Oh, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. You drip-feed us piece after piece of info, leaving us wanting a little bit more each time and then you go and dump too much onto our laps. Thankfully, it’s all here in one handy place – from Snoke, to Dark Luke and more weird aliens than you can shake an Ewok stick at.
Here’s everything from Entertainment Weekly’s big cover story and - believe me - there’s a lot to take in. So buckle up.
First up, Mark Hamill has opened up some more about Luke’s time on Ahch-To. He’s already revealed what the deal is with the last remaining Skywalker (or is he?) becoming a hermit on the island, but now’s Hamill is revealing what came before, and what could make him turn to the Dark Side.
Luke's guilt over Kylo
“[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences,” Hamill explains, “Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”
Hamill knows what happened to Luke after ROTJ - he's just not telling
“There’s massive amounts of backstory that is left to your imagination and I couldn’t do my job without figuring out what that was. Since it’s not really important to the main story as a whole a lot of it is just for my own process. I talked with Rian about it and went into this elaborate scenario of what happened to Luke after the end of the Return of the Jedi.”
Hamill's struggles with Luke shunning the Jedi (and turning dark?)
“The fact that Luke says, ‘I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end…’ I mean, that’s a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films,” before going on to say, “When I first read it, my jaw dropped,” the actor says. “What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That’s not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing.”
Luke isn’t the only one on that island, though. Rey’s there too – but it’s less of a willing mentor/apprentice dynamic than you might be expecting.
Rey on facing a 'grumpy' Luke after The Force Awakens
“Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure,” says Daisy Ridley, “Now he’s gone, and instead I’m with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn’t want me here… I don’t think one girl, who he doesn’t know, turning up with a lightsaber is gonna make him go, ‘Oh, shit, yeah, of course I’ll get back into the action’”
Finn is another deeply affected by the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not least of all because of the injuries suffered at the hands of Kylo Ren. In fact, at the movie’s outset, he’s considering packing it all in:
Is Finn done fighting on the side of good?
“It got really real for him, and he just wants to get away and not be involved. His intention in the first place was to go to the Outer Rim. He was always brought back [in The Force Awakens,], but this is his chance to get away and perhaps find Rey and go off together. He’s trying to do that at first.”
Things change, though, when he comes across ‘grease monkey’ Resistance mechanic Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Their partnership sounds like it’ll be one of the highlights of the movie, especially as the two head to, as director Rian Johnson describes, “The casino metropolis of Canto Bight on the world of Cantonica.”
On how Rose compares to Poe and Finn
“Poe Dameron is super cool. Finn’s super cool. Even though [Rose] is good at what she does, she’s not known,” Tran says. “She’s not cool. She’s this nobody, this background player, which is what makes her interesting. She’s not the best. She’s not royalty. She’s someone who is just like everyone else.”
Rose isn’t the only new face cropping up in Star Wars 8. The Last Jedi continues the tradition of introducing weird and wonderful aliens in a galaxy far, far away with the inclusion of Ahch-To’s caretakers and the penguin-esque Porgs.
Rian Johnson's inspiration for the Porgs
“If you go to Skellig at the right time of year, it’s just covered in puffins, and they’re the most adorable things in the world. So when I was first scouting there, I saw these guys, and I was like, oh, these are part of the island. And so the Porgs are in that realm.”
What's the deal with the island caretakers?
“They’re kind of these sort of fish-bird type aliens who live on the island,” Johnson says. “They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island…They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery.” As for Luke’s presence on the island? The caretakers “tolerate” him. Passive-aggressive, much?
Ahch-To is also home to more Star Wars mythology
“Hopefully it will be fun to discover in the context of the movie,” Johnson says, “My notion was this is a place that goes all the way back. This is where the cave paintings are.”
“The first designs that we had were temples, and I just kept pushing it back and saying, ‘No, think earlier, think earlier. Let’s push this all the way back and see how deep we can go into the foundations of where this all started.’”
Finally, something everyone has been eagerly waiting to see more of is Supreme Leader Snoke. Your wish is my command:
How much will we find out about Snoke in The Last Jedi?
“Similar to Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story. And a story is not a Wikipedia page,” the director says. “For example, in the original trilogy, we didn’t know anything about the Emperor except what Luke knew about him, that he’s the evil guy behind Vader. Then in the prequels, you knew everything about Palpatine because his rise to power was the story…we’ll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to.”
Snoke is all CGI
“it’s entirely a mo-cap performance,” Johnson says. “[Creature designer] Neal Scanlan built a maquette that we had on set for lighting reference and to give the actors a sense of what it was going to feel like. And then we scanned that and [Industrial Light & Magic] used that in their renderings, but Snoke will be an entirely CG creation.”
And what about those red guys?
"They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”
“[The Praetorian Guardians are] his personal guards,” Johnson says. “They stick with [Snoke]. So they’re essentially bodyguards.”
Images: Entertainment Weekly/Lucasfilm