn heads off with Poe Dameron and Kelly Marie Tran’s informant character to track down the assailants who attacked Leia at Han’s funeral. It bears many similarities to a script that leaked earlier this year, which hinted at a possible traitor inside the Resistance. If handled correctly, this could be a great foil to the mystical stuff happening with Rey and Luke, as well as a smart way to broaden the scope and introduce new characters. 

Word is that the enigmatic Knights of Ren are going to make a far more explicit appearance this time around, engaging in open battle in an apparently ‘massive’ set-piece. We’ll get no more specific than that here, but full details can be found via this link right here, should you have no respect for the power of surprise. Expect more Snoke, too - a spoiler dump on Reddit has been picked up by Nerdist.com. It suggests that Leia might have a showdown with Snoke at the star of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It suggests that Leia is captured by Captain Phasma early in the film - which ties in with the rumour above that she's attacked during Han's funeral - and it leads to a face-to-actual-face showdown with the Supreme Leader. Leia, or course, isn't having any of his fire-damaged-Lego-faced tomfoolery. You simply don't mess with her.

Star Wars 8 name is Star Wars: The Last Jedi - but what does it mean?

We know that the next movie in the Star Wars series will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but the bigger question is ‘what does that mean?’ The fact that Luke is ‘the last Jedi’ is explicitly referenced in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens, but international translations of the Star Wars 8 name suggest this may no longer be the case. The title also directly relates to a line spoken by Luke the teaser trailer - he wants the Jedi order to end. If that’s the case, it’s hard to argue against the title being explicitly about him. The suggestion here is that the Jedi Order wasn’t enough to stop the Empire, so Luke is looking for a second path that incorporates elements of both the Dark and Light side of The Force - the so-called Grey Jedi we’ve talked about before

Star Wars 8 poster hints at the themes of the film

The first Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster was revealed at Star Wars Celebration, and it’s a wonderful throwback to the older posters. Rey is striking a very similar pose to the one seen in the New Hope poster, taking the place of her new mentor. Kylo Ren’s positioning, opposite Luke, is also significant, as is the stark contrast between red and blue. Again, this hints at the conflict between the Light and Dark sides of the Force. You can expect more artwork to arrive before Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released - the final poster for The Force Awakens appeared on October 18, 2015, just two months before the theatrical release. 

Star Wars 8 soundtrack will be brilliant, because John Williams

John Williams didn’t score Rogue One, but we do know he’s started recording the Star Wars: The Last Jedi score. Why was he so keen to do it? “I didn't want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley,” says Williams. It’s a huge relief. John Williams is Star Wars. You can almost hear everything you need to know about Rey in the theme Williams wrote for her.

Star Wars 8 set photos? We've got literally every single one (UPDATED)

What's that? You'd like to see every single Star Wars 8 set photo on the internet? Oh, go on then. After the jump you can find over 50 fresh snapshots from every sneaky fan, royal visit, and friendly, over-sharing director - some spectacular, some tame, some barely recognisable.

Star Wars 8 opening crawl has already been revealed

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

A photo posted by @riancjohnson on Jan 24, 2017 at 10:06am PST

There’s was never really any doubt about this one, but it’s nice to know it definitely exists. Star Wars: The Last Jedi definitely has an opening crawl, because we’ve seen it. Well, a tiny bit of it, anyway. The next time we see it for real will be when we’re sat in the cinema on December 15 and OH GOD SOMEBODY HOLD ME.

Star Wars 8 spoilers CAN be avoided

Even though it’s all a bit speculative at the moment, there’s loads to talk about. We’ve had glimpses of aliens and costumes, and we also know where it’s being shot. There are also the inevitable Freudian slips, which give us tantalising glimpses of what it all might mean. If you’re really determined to spoil something, some of the script may have leaked, and you can read Luke’s dialogue here, along with some speculation about what it might all mean.
 

In the meantime, if you want to go years without any Star Wars talk at all, consider Star Wars blocker - a handy app that scorches any reference to upcoming films, like the Death Star destroying Alderaan. Listen carefully and you’ll feel a great disturbance in the internet; as if millions of Star Wars spoilers cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. It might also be worth muting Mark Hamill, if you can bring yourself to do something so disrespectful to a living legend: he hinted in a tweet that he’ll be back for Episode 9, but you never can tell with Hamill. He’s an enigma in Jedi pyjamas.

Star Wars 8 theories range from brilliant to bonkers

We've got loads of these - so many, in fact, that we've done an entire page of Star Wars: The Last Jedi theories. Click on to read a mix of hopeful speculation, leaked info and baseless rumour. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi rumours hint at Luke Skywalker getting sh*t done in an epic final act

Star Wars: The Last Jedi sees Luke's lightsaber change hands: it's now officially Rey's 

John Boyega says that in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Finn has finally become "a big deal"

New Star Wars: The Last Jedi characters played by Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern revealed in set photos

New Star Wars: The Last Jedi promo promises "The most shocking truth in Star Wars history"

Is Luke a gray Jedi in Star Wars 8? Let’s examine the evidence

Luke Skywalker's new necklace in Star Wars: The Last Jedi could be hiding a big family secret
 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will "reveal a lot more about" Poe Dameron
  

Here's what happens in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer – including Luke’s first words to Rey

Is Luke a gray Jedi in Star Wars 8? Let’s examine the evidence

The first footage of Star Wars: The Last Jedi shows Rey training, and viewers are pumped

The Daisy Ridley/Josh Gad Star Wars spoilers saga has the perfect celebrity-filled ending