Disney didn’t need to say anything about Star Wars: The Last Jedi other than that it exists and will be in theaters on December 15, 2017 to guarantee that it will probably be the biggest hit of the year. After The Force Awakens made the world fall in love with Star Wars all over again and Rogue One further solidified confidence in the franchise’s direction, The Last Jedi doesn’t even need marketing. Between Rian Johnson of Looper and Breaking Bad fame directing and the return of almost all the actors from Force Awakens, including the late/great Carrie Fisher, details about the actual content of the movie are unnecessary to get hype going.
While it will pick up in the months leading up to its release, as of August 2017, early marketing for the movie has embraced executive producer J.J. Abram’s “mystery box” ethos, enticing without giving away many details. Officially confirmed details of the film’s plot are scarce, but brief flashes of footage in teaser trailers and vague hints from people involved in the production have inspired many rumors and fan theories. Here is a list of seven things confirmed for sure about The Last Jedi, plus eight of the most intriguing rumors and fan theories.
Potential SPOILERS abound
15. FACT: IT STARTS RIGHT WHERE FORCE AWAKENS LEFT OFF
The Force Awakens ended on a huge cliffhanger, with Rey finally discovering Luke Skywalker’s location and handing the aging hero his old lightsaber. Audiences wanted to see what came next immediately. Even as hardly any facts about The Last Jedi have been officially confirmed, one of the biggest details known to be certain is that the film picks up immediately from The Force Awakens‘ cliffhanger.
This is a major change from Star Wars tradition, where the distance in time between films in the main series has always been measured in years rather than seconds. Filling in the timeline gaps is where those iconic opening scrolls come in. How they handle that series staple when there’s no big changes to be filled in on remains to be seen.
14. RUMOR: REY’S PARENTAGE
The most debated question following the release of The Force Awakens was that of who Rey’s parents could have been. Is she Luke’s child? J.J. Abrams debunked that theory, claiming Rey’s parents do not appear in Force Awakens, but Abrams has been known to lie about his projects’ mysteries (see his claims that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness wouldn’t turn out to be Khan).
What if Obi-Wan’s the grandfather? That theory has picked up a lot of steam. Obi-Wan didn’t appear in Force Awakens, but his voice could be heard saying Rey’s name in the flashback sequence, which could be a hint. There’s also the possibility that Last Jedi is going to be really similar to Empire Strikes Back and Rey’s parents will turn out to be on the Dark Side. Of course, they could always just be some random nobodies.
13. FACT: A DARKER FILM AKIN TO THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Every movie trilogy tries to sell their middle instalment through comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back, by which they typically mean their sequel is darker than the previous movie and that they hope that you’ll think it’s better. When a new Star Wars movie is being compared to Empire, though, that’s extra reason to pay attention.
The biggest criticism of Force Awakens was that it was a glorified remake of A New Hope with a fresh coat of paint. The most reasonable worst case scenario for Last Jedi is that it’s basically the same sort of remake for Empire, but considering Empire is often cited as the best Star Wars film, that’s still pretty good for a worst case scenario. In the best case scenario, Last Jedi doesn’t copy Empire, but embodies its ambitious risk-taking spirit.
12. RUMOR: REASON FOR LUKE’S EXILE
Other than Rey’s family, the most debated and theorized about aspect of The Last Jedi‘s plot pre-release has been just what’s going on with Luke Skywalker. Why did he disappear? Plot summaries reveal he’s on the planet of Ahch-To at the first Jedi temple to study history, but what’s his reason for this? Why did he abandon everyone?
His line in the teaser trailer, “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end,” gives hints as to what his self-imposed isolation might be about. It would appear that Luke has turned sour on the Jedi; based on this, it’s rumored that a major focus of The Last Jedi will be about the problems with the Jedi order. Perhaps it’s about the true balance in The Force, rather than the Light Side triumphing over the Dark Side, that’ll save the day in this trilogy.
11. FACT: THERE WILL BE A LOT OF LEIA
Even if The Last Jedi wasn’t one of the darkest Star Wars movies, it would still undoubtedly be one of the most emotional to sit through for one major reason: it’ll be the last film to star Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Lucasfilm has wisely decided against using the uncanny valley CGI necromancy they did on Peter Cushing in Rogue One for Fisher, so it’ll be a send-off for the character as well as a swan song for the beloved actress.
