Unless you’ve been marooned on a rocky island somewhere, you’ll know the excitement over Star Wars: The Force Awakens was hotter that Tatooine at double-sun midday. But now that we’ve experienced Rey and Finn’s first adventure – and have so many, many questions that need answering – we are left with only one thing to do…
…wait for Episode 8.
Which is frustrating to say the least: there’s at least a year and a half – plus a whole other non-sequential Star Wars film – to go before answers might be forthcoming. So in the meantime, here is everything we know about the sequel everyone is calling The Force Aw8ens. Ok, just us.
OBVIOUS WARNING: Contains spoilers for The Force Awakens.
STAR WARS EPISODE 8: The Release Date
The Force Awakens was actually pushed back from an originally planned May 2015 release date, and Episode 8 will no longer be course-correcting – its original May 26, 2017 release date has been moved to December 15, 2017.
So much for a return to the traditional Star Wars release month – May the force be with you etc. Looks like the powers that be saw Collider‘s interesting argument for Disney sticking with December following The Force Awakens‘s runaway success, using an official statement to remind us all that it was “the first Star Wars movie to premiere outside the traditional summer blockbuster window and smashed numerous records”.
The new release date already has other high-profile films scheduled for December 15 running scared, including James Cameron’s Avatar 2 and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
Filming began in February 2016 and has now wrapped, after months of various on-set shots and fan theories involving strange trees (we kid you not). So much that we’ve started calling it ‘Star Wars: Weird Trees Rising’.
The wrap party was held at the Natural History Museum in London and included a troupe of sexy dancing Stormtroopers.
STAR WARS EPISODE 8: The Cast
At the Force Awakens premiere, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that all the cast in attendance would be returning – which means Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Lupita Nyong’o will be back.
Mark Hamill will finally get to do something as old man Luke Skywalker other than stand around looking serious. There are lots of rumours as to what he will do (as well as his relationship to Rey) – including an exciting theory that he will have enough power in the Force that he can crash a First Order Star Destroyer.
The bad guys will be lining up for Episode 8, too – expect to see Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, Andy Serkis’s Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux (or should we say Armitage Hux?) and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma in the next instalment of the space opera saga.
Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd is also coming back as Lieutenant Connix (aka that Resistance member who stood around not doing anything), so she might even get a real role this time.
As Harrison Ford was also in attendance at that premiere, it lends credence to new theories that, as Kylo Ren continues to be torn between loyalties to the Dark Side and his family, Han Solo will feature again – albeit in flashback. But his name notably wasn’t mentioned in Disney’s official release in February 2016 confirming the start of filming.
Benicio del Toro will also be joining the cast, with reports pointing towards him being a villain. He was obviously bitten by the sci-fi adventure bug during Guardians of the Galaxy. Rumours have him pegged as a typical ‘man in black’ character, and one who – at least initially – is not seen as a bad guy by the other characters.
Jurassic Park‘s Laura Dern has signed up, too, and will allegedly be sporting a fancy look that’s half-Star Wars, half-Capitol resident from The Hunger Games.
Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran is on board, and will apparently have a lead role in the movie, and has been called ‘the opposite of Dern’s character’. Her storyline seems to be linked closely to Finn’s.