As the end of the year nears closer and closer, it also means that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is closing in. And with that, comes EW‘s cover story with fresh details about the highly anticipated 8th installment of the franchise. There’s so much goss that it’s come in many parts, but we’ve summarised it all below for your viewing/reading pleasure – just perhaps stop reading now if you’d prefer not to get too informed on what’s to come in December.
Luke & Rey
The end of “The Force Awakens” sees Rey (Daisy Ridley) come face to face with Luke (Mark Hamill), and extending out his lightsaber to him. The problem is, she’s not facing the Luke that she’s heard about, the hero she has. The Luke she faces is a broken man, who’d prefer to stay lost on the isolated island, alone. As a result, Skywalker doesn’t give Rey the warm welcome she hopes for, and expects.
Consequently, Rey struggles with the reaction, especially after her difficult childhood in which she was ditched by unknown parents and left to survive on her own. Ridley gives an insight into Rey’s mind “’Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure. Now he’s gone, and instead I’m with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn’t want me here.’”
So the question remains: can Rey save Luke? And more importantly – does Luke know Rey? Rey will have to learn a lot more about her past in order to answer all the key questions.
Luke & Kylo Ren
So the reason behind Luke’s inhabitance on the island remain unknown at this stage. Writer-director Rian Johnson notes that we know Luke’s not a coward, but we also know he must be aware that his friends are in danger, which begs the question: what’s he doing there, in the middle of nowhere?
“The Force Awakens” revealed that Han Solo and Leia’s son Ben Solo went rogue in Jedi academy and murdered fellow students, then joined the First Order as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Luke had thought that Ben was the chosen one, so consequently felt betrayed once he turned to the dark side.
“[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character,” Hamill says. “And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”
In terms of Luke’s backstory, “The Last Jedi” will leave a lot to the imagination, and it will be left to the audience to join the dots. But a large part of it will be explained to understand why Luke is on the island and Rey’s connection to it all – leading up to what happens next.
Finn gets mad
“The Last Jedi” sees Finn (John Boyega) ready to abandon the good guys, after he was critically wounded by a lightsaber and watched Han Solo die in the hands on his own son.
“It got really real for him,” Boyega tells EW. “And he just wants to get away and not be involved. His intention in the first place was to go to the Outer Rim. He was always brought back [in The Force Awakens,], but this is his chance to get away and perhaps find Rey and go off together. He’s trying to do that at first.”
Finn befriends Rose Ticko (Kelly Marie Tran), a Resistance mechanic. Rose sees Finn as a hero as he fought for the Resistance to save their homes. To her, he’s a “big deal”. Rose is described as a “grease monkey”, while her sister Paige (Veronica Ngo) fights on the front lines as a Resistance gunner, alongside Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and other such luminaries.
So as Rose has such high admiration of Finn, he sees himself as a good guy and a brave guy, so he has something to live up to.
The cute new critters we meet in “The Last Jedi” are native to the planet of Ahch-To, the site of the first Jedi temple and are just one of many new creatures in the menagerie of “Star Wars” animals.
Johnson got the inspiration for the penguin-like creatures from the puffins on the Irish island of Skellig Michael, where scenes from the new flick were shot.
A slightly more anthropomorphic creature than the Porgs is the Caretakers, who are a “fish-bird type alien” species that live on the island. They can communicate with Luke in a language that Johnson describes as “a blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk”. Which to me, sounds absolutely hilariously awesome. They are also amphibious and live in a world full of other flora and fauna, so thrive in their environment.
In terms of a filming view, they’re people in suits. Just to spoil your imagination completely.
Jedi Cave Paintings
The teaser trailer for “The Last Jedi” revealed a tree-like structure on the island, as well as the Journal of Whills, which is a Jedi Scripture. Johnson states that “The Last Jedi” will touch on the mystical history of “Star Wars”, but won’t dive too deeply. The history of Ahch-To goes back a long time, and cave paintings will be revealed within the context of the film that will be “fun to discover”.
Kylo Ren won’t be the only “baddie” we see in “The Last Jedi”. We will also get to meet the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), who we saw via hologram in “The Force Awakens” but the leader will emerge from hiding in the new film.
His protectors come in the form of the Praetorian Guard, who are a variation of the crimson-cloaked Imperial guards seen in “Return of the Jedi”. They get their name from the elite special guard who protected ancient Roman emperors. They also know how to fight and are built to move, unlike the Emperor’s guards.
We will also learn more about Snoke in “The Last Jedi”, and his goals, but Johnson notes that his history will still remain “somewhat murky”. However, we will get to see a lot more of him!
More to come on the 8th “Star Wars” from EW, in the meantime check out the new images below. “The Last Jedi” is out December 15.