Leia is confirmed to have a major role in the film. Fisher was doing additional photography in October 2016, two months before her death, in scenes designed to expand her part. Leia’s said to be a sort of surrogate mother for Poe Dameron. John Boyega says the film sends her off in “an amazing, amazing way,” and that through these films “she lives forever in a sense.”
10. RUMOR: KYLO REN WEARS VADER’S CAPE
Kylo Ren was perhaps the most interesting new character in The Force Awakens, which is saying something considering the cast of that movie. One of the many intriguing aspects of his personality was that he was the villain as obsessive fanboy, hopelessly trying to match his grandpa Darth Vader. The Last Jedi looks to be taking up his fanboyism a few notches.
His new costume, as shown briefly in the Comic Con behind-the-scenes footage, appears to be a sort of Darth-cosplay, with a familiar-looking cape. But is this cape just a stylistic imitation, or is it, as rumored, the actual cape worn by Darth Vader? Kylo Ren already has the broken mask in his possession, so it’s not unlikely he might have other parts of Vader’s iconic costume lying around his First Order ships.
9. FACT: ROSE TICO IS THE BIGGEST NEW ROLE
In addition to all the returning cast, The Last Jedi introduces a few new characters. Laura Dern plays Resistance officer Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, while Benecio Del Toro plays DJ, “a shady character of unclear allegiances,” whose real name hasn’t been revealed yet (insane conspiracy theory time: what if he’s somehow playing The Collector and the MCU is also the Star Wars universe? *MIND EXPLODES*). The biggest new role, however, is confirmed to be Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran.
Rose is a maintenance worker for the Resistance who sees Finn as a hero for standing up against Kylo Ren. Finn, still unsure of his place among the Resistance after abandoning the Stormtroopers, doesn’t see himself the same way. The relationship between the two characters is said to be a major part of the movie.
8. RUMOR: REY GETS A DOUBLE-BLADED LIGHTSABER
This rumor’s is almost entirely speculative, and it wouldn’t be the least bit shocking if it doesn’t come true. However, with Rey’s regular weapon being a staff, and a viral video of Chloe Bruce, Daisey Ridley’s stunt double, showing off just how impressive her staff-fighting abilities are, fans have been predicting, or perhaps just hoping, that Rey will be the first character since Darth Maul to wield a double-bladed staffsaber on-screen.
Promo art for the Battlefront II video game (pictured above), showing Rey holding her lightsaber oddly and appearing next to Maul, had fans further speculating about this possibility, though further looks at the game have shown Rey using a normal single-bladed lightsaber. While Rey is confirmed to be using Luke and Anakin’s old lightsaber for much of the movie, could she modify it in ways that fit her fighting style?
7. FACT: SUPREME LEADER SNOKE REVEALED
Supreme Leader Snoke was a mysterious presence in The Force Awakens, only appearing as a giant hologram giving messages to his underlings in the First Order. With Ren being sent to train with him, however, we’re guaranteed to see a lot more of Snoke in The Last Jedi, and we’ll meet the evil mastermind in person.
Rumors went around that the physical Snoke would be done through practical effects, unlike the motion capture used for the holograms, but Rian Johnson shot that rumor down. While a physical model was used for lighting tests, the character will be entirely mo-capped by Andy Serkis. Maybe a disappointment for practical effects junkies, but considering Serkis is the best in the business at mo-cap acting, hopefully he’ll have a lot to dig into.
6. RUMOR: CAPTAIN PHASMA UNMASKED
One of the biggest disappointments in The Force Awakens was how it pretty much wasted Captain Phasma. A giant Stormtrooper in shiny chrome armor played by Gwendolyn Christie from Game of Thrones should have been a highlight of the movie, but she was dispatched quickly and somehow upstaged by a guy yelling “Traitor!” The Last Jedi, however, is said to expand her role.
Rumors abound that this expansion will involve Phasma being unmasked, allowing Christie to get some extra emotion out of her performance. When interviewed about her part by Entertainment Weekly, Christie neither confirmed nor denied this rumor, but hinted that the film would delve “deeper” into her character. The actress also had a part in developing Phasma’s backstory, which will be the subject of the novel Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson.
