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What Can We Expect From Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi?
Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi is undoubtedly one of, if not the biggest anticipated movie of 2017. Slated for a December release, fans face an agonizing wait to find out what will happen to Luke Skywalker, Rey, Kylo Ren and Finn. But what will happen exactly? What can we expect to see this December?
A Farewell To Princess Leia
Late 2016 unfortunately saw the death of Carrie Fisher, of course remembered by millions as Princess Leia, one of the true, original Star Wars icons. Harrison Ford, amongst many others, paid an emotional tribute stating that "Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original. Funny and emotionally fearless." As we all know, Carrie once again portrayed Leia in The Force Awakens and, in a much younger representation, was digitally recreated for a cameo appearance in Rogue One, a true testament to just how important Carrie was to the franchise. Unfortunately, her role in the beloved franchise has come to a premature end.
Disney now has a complex and very sensitive issue to deal with as regards to the on screen character. Carrie Fisher was able to complete her filming schedule before passing away, and with no on screen death scene filmed, the production team now has to find a way to end Leia’s story in Episode 8 in such a way as to make sense within the narrative whilst paying tribute to the character.
More Luke Skywalker
The Force Awakens left us with an absolutely agonizing final scene. Whilst we rejoiced to the high heavens when the hooded Luke turned to face Rey, we were nevertheless beating ourselves with frustration at having to wait another two years to see what happens next! Fuelling the fire, JJ Abrams has recently stated that he even thinks Mark Hamill will win an Oscar for his Episode 8 performance. Disney has truly left us drooling for more.
It’s a good assumption that we can expect Luke to thus take a much larger role in Episode 8, very probably fulfilling a similarly wise, Yoda-like mentor role to Rey as Yoda did to Luke. Rey harnessing her control of the force is sure to be a big plot point and Luke will be the person to help her do this. Furthermore, expect some history revelations as the movie progresses and the pair train together; questions delving deeper in to what exactly happened with Luke’s new Jedi academy, how Kylo Ren was seduced by the Dark Side and most importantly….
It’s a hanging thread that teases us throughout the entirety of The Force Awakens and Episode 8 will provide us with the answer as the story ultimately progresses in to Episode 9. There have been theories galore and, ironically, as with the nature of this discussion, fans in their droves discussing Rey’s possible parents over the internet.
Some theories point to Han Solo as the father and some even to Obi Wan Kenobi. If, as the previous movies have proved to be, Episode 7 and beyond provide a continuation of the Skywalker family story, then the most likely theory is that Luke himself will be Rey’s father right? We can only know for sure when we see the movie but expect the revelation, perhaps echoing the bombshell revelation in The Empire Strikes Back, to occur in this trilogy’s second instalment.
Who Are The Knights Of Ren?
Rey’s parentage will most likely not be the only history lesson we receive. We’re briefly treated to a flashback of the Knights of Ren as Rey finds the mysterious chest containing Luke’s old lightsabre in Maz Kanata’s castle. Standing in the darkness of night in the pouring rain alongside Kylo Ren, they undoubtedly looked menacing and cool at the same time and we can only assume that this memory is taken from a moment of extreme significance. Supreme Leader Snoke refers to Kylo as their leader but who exactly are they? And why are they so dangerous? Were they too some of Luke’s former students?
Non CGI Snoke
The gigantic, forebodingly intimidating leader of the First Order had but a handful of scenes in Episode Seven but proved to be a character to be feared nonetheless. Slowly and surely it’s likely that his evil presence will increase as the story unfolds, beginning with significant scenes in Episode 8. Snoke himself declared that he was going to complete Kylo Ren’s training but what does this mean and what significance will his statement have?
The unnatural size of the character has also proved to be a big talking point amongst fans. Is he really going to be so large or was this merely an illusion through an enlarged hologram? Since we never see Snoke in the flesh we can’t really be sure but some of the production rumours gaining momentum suggest that Snoke will be represented in Episode 8 through practical effects; namely an 8 foot tall puppet requiring several people to operate. That’s one hell of a puppet.
The more sensitive of hearing may have heard the voices of Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda call out to Rey in Maz Kanata’s castle in The Force Awakens. Now, whilst not actually physically seen in the movie, they are almost certainly sure to appear later in some capacity. Why else tease their voices if not preparing us for their return? With the galaxy in such peril from The First Order, now is the time for Yoda and Obi Wan to reach out to Rey and Luke for some timely advice.
If indeed appearing, it’ll be very interesting to see whether Disney will give Ewan McGregor the phone call or actually, as seen with Tarkin in Rogue One, digitally recreate the deceased Alec Guinness as they did with classical actor Peter Cushing. After all, when Obi Wan returns to advise Luke in ghost form after his death in A New Hope, he takes the form of the older Alec Guinness and including that actor in further instalments would provide a nice sense of continuity. Speaking of continuity….
The Return Of Anakin
If Yoda and Obi Wan return then it only makes sense for one of the most iconic and influential characters of the entire franchise to return; Darth Vader aka Anakin Skywalker. The final scenes of Return of the Jedi showed us that Anakin was able to return as a force ghost as he looked on at Luke and the celebrations on Endor alongside Obi Wan and Yoda.
Now, if his ghost were not to return in some form in the future to converse with Luke and Rey, and possibly even Kylo Ren, then the story wouldn’t make that much sense in terms of logic. Yes Hayden Christensen was universally panned in his portrayal of the fallen Jedi, but who knows, maybe under new leadership ala Disney and a good script maybe the guy can redeem himself and untarnish that bad reputation? The spirit of Darth Vader simply has to return. It gives the fans a chance to see Luke interact with his father once more and possibly even become a guiding light for Kylo to complete his character arc from villain to hero.
Death Of Luke Skywalker
One theme from The Force Awakens was that of passing of the torch to the new generation and we certainly saw evidence of this with the death of Han Solo at the hands of his son, Kylo Ren. Princess Leia was expected to preserve this theme, albeit now unfortunately premature and so the same is expected of Luke Skywalker.
Thematically fitting, is that if Rey is to fulfil her potential and truly embrace the heroine she is meant to be, the ‘next’ Luke if you will, then she will need to break away from the mentoring of Luke and defeat Kylo Ren and Snoke on her own. This is much akin to the death of Yoda leaving Luke as the last Jedi in Return of the Jedi. If this is to be Luke’s final appearance, then we can expect him to go out in true heroic fashion.
Luke VS Kylo
Something fans eagerly anticipate is to see Luke Skywalker have one last great, epic lightsabre duel. Enter Kylo Ren. It’s revealed that Kylo was Luke’s former student and, of course, being the son of his sister Leia and close friend Han Solo, a duel between the former friends would send the emotional levels exploding through the roof as well as completing that infamous circle Vader mentions to Obi Wan as they duelled aboard the Death Star. Kylo Ren has been eager to find Skywalker; this of course was a driving plot point through The Force Awakens as the illustrious map to Skywalker was hunted mercilessly by The First Order and Kylo. Expect sparks to fly as the two to clash at the climax of Episode 8.