Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Star Wars 8 name revealed, 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: January 23, 2017: Star Wars 8 name revealed!

The Star Wars 8 name has been revealed! The next movie in the Star Wars franchise will be called Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Update: January 16, 2017

Rian Johnson has revealed that Luke Skywalker is at the heart of the Star Wars 8 story. Speaking to USA Today, Johnson 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.” That sounds less like a bleak reflection of Empire Strikes Back than many were expecting.

On a similar note, Star Wars 8 might be getting it’s own cuddly creature in line with the Ewoks, or, more horrifyingly, Jar Jar. A rumour on MakingStarWars.net suggests that Luke Skywalker has been sharing his time on Aach-To with creatures that resembles, “a bird mixed with a Gremlin”. So a Furby, then. Apparently the creature doesn’t immediately warm to Rey, which could lead to some excruciating buffoonery, but then Luke and Yoda went through a similar experience when they first met in Empire, too. 

Finally, this is the first big update to this since Carrie Fisher sadly passed away on December 27, 2016, and Disney has addressed how the trilogy will work without her. It doesn’t affect Star Wars 8 because shooting already finished, but it has repercussions for the final movie. The three options that seem most likely are script rewrites, scene reshoots, and/or the use of CG. Her passing has also had a huge effect on the remaining Star Wars 8 cast. Laura Dern recently told ET that the Star Wars series was a part of Carrie Fisher “in her heart and her soul”, and said that witnessing her legacy as Leia was, “an incredible gift.”

Update: December 16

With Rogue One finally in cinemas, it’s official: the next time we visit a galaxy far, far away, it’ll be to see Star Wars 8. That’s why we’ve gathered all the latest Star Wars 8 news in one place, so you can read through our none-more complete compendium of everything you need to know, and gorge yourself on information like a Sarlacc hype monster. 

***Original article continues below***

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, which not only took the entire scenario deadly seriously, but delivered its detective story with non-stop, brow-furrowing intensity and hefty emotional suckerpunches. 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. He’s even directed three episodes of Breaking Bad.

This is a hell of a creative director with a brilliant instinct for the horrible, and by his own admission, the first stories he ever created were told through his Star Wars action figures as a kid. That’s the great thing about the sequel trilogy. We’re finally getting Star Wars made by the generation that grew up on it. Legendary Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has promised Johnson’s Episode 8 will be “weird”, and JJ Abrams is also executive producer, and has been working with Johnson since episode 7. Johnson’s been frustratingly tight lipped about it all so far, but we do know filming has finished and he’s deep into the editing process (while listening to the Steve Miller Band, apparently…)

Star Wars 8 release date is 15 December 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. Everybody else will have to wait another agonising day. 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 - there’s an extra seven-month wait 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.

Star Wars 8 trailer is coming in a few months

We’ve previously speculated when the Star Wars 8 trailer would land through a mix of maths, speculation, and (probably) The Force. The Star Wars 8 release date is almost in line with The Force Awakens, and the first teaser for The Force Awakens arrived on November 28, 2014. Given that logic, we should already have seen something by now. But wait! There is good news.

Lucasfllm President Kathleen Kennedy recently said we might see a Star Wars 8 trailer “soon” - possibly around Spring 2017 - once Rogue One is completely out of the way. May the 4th would be the obvious choice, but the first proper trailer for The Force Awakens was shown at the annual Star Wars Celebration on April 16, 2015. The 2017 event takes place in Orlando, on April 13-16. If we haven't seen anything by then, I’ll be amazed (and sad like a bereaved rancor handler). Of course, if Adam Driver had his way, we wouldn’t see anything at all. Good luck with that, Adam.

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. Benicio Del Toro has been confirmed officially, and he also let slip that he’ll be playing a villain - exactly the kind of loose-lipped interview tomfoolery you can get away with when you’re as cool as Benicio Del Toro. We also know that the amazing, underused-because-she’s-a-woman-over-40 Laura Dern is in. Dern has never been anything less than eclectic and delightful, in a career that’s spanned everything from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet to Jurassic Park. 

Del Toro is described as a classic “man in black”, who sounds like he might double-cross John Boyega’s Finn. This ties into another rumour, detailed below, which suggests an espionage side-story for Finn and company. Likewise, Kellie Marie Tran’s character will apparently be “tangled up with Finn,” perhaps as part of the same story. Finally, 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. It sounds like a smart nod to the brighter, more exotic prequel trilogy, but let’s hope the similarities start and end with Laura Dern’s rosy bouffant.

Warwick Davis is back too, 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. On a sadder note, this will be the first 'main' Star Wars film to not feature Kenny Baker, who passed away on August 15. Actor Jimmy Vee is taking his place in Star Wars 8.

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!”. Is he in the film? Was his inclusion just a mistake? Was his inclusion the other kind of mistake, where it is supposed to be there, but no-one’s supposed to know, so you hastily delete it once the entire internet starts shouting?

Carrie Fisher let it slip during the Star Wars Celebration that there may be a funeral scene for Han. (Let's hope someone is there to console Chewy.) Multiple sources are reporting that an attempt will be made on Leia’s life during the funeral, and Leia allegedly kicks her would-be attackers using the goddamn Force. It’s the first time we’ve seen her use it, so take it with a Hutt-sized pinch of salt, but it’s a tantalizing thought.
 

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. Feels odd to consider this has never happened before, but there’s always been a gap of months or years between episodes. Not this time. 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.