5. FACT: ROMANCE WILL HAVE TO WAIT
The Force Awakens was filled with young, attractive new characters, so of course fans shipped them in every combination. Fueling enthusiasm were comments by Oscar Isaac that he played Poe’s relationship with Finn as a “romance.” Poe and Finn becoming the first gay couple in a Star Wars movie (R2D2 and C3PO don’t REALLY count) would be monumental. Alas, fans will have to wait. Producer Kathleen Kennedy has stated on the subject, “We’ve talked about it, but I think you’re not going to see it in The Last Jedi.”
It seems all romances, gay or straight, are being put on the back-burner. Rian Johnson stated one of the big differences between Last Jedi and Empire is that, “there is no one-to-one equivalent of the Han-to-Leia burning, unrequited love in our story.” There might be flirting, and certainly some chemistry, but romance will have to wait until at least Episode IX.
4. RUMOR: ROYAL CAMEOS CUT?
Everyone wants to be part of Star Wars, and The Last Jedi is set to continue the tradition of allowing celebrity fans to make stealth cameos under Stormtrooper masks. Tom Hardy’s cameo has long been confirmed. British Princes Harry and William, however, kept their cameo under wraps for a while. Photos emerged from their set appearance back in 2016, but the cast and crew played coy about whether the Princes had a cameo until a BBC Radio 4 interview with John Boyega on August 18, 2017.
Tired of keeping secrets, Boyega confirmed that the Princes did film a cameo appearance in the film. However, he kept an air of mystery whether the cameos would be in the finished film, stating “I think they took that scene out.” Was this a joke, a misunderstanding, or confirmation these cameos are gonna be relegated to the deleted scenes section of the Blu-Ray features?
3. FACT: PORGS ARE THE BEST
What’s this? An opinion included in a list of facts? Sorry, but this is not up for debate. The porgs, those big-eyed beakless birds revealed as part of Entertainment Weekly‘s August Last Jedi cover story, are objectively amazing. They’re some of Luke’s only companions on Ahch-To, they’re inspired by the puffins on the island of Skellig Michael where they shot the movie, they have some sort of relationship with Chewbacca and they’re freaking adorable.
Some people might have skepticism regarding the combination of Star Wars and cuteness. The ewoks, for example, have long proved divisive. But everyone loved BB-8 (who appears alongside porgs in a Youtube short), and the Star Wars movies are still essentially aimed at kids. If The Last Jedi is as dark as they say it’s going to be, audiences will need some relief, and the porgs should provide that.
2. RUMOR: BACK, YODA IS
If this rumor is true, this is something of a major spoiler, one that Disney is trying to keep hush-hush. But rumors have spread that Yoda makes an appearance in The Last Jedi, presumably as a Force ghost, though there is the possibility of some kind of flashback scene. Adding fuel to the fire, Frank Oz, the Muppeteer who voiced Yoda, was noted to be on the film’s set in April of 2016.
Variety interviewed Oz about it in March of 2017, and his answer was revealing: “I feel like I’m a prisoner at war here… I have to say I’ve been asked not to talk about it. I love Yoda. I would be happy to talk to you about it at the time they let me.” That sort of answer leans towards him keeping SOMETHING secret…
1. RUMOR: OBI-WAN THAT I WANT
In addition to Yoda, other Force ghost appearances have been rumored. Hayden Christensen as Anakin almost had a cameo in The Force Awakens, and YouTuber Mike Zeroh has claimed to hear from an inside source that Christensen has recorded a few lines from the film, but if he cameos it’ll likely be limited and voice-only. The current run of Star Wars movies have been heavy on the fan service, and reminding people of the prequels’ interpretation of Anakin could be considered fan disservice.
Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, however, is better liked, and seems like a fairly safe bet to appear as a Force ghost. Disney has intentionally held off on making Obi-Wan spin-off movies for now because there’s still more for audiences to learn about the character within the main series. If the theory that he’s Rey’s father turns out to be true, this could make for some pretty dramatic scenes.
What facts and rumors have YOU heard about The Last Jedi? Share it up in the comments!
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