Just six months ago Star Wars fans were given an answer to what happened after the Rebels won the battle of Endor and Darth Vader was defeated. We now know that Han and Leia went on to have an offspring and a subsequent fallout in their relationship which had disastrous ramifications. The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, fled into a self imposed exile as the ideas of the force became even more mythic. Lastly, we know that the remains of the empire were reorganized into the menacing First Order. While the first chapter of the sequel trilogy answered many questions, it also left many to be pondered. As we continue this trek into the Lucasfilm’s most productive year, we have to question what should we expect for the next episodic chapter of the saga.
WARNING…Possible Spoilers Ahead. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Principal photography of Episode VIII wrapped in late May of this year and the project is now entering the post production stage of the film. With about eighteen months left until the December 2017 release, Lucasfilm has plenty of time to make this second act even more stunning than the first. Little has been officially revealed about the film, yet tons of rumors and set leaks have been the glue that continues the internet buzz for this project. In this article we will look at a few possibilities that are highly likely, official confirmations, and my take on all of it.
Releases on December 15, 2017
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis will return to reprise their roles from The Force Awakens.
New cast members will include Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran in unnamed roles.
Billy Dee Williams will return as Lando Calrissian.
Episode VIII will take place immediately following The Force Awakens.
Rey and Luke will face off against Kylo and the Knights of Ren in a major battle.
Leia will finally show her force abilities, yet be present for only a small role in the film.
The opening sequence will mirror, via the Ring Theory, the battle of Hoth as the resistance is attacked while relocating.
Poe’s connection to the force will be examined in relation to his parents receiving a portion of the Jedi Temple’s tree, as seen in Marvel’s “Shattered Empire” comic series.
Tom Hardy will cameo as a First Order Stormtrooper who encounters Finn.
Luke will reveal Rey’s parentage. She may potentially be a reincarnation of the first Jedi. Many theorists tend to think that Rey may be born of the force in a way similar to Anakin Skywalker.
Hayden Christensen will return to reprise his role as Anakin/Darth Vader.
At this point, buying into any of the speculations are difficult. While many of them seem plausible such as a possible Lando cameo, Hayden’s return as Anakin (not Vader), or even Mad Max as a stormtrooper; there are others that seem like a long shot. The formula of the saga is that several years pass between episodes to allow for some off screen development of the characters and storylines. This is done so that the second and third acts feel more active and less expositional. Don’t get me wrong, The Force Awakens was a quickly paced film that didn’t drag at all for me; but in looking back at Episode I and A New Hope, both have way more expositional “set ups” than AOTC or ESB did. If the story of VIII does pick up and continue immediately after Rey’s encounter with Luke, then I would expect that Episode IX will follow suit.
Rey’s parentage is the most widely discussed topic of all Episode VII speculations. The idea of Rey being born of the Force in a way similar to Anakin would be okay in my opinion, but then we are still left with the question of who left her on Jakku and why does so much Luke-esque imagery appear during her introduction in The Force Awakens. The idea that Rey and Luke will battle the Knights of Ren seems to be a given for me. Will it happen on the mountainside with the ferocity described in many rumors? Who knows, but I feel confident that this encounter will happen.
Luke and Rey are not the only two who I think will showcase their abilities of the force in this upcoming chapter of the Sequel Trilogy. Will it be Leia? Poe? Finn? Leia seems the most likely given her genetic background and the fact that it was explicitly stated that the force was strong with her during Luke’s confession in the Ewok camp of Endor. Poe was apparently raised in a home where the remains of the Jedi Temple’s force tree grew, so perhaps his intuition and skill as a pilot will be explained as the force that exists within him. As a huge fan of Finn, I would most like to see him have another crack at honing his saber skills and learning to use the force if it does reside in him. I tend to believe that he was chosen as the sentinel of the Skywalker saber for a reason and that,even though he lost against Kylo in the snow forest battle on StarKiller base, Finn has a larger role to play as far as the light side of the force is concerned.
There you have it, so far. While little has been confirmed and lots more speculated; we are left in wonder of what is to come. The next eighteen months are sure to be as exciting as the past two years have been. I for one am looking forward to every possibility to consider.