Jan 24: Take a deep breath, Star Wars fans, and prepare for some intense speculation. The full title for Rian Johnson’s forthcoming Episode VIII, it has just been announced, will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The film, a sequel to JJ Abrams’s 2015 The Force Awakens, will continue the story of mysteriously powerful Rey (Daisy Ridley), runaway stormtrooper turned good guy Finn (John Boyega) and dashing resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
Poignantly, it will also feature the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Fisher, who died just after Christmas, had already completed filming her scenes before her death.
Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, who was seen only at the very end of The Force Awakens, is also expected to play a more prominent role in the new film, as is Gwendoline Christie’s stormtrooper commander Captain Phasma.
The title “The Last Jedi”, it seems reasonable to assume, is at least in part a reference to Luke himself. Ahead of the events of The Force Awakens, we learnt in the film, the character was training a new generation of the mystical warriors, including his nephew Ben (Adam Driver).
Many fans believe that when Ben turned to the dark side – upgrading his name to Kylo Ren at the same time – he slaughtered his fellow knights in training, although Luke himself managed to survive. (There is certainly a flashback scene in the film that implies this, although others suspect that Ren may have turned some of his companions too).
If so, this would arguably make Luke “the last Jedi” – although Rey, as demonstrated by her battle with Kylo at the end of the last film, certainly appears to be “strong in the Force” too.
Luke might currently be the last Jedi…but there’s almost certainly a new one on her way up.
Furthermore, as many have pointed out, there are already at least two Star Wars Extended Universe (or Star Wars Legends) novels with similar titles, although it’s unlikely that the new film will be replicating any of the events from these books.
Star Wars: the Last Jedi is set to be released on December 15, 2017.