With the daunting task of emulating the iconic success of the original Star Wars trilogy, and recovering from the critical failure of the prequels, the bar was set incredibly high for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — and yet, this movie exceeded our wildest expectations.
Now, with two years to wait for the continuation, we have plenty of time to speculate about what surprises Star Wars Episode VIII may bring. New Star Wars 8 rumors are coming to light all the time, and we've compiled them all so that you don't have to hunt for them!
Star Wars Episode 8 News, Rumors & Spoilers
Laura Dern revealed to Bustle that Star Wars 8 is a mission to empower women, again putting Rey at the forefront of the action.
"From the beginning the position of power and intellect of a woman in that world was extremely heightened, as opposed to what was happening on planet Earth, so I think [Episode VIII] will be continuing and magnifying [that]."
When asked about Carrie Fisher's role in Episode 8 — as the two reportedly filmed many scenes together — Dern could only sing the late actress' praises.
"She was extraordinary. One of the greatest minds of our time. She had the greatest wit — one of the truest dames — and she and her mother both left incredible legacies to art, independence, fieryness, irreverence. Oh my god, her books alone are the most hysterical gifts for women and everyone."
When speaking to USA Today, Rian Johnson revealed that Rey's relationship with Luke Skywalker would "form a large part" of Star Wars Episode 8. He also shed some light on Rey's journey:
"Part of what’s she’s dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift. She’s taking her first step to coming to terms with this thing inside her that she never knew was there and is just starting to reveal its potential."
Johnson also told Variety that he know what the title of Star Wars 8 is, and he has since filming began. Despite reports that Episode 8 will be much darker than The Force Awakens, Johnson said it would be "funny" and "a blast".
There will be a connection between Star Wars 8, the animated show Rebels and the movie Rogue One thanks to some mysterious Force Sensitive birds that might just be the avatars of the powerful and enigmatic alien race, the Whills.
After rumors started circulating about Tom Hardy cameoing as a Stormtrooper in Star Wars 8, Hardy played coy with The Hollywood Reporter when they asked him about his role.
Responding to rumors that they were meeting with the Fisher estate to discuss the late Carrie Fisher's role in future Star Wars movies, Lucasfilm/Disney have stated that they will not use CGI to recreate Leia in the same way they did for Tarkin in Rogue One.
THR have revealed that General Leia was to play a pivotal role in #StarWars9, with two key scenes that may now have to be rewritten. In these scenes, Leia was to reunite with her brother Luke Skywalker and confront her son Kylo Ren.
A rumored title for Star Wars 8 has surfaced, after Lucasfilmed filed a trademark request with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. This title is "Forces of Destiny", but there are many reasons to suspect this isn't the real title for the movie.
In The Force Awakens Blu-Ray commentary, JJ Abrams confirmed that he and the other writers do know the backstory of the Knights of Ren, and that this may be revealed in Star Wars 8, as part of Kylo Ren's plot.
Mike Zeroh — a Star Wars rumor mill-churner who previously claimed that Rey would lose a hand in Episode 8 — released a video on Luke Skywalker's line in the teaser.
"You contain the spark that will rekindle the fire."
Zeroh claims that two of his trustworthy sources, completely separate from each other, spoke with an audio engineer who is putting together the teaser trailer, and passed on the intel.
This line is just the kind of Jedi-spiritual "mumbo jumbo" that Star Wars is known for. We know Rey is powerful in the Force, and after Luke's students were killed by Kylo Ren it seems reasonable to think that Rey is the first potential Jedi Luke's met in decades. Because the Jedi were almost wiped out by Order 66, and after Kylo Ren's later massacre of the students, there are still very few Jedi in the galaxy.
It could be that Luke is hoping Rey will be a new hope for this generation, inspiring others like her to realize their Force potential and become Jedi. Also, the "spark" comment ties into the multiple rumors about Rey being the reincarnation of the Chosen One — but that's just speculation of course.
JJ Abrams' new audio commentary on The Force Awakens Blu-Ray teases that we may find out how Maz Kanata got Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in Star Wars 8 — and she may have stolen it from Kylo Ren.
We've finally got some details about new characters for Star Wars 8 played by Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran.
These details feed into Finn's subplot, which is supported by a new leak about the casting of a young child as a "stable boy" in #StarWars8. Although this doesn't seem like much at first, the extra character seems to be connected to the subplot of Finn's secret mission.
At the behest of General Leia, it seems Finn will journey to the planet that was filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia, seeking out a traitor within the Resistance.
In an interview with Vulture, Daisy Ridley hinted that Rey's parents will be revealed in Star Wars 8, telling fans that "we'll see in a year. Just sit tight on that question."
Set leaks have surfaced that describe Finn's recovery in a "bacta suit", which seems to be similar to the bacta tank Luke Skywalker used in Empire Strikes Back.
Bacta is a fictional healing substance that stimulates tissue regrowth and accelerates healing. After Finn's recovery, he apparently sets off on a mission that could make him a real "big deal" in the Resistance. This lines up with previous rumors we've heard about his plotline.
There were other reports from the Ireland set, stipulating that Daisy Ridley wore a green-screen sleeve for much of the shoot. Combined with Ridley's recent revelation that Rey will be injured in Episode 8, this has lead many fans to believe she may lose a hand in the upcoming movie, paralleling Luke and Anakin Skywalker.
A new canon book, Aftermath: Life Debts, may have revealed Snoke's identity to be Gallius Rax, the Imperial Grand Admiral responsible for battling the Rebel Alliance after Return of the Jedi — and eventually forming the First Order with General Hux's father.
