As we get further into 2017, we get ever closer to the release date for the next installment in the greatest space saga ever told, which we now know is called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Episode VIII has been in the wings since it was first announce back in 2014 with the sale of the franchise to Disney, but with the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens back in the winter 2015 we got our first taste of the new trilogy, building a lot of anticipation in the process.
The loss of Carrie Fisher is a big one, and while filming had been completed for The Last Jedi before her death, the question is whether or not Disney and Lucas Films write it into the story for the end of Episode VIII or the start of Episode IX. There’s no trailer for the film as of yet, so there’s little to go on, but it’s got to be on its way shortly with just nine months to go before it comes out in cinemas in the UK.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been slated for a UK release date of Friday the 15th December 2017, which is the same date it’s due to arrive in the US. It’ll be available in 2D, 3D and IMAX, and we’re expecting it to be one of the select films out this year that will also be getting the 4DX treatment. We’d probably only watch it in the motion seats after seeing it in stand-alone 3D to be able to take in the story better to begin with. However, 4DX could be pretty cool if there’s a lot of space battles and environmental variations to take in.
The next film picks up the story with Rey’s meeting with Luke in hiding – we assume the last Jedi in the title – but with a resurgent Galactic Empire in the form of the First Order out to get them it’s all set up to be another huge film in the series. Han Solo is dead following his execution by his son Kylo Ren, Sith apprentice to the seemingly all-powerful Supreme Leader Snoke, but the resistance struck a blow back at them with its successful attack on the Starkiller Base.
It’s all set up for a huge second part in the trilogy and with The Empire Strikes Back to live up to it’ll need to build on the success of The Force Awakens and set things up for the all-important final episode in a couple of years.
Daisy Ridley is back as Rey, along with John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaacs as Poe Damaran, making up the core young band taking on the First Order. Mark Hamil is due to take on a much larger role as Luke Skywalker having appeared only at the end of The Force Awakens. Carrie Fisher reprised her role as Leia, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO and Lupita Nyongy’o returns as space pirate Maz Kanata.
On the Dark Side, there’s Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. There are also a couple of new additions to the cast with Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern confirmed in unspecified roles.
Rain Johnson (Looper) has taken over the directorial and writing duties for The Last Jedi, following in the well-trodden footprints of J.J. Abrams, who had both the helm and the pen for The Force Awakens. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman with music as ever by John Williams. Steve Yedlin is the director of photography, completing the Looper triple with Johnson and Bergman.
There may not be a trailer to go on as of yet, but the quality of Episode VII is enough to make the prospect of Star Wars: The Last Jedi one of the year’s most exciting films. The departure of Carrie Fisher from the series is going to be tough to take, much tougher than Han Solo’s bow in The Force Awakens, but it puts even more responsibility on the shoulders of the Looper team that has taken up the challenge.
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