Who are Rey's parents? What happens to Finn? Where can I get Kylo Ren's hair conditioner?! When will Star Wars Episode 8 rumours end, and the film finally answer these burning questions?
To say Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended by asking more questions than it answered is a bit like describing World War II as “a bit of a kerfuffle”. As the credits rolled, fans having just fallen in love with Rey, Finn, and the rest of the new characters were surely thinking one thing: When can I get more?
Unfortunately, there is still some time to go until the release of the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII – but details are starting to emerge from official channels, leaks and from endless fan speculation. So here’s everything we know so far.
Star Wars Episode 8 Rumours – A Spoiler Reminder
It probably goes without saying that this will contain spoilers for The Force Awakens, and quite possibly Episode 8 too. So if you haven’t seen the former and want to go in blind for the latter, go hum the theme tune or something instead.
Who is Directing Star Wars Episode 8?
After doing a top job on breathing new life into the Star Wars universe in Episode 7, JJ Abrams is taking a backseat on the sequels (according to Variety, he already regrets his decision to pass on it). He is, however, staying on as an executive producer. The thinking appears to be that he’ll stay involved and play a role similar to Kevin Feige with the Marvel Cinematic Universe – helping shape the overall narrative and franchise, but leaving camera pointing up to other directors.
Stepping into the director’s chair is Rian Johnson. He doesn’t have a huge filmography, but his previous work won much critical attention. His directorial debut, Brick in 2005, caught Hollywood's eye, and he has subsequently directed time-travel thriller Looper.
Johnson is clearly excited too. When asked about how it feels to be taking on such an iconic franchise, according to Coming Soon he responded:
“I’m just starting into it, but so far, honestly, it’s the most fun I've ever had writing. It's just joyous. But also for me personally, I grew up not just watching those movies but playing with those toys, so as a little kid, the first movies I was making in my head were set in this world. A big part of it is that direct connection, almost like an automatic jacking back into childhood in a weird way. But I don’t know, ask me again in a few years and we’ll be able to talk about that.”
The even better news? George Lucas is being kept well away from it.
Who is Writing the Script for Star Wars Episode 8?
Rian Johnson has also written the Episode VIII screenplay, and the expectation is that he might try something a bit less ‘conventional’. If The Force Awakens was a pitch-perfect 21st century homage to the original trilogy, perhaps VIII will try to switch things up a little more.
The best indication of this comes from none other than Lawrence Kasdan, the legendary screenwriter who wrote the best parts of the original trilogy and helped JJ Abrams on TFA. According to the Metro he said: “If you’ve seen Rian’s work, you know it’s not going be like anything that’s ever been in Star Wars”, adding that “Those movies will have the Star Wars saga as their basis, but everything else will be different”.
What Will Star Wars Episode 8 be Called?
We don’t know yet! The only official Disney material released has referred to “VIII”, though this is clearly a placeholder. Early rumours pointed to the film being called "Fall of the Resistance", but there's been just as much to suggest that title itself is a fake.
Who Makes up the Cast for Star Wars Episode 8?
The confirmed cast so far are everyone you might expect to return from TFA: Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaacs as Poe, Carrie Fisher as Leia, Peter Mayhew as Chewie, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Anthony Daniels as C3PO, Andy Serkis as Snoke, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Domhnall Gleeson as Hux, and Gwendoline Christie as Phasma.
We would dare speculate that BB-8 and R2D2 might put in appearances too.
Mark Hamill as Luke will also reprise his role. Perhaps they’ll even let him speak this time, if that beard doesn't get in the way.
So Far Then... So Unsurprising
Other confirmed cast so far includes Benicio Del Toro as an as-yet undisclosed villain, as well as Laura Dern (who you may remember from Jurassic Park) and Kelly Marie Tran in unknown roles.
And if you’re into wild speculation, there have even been rumours that both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen have been approached to reprise their roles as Obi-Wan and Anakin respectively. How this would work plot-wise is anyone’s guess: Will they appear as Force Ghosts? Will Rian Johnson take inspiration from Looper and introduce a time travel element in order to go back and stop the prequels from ever happening? It remains to be seen.
Incredibly, Bottom's own Adrian Edmondson is rumoured to be getting a role too. Oh, and Princes William and Harry might pop up too, following a set visit, while Mad Max himself, Tom Hardy, is thought to have a secret cameo role too.
What is the Star Wars Episode 8 Release Date?
After being initially scheduled for an 8th July 2017 release date, Disney announced that the film was being delayed until 15th December 2017. The official reason was because of script re-writes, but we can't help but wonder if perhaps because Disney saw how lucrative a largely unopposed Christmas release can be compared to a summer crowded with blockbusters?
The good news is that in the meantime, coming December 14th 2016 (this year!) is Star Wars: Rogue One, a new spin-off featuring different characters, and telling the story of an earlier attempt to steal the Death Star plans. It may even feature some bloke called Bob Feet, or something. So we’ll have that to keep us going.
How Far Into Production are They?
Principle photography for Episode VIII started on the 15th February 2016 at Pinewood Studios, just outside of London, and, as of July 11th, it's finished shooting! Mark Hamill tweeted to state that filming should conclude by July 22nd, 2016:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 2 July 2016
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 10 July 2016
With nearly seventeen months until Episode 8 lands in multiplexes on December 15th, 2017, that gives the digital art team more than enough time to insert a CGI gungan or two. Singing the praises of the crew, it seems like Mr Beardy Skywalker really enjoyed his time on set though, tweeting a tribute to his old master in the original trilogy as thanks:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 10 July 2016
When filming began, the official Star Wars website released this video showing the meeting of Rey and Luke from TFA complete with a brand new glimpse of the side of Luke’s head!