Adam Driver was spotted filming scenes with Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill, coinciding with a set leak that described a fight scene between Kylo Ren, Rey, and Luke Skywalker.
Star Wars Episode 8 Trailer
No full length Star Wars 8 trailer has been released yet, but Lucasfilm have released this teaser trailer announcing the start of production on Star Wars 8.
The teaser shows the opening scenes of Star Wars 8, as it was later revealed that this film would continue directly on from the closing scene of The Force Awakens.
Star Wars Episode 8 Release Date
The Star Wars 8 release date is sometime around the 18th of December, 2017. This is a tradition set by The Force Awakens and continued by Rogue One. Presumably, all new Star Wars films — the untitled Han Solo film, Star Wars Episode 9, and more — will release around this time for many years to come.
Star Wars Episode 8 Plot Synopsis
The official plot synopsis for Star Wars 8 was released in February, revealing that the focus of the film would be Rey's journey.
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII.
This synopsis is likely to change later on, as Lucasfilm reveal the story being explored by Star Wars 8. Everything else we know about Star Wars 8 plot is largely gathered from the rumors you can read in the section above.
Star Wars Episode 8 Cast & Characters
— Daisy Ridley / Rey: Newcomer Daisy Ridley will reprise the role of Rey as part of the Star Wars 8 cast. Just as Rey faces her own journey to become a Jedi, Ridley has been embarking on many new projects since The Force Awakens.
— John Boyega / Finn: Still one of the most important of the Star Wars 8 characters, Finn will co-lead the story in the sequel. Before then, John Boyega will appear in the new Pacific Rim 2, as Stacker Pentecost's son.
— Oscar Isaac / Poe Dameron: The Resistance's hotshot pilot will return in Star Wars 8, but details on his journey are scarce. In the meantime, Oscar Isaac appeared in X-Men: Apocalypse, and has a new movie coming out with Christian Bale called The Promise.
— Adam Driver / Kylo Ren: He may not be Darth Vader, but Kylo Ren will continue to emulate his hero by plaguing our heroes in Star Wars 8. Before that, Adam Driver will appear in several independent films, as well as reprising his role in the TV show Girls.
— Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker: After appearing in a grand total of 20 seconds in Star Wars 8, Luke will return in full force in Star Wars 8. Hamill has also recently starred in a feature length adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke, to mixed reviews.
— Carrie Fisher / General Leia Organa: Although mourning the death of Han Solo, Leia returns in Star Wars 8 to lead the Resistance against the First Order.
— Andy Serkis / Supreme Leader Snoke: Although unconfirmed, we're all assuming the legendary motion-capture king Serkis will return as Snoke in Star Wars 8, dropping more hints about his true identity.
— Kelly Marie Tran / Aya: The name of Tran's new character has not been confirmed, although several rumors specify it as Aya. Tran previously appeared in several College Humor skits and other comedy shows, including Jimmy Kimmel Live. According to hints from Rian Johnson, Tran's role in Star Wars 8 is crucial.
— Laura Dern: The Jurassic Park star will appear in Star Wars 8, possibly as the Resistance general who replaces Leia after the attempted assassination. According to other rumors, Dern's character may have a shared history with Leia.
— Benicio Del Toro: The Sicario actor has been cast as the main villain for Star Wars 8, although we still don't know who he is or what role he plays in the story.
Star Wars Episode 8 Theories
Oh, nutty fan theories, you help us while away the years in between Star Wars instalments. The theories for The Force Awakens became infamous before the movie was even released, and the Star Wars Episode 8 theories are no different.
From Rey's true parents (I'm rooting for Rogue One's Jyn Erso) to the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke, these theories could hold the secrets of Star Wars 8... or they could be totally crazy. It's up to you to decide.
Star Wars Costumes
The Star Wars costumes have long been known for their weird and wonderful designs. While we don't yet know what the costumes for Star Wars 8 will be, we can still look back on some of the best of the best...
...while getting excited for the new costumes set to debut in Rogue One.
Star Wars Easter Eggs
Any geeky franchise worth its salt is stuffed full of Easter Eggs, and the Star Wars Easter Eggs are something else. While we still don't know what Easter Eggs Star Wars 8 will offer us, The Force Awakens set the bar pretty gosh darn high...
Star Wars Timeline
With the franchise jumping back and forth through the in-universe chronology, it can be hard to keep track of the Star Wars timeline. Check out this video for a full breakdown:
Where To Watch Star Wars Episode 8 Online
What are you doing trying to watch Star Wars 8 online? It's not been released yet! And when it is released, Lucasfilm and Disney are very hesitant to allow websites to stream their movies. You can pay to download The Force Awakens from Amazon and iTunes now, but don't hold your breath for the Star Wars movies to be added to streaming services like Netflix.
Star Wars Merchandise
The Star Wars merchandise has always been a huge part of Lucasfilm's success. George Lucas even sold Star Wars toys before A New Hope was even released, like an action figure for the original, female version of Luke Skywalker.
Nowadays the best place to buy Star Wars merch is the Disney Store, but thanks to Lucasfilm's many, many marketing arrangements, you can get Star Wars toys pretty much anywhere.
Star Wars Episode 8 Comic Book
Lucasfilm have teamed up with Marvel to release several comic books in the gap between movies, but there is no solo Star Wars 8 comic book yet. However, in the meantime you can check out everything from Han Solo's adventures to Poe Dameron's, with the latter filling in some backstory for The Force Awakens.
[Header image by Nguyen Dong]