Adam Driver has also confirmed that the First Order is still ‘at war’, and remains undiscouraged following their defeat in The Force Awakens. If the film follows the cycle of the original trilogy - and there’s every suggestion it will - we can expect Episode 8 to be a bleaker, less triumphant story. Add to this the introduction of Benicio Del Toro’s new villain, and the completion of Kylo Ren's training, and Star Wars 8 could show a significant counterstrike by the bad guys. Driver recently likened the tone of the Star Wars 8 script to The Empire Strikes Back. This doesn’t just mean it’s darker - a word that gets thrown around with little meaning or purpose - but that there’s depth and ambiguity in Rian Johnson’s script that recalls everyone’s favourite Star Wars film. “I learned a lot of things about my character through his writing", says Driver. Hopefully we will too. 

 We also know that Finn’s feeling better in Star Wars 8, thanks to a prolonged spell in a bacta tank. While the main story is likely to be about Rey and Kylo, Finn apparently has a side plot worthy of exploration. 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. More importantly: who doesn’t want to Poe, Finn, and Kelly Marie Tran carrying out some cheerful intergalactic espionage? Nobody writing this feature. 

As for the other matter, 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 - recent rumours suggest he’ll play a bigger part, and - get this - there might even be a massive, intricate puppet of him. It’s a thrill for anyone who enjoyed the chunky practical effects of original films and JJ Abrams's The Force Awakens.  

Oh, and the Millennium Falcon has been spotted on set at Pinewood Studios, specifically at the recreated Jedi temple built there after bad weather made filming everything at the original Irish location infeasible. Not a huge surprise, given that the Falcon is how Rey gets to the temple in the first place, but who doesn’t like looking at new pictures of it?

Star Wars 8 name revealed - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

We know that the next movie in the Star Wars series will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so everything follows is a history lesson. The working title for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was ‘Space Bear’. There’s little logistical importance to this fact - unless the Ewoks have build starships out of timber and moss - but I’m leaving it in because the concept of Space Bears warms my Hoth-like heart.

Previously, I speculated that a recently-filed trademark from Lucasfilm might relate to the Star Wars 8 name. Website AVSForum spotted a trademark for something called ‘Forces of Destiny’ on the website for the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The list of items it applies to includes toys, clothing, office supplies, and - here’s the thing! - a motion picture. If it is Star Wars 8, it’s the worst hidden secret in the history of the franchise. Other potential Star Wars 8 names out in the wild included Star Wars: Tale of the Jedi Temple - which sounds a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure spin off - Fall of the Resistance, and Star Wars: The Order of the Dark Side.

Star Wars 8 poster is almost a year away

The poster for The Force Awakens appeared on October 18, 2015 - just two months before the theatrical release. That means we’ll probably have to wait until October 2017 before we see official artwork to go with the film. However, we did see some snazzy Drew Struzan art from D23 Expo in August 2015, which cunningly hid Rey’s big reveal as a Force user. We can expect something before the official poster release, then - we just don’t know what. In the meantime, treat your eyes to the gorgeous official art from Star Wars Celebration. Yum.

Star Wars 8 soundtrack will be brilliant, because John Williams

John Williams didn’t score Rogue One, but he confirmed in August that he will be scoring Episode 8. The reason? “I didn't want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley.” His name wasn’t mentioned in the production announcement for Episode 8, which led some fans to speculate that he wouldn’t be involved, so this is 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 theories range from brilliant to bonkers

There's a lot of speculation doing the rounds, so to save you the time, we've analysed the five most exciting Star Wars 8 plot theories in detail, before summarising some ideas below. Perhaps the best bit about the sequel trilogy is that for most of us, it’s our first journey into the unknown regions of the Star Wars universe. Until now, we’ve known exactly what happens. 

Rey’s origin story is the subject of the juiciest speculation. My favourite theory suggests that she’s not the daughter of Luke, but the granddaughter of bearded Jedi hobo Obi-wan Kenobi. Obi-wan has a 30-year blank spot in his history, which is easily enough time to find his bae in the parched sands of Tatooine. We also hear Obi-wan’s voice in Rey's flashback - both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness - and there’s a wonderful symmetry to Rey handing back Luke’s lightsaber, echoing the events of A New Hope. Who wouldn’t want Obi-wan as their gramps? Nobody writing this article.

Another, more insidious origin story suggests Rey is descended from Snoke, rather than a Jedi. It depends entirely on Snoke’s identity - and specifically, his reveal as Darth Plagueis, a Force user capable of creating new life - but it’s a cool idea. Snoke failed to create an uber-Sith in Anakin Skywalker, so he’s having a second bite of the dark side cherry with Rey. My other favourite theory is that Kylo Ren is actually a good guy, playing the long game with the ultimate goal of defeating Snoke. Watch that scene with Han Solo again, and imagine that the only way Han can help his wayward son is by sacrificing himself. A smart, highly-unlikely twist, but a fascinating one nonetheless.

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

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 snapshots from every sneaky fan, royal visit, and friendly, over-sharing director - some spectacular, some tame, some barely recognisable.

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.

Related Star Wars 8 news 

The first Star Wars 8 trailer is on its way - here's when to expect it 

Star Wars 8 rumor says Snoke appears on-set as a massive, intricate puppet

Some of Luke Skywalker's Star Wars 8 lines have been leaked and here's what it means

Trademark suggests the name for Star Wars 8 is 'Forces of Destiny'. Maybe.

You might want a Star Wars 8 trailer but Adam Driver doesn't: "The less people know the more of an event it is"

Star Wars 8 is so secret, Mark Hamill says it's like working for the CIA 

Daisy Ridley knows the name of Star Wars 8, but she's not telling

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt is GamesRadar's senior commissioning editor. His ideal game would be a turn-based beat 'em up set in Lordran, starring Professor Layton and Nico from Broken Sword. There would also be catapults and romance. Follow him @MGElliott for Darkstalkers gifs and pictures of breakfast food.
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