This isn’t actually the first footage shot for Episode 8 though. Unsurprisingly, given it would be stupid to take a whole crew to the island of Skellig off of the coast of Ireland just to choose 20 seconds of Luke Skywalker saying nothing, the crew there also shot some footage for Episode VIII. So a tiny slice of VIII has sat in the can, filmed and waiting for editing for some time now already.
As mentioned above too, the film has been pushed back to leave time for reshoots.
Who is Doing the Music for Star Wars Episode VIII?
“If I can do it, I certainly will,” Williams told Variety. “I told Kathy Kennedy I’m happy to do it, but the real reason is, I didn’t want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley.”
And we can't imagine anyone else writing it, John.
What Do We Know About the Star Wars Episode 8 Story?
Again unsurprisingly, Disney is remaining tight-lipped, though we can see the clues about what to expect in The Force Awakens. Presumably the film will open with Rey and Luke’s meeting – and that has led to speculation that we might find out something about Rey’s backstory. How did she end up on Jakku? Who are her parents?
And remember when Maz Kanata said “That’s a good question for another time” when asked how she had Luke’s Lightsaber? Well, Episode VIII will be another time – so perhaps we’ll learn more about her role in what is happening. Though it's now thought to have been a fake, a leaked script initially promised to reveal Rey's heritage.
There has also been speculation that Rey might receive a double-sided lightsaber a la Darth Maul in VIII, after Daisy Ridley’s stunt double was spotted practicing with a big stick. There is surely no other explanation, right?
Given the events of TFA, we can probably expect Snoke to be turning the screws on Kylo Ren a little – who is surely going to be even more emotional now he has been bested by Rey, and has killed his own father. A battle between Luke, Rey and Kylo's Knights of Ren has also been teased.
Surely too we’ll learn more about why Luke fled his Jedi Academy, and what Max Von Sydow’s character, Lor San Tekka’s relationship was to Luke and the rebels.
Have Any Photos Leaked from the Episode 8 Set?
Despite recruiting an army of drones to keep UAV photographers from spilling Episode 8's secrets, there have indeed been a number of leaked shots from the set.
As you can see from the series of images below, the movie makers have turned parts of Dubrovnik, Croatia, into an alien circus type thing.
— Mr.Wonderful (@mr1derful1) March 14, 2016
Star Wars: Episode VIII Set Pics pic.twitter.com/l8VY0w6dOT
— Christopher Priez (@CHRISTPRIEZ) March 14, 2016
— 北條貴文(Takafumi Hojoh) (@hojoh0419) March 14, 2016
There seem to be loads of new characters roaming around, and in a couple of pictures, it looks like the Landspeeder's on the verge of destruction. Though perhaps it’s just maintenance work.
In addition, the Daily Mail got hold of a selection of leaked set shots too, showing off a full-size Millennium Falcon and the area where Rey and Luke first meet. There's some weird tree / cave thing going on there too, which seems to echo the location of Luke's Vader dream-battle on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back.
Director Rian Johnson has released a couple of set photos with his blessing though, too. You can find them below.
On Friday July 8th 2016, Johnson posted another handful of Instagram snaps, which can be found here. Again, it doesn't give away much more than you could already have guessed for yourself – a close-up of the iconic Holochess table from inside the Millennium Falcon, it suggests Han Solo's hunk-of-junk will be returning to the skies even if he'll be sitting the next adventure out:
And Daisy Ridley has been getting in on the action too, sharing Instagram set snaps that appear to show Skellig Island, the location where Rey and Luke have that Force Awakens stare-off:
And while it's not necessarily a story spoiler (unless she's had half her head blown off), Ridley's also been posting her gym workouts to Instagram, which are getting increasingly bizarre as she attempts to cover up potential spoilers to do with her HAIR. So she's taken to wearing a pillow case on her head when doing weights, so as to keep whatever fancy new do she's rocking for Episode 8 under wraps:
When Will We Get a Full Star Wars Episode 8 Trailer?
It is hard to speculate about exactly when we’ll get a trailer as we don’t yet have any precedents for how Disney intends to drip-feed new Star Wars. Though we wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of short teaser isn’t dropped in after the end credits of Rogue One, Marvel style. If not, then any trailer will likely drop after Rogue One hits cinemas - so it doesn’t take attention away from that.
Is it Too Early to Ask About Episode IX Too?
Yes. But since you’re here, all we really know is that it will be released in 2019, and directed by Colin Trevorrow of Jurassic World fame. So… it might feature dinosaurs? Well, probably not, but he's teased shots actually filmed in space. Still, that hasn't stopped a small band of rebels petitioning that George Lucas be given the director's chair one final time.
The post was updated on July 5th, 2016 to reflect new information regarding the end of Episode VIII's production, new leaked set photos, John Williams' interest in the score, the 'Rey's parentage' leaked script and the potential Knights of Ren battle scene.
It was then updated again on July 6th to note the Rey hair pillow case Instagram tease. Crazy.
On July 10th 2016 the post was updated again to include fresh set photos from Rian Johnson which showed off the Millennium Falcon's Holochess tables. No battling aliens to be seen on it yet though *sadface*
July 11th saw Mark Hamill confirm that principle photography for Star Wars Episode 8 had wrapped, which we added to the post, too.