(Warning — the following contains GIANT, HULKING SPOILERS for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. If you haven't yet seen it — which is actually kind of impressive at this point — then proceed with caution and all that...)
Now, for many of us, much of December was spent in a desperate blur of spoiler-avoidance, as we sought to dodge the soul-crushing avalanche of plot-ruination that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was expected to be accompanied by. Most of us, thankfully, got through unscathed — with the majority of early audience-members keeping their metaphorical lips dutifully tightened on social media, and several of the pre-release rumors proving untrue — and can now rest easy, knowing that we have a couple of months respite before spoilers for Star Wars Episode VIII start coming thick and fast.
Could Some of Those Inaccurate Rumors Turn Up in 'Star Wars Episode VIII'?
After all, it's entirely possible that some of the rumored plot elements from The Force Awakens weren't, in fact, inaccurate — but were instead simply bumped from the movie due to time constraints or changing creative priorities. If so, it's similarly possible that we could see them crop up again in the near future — perhaps in the soon-to-be-filmed Episode VIII.
What's more, Jason Ward over at MakingStarWars.net helpfully posted a truly spoiler-ific (and surprisingly accurate) collation of all of the Episode VII plot rumors back in May (by a contributor named DarthLightlyBruise) — meaning we have a perfect source to work from.
Let's take a look at some of the rumors that didn't pan out, then...
(and, once again — MASSIVE EPISODE VII-THEMED SPOILERS lie below...)
Luke's Lightsaber Takes a Tumble
"A lightsaber tumbles out of space. It enters the atmosphere of a desert planet and plunges to the ground. This is the planet of Jakku. The lightsaber is retrieved by a mysterious hand. It finds its way to a village elder, codenamed the Vicar, played by Max Von Sydow. The Vicar contacts the Resistance (the good guys)."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Since the whole space-lightsaber sub-plot was apparently eliminated from the final movie, probably not — though there's always the chance of a flashback to how Maz Kanata came across it. Let's say 4/10.
The Lightsaber Is the Real MacGuffin
"Kylo Ren and the General watch Finn’s hologram aboard the Star Destroyer. The General suggests to a Chrome Stormtrooper named Captain Phasma (played by Gwendoline Christie) that she focus on hunting down the droid and retrieving the lightsaber. Forget Finn, who is useless anyway. The lightsaber is the important objective."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Now, Luke's lightsaber's importance to Kylo Ren seemed to be replaced in the final movie by finding Luke himself. That being said, his belief that it belongs to him — as revealed in the final lightsaber battle — suggests that he might have some unfinished business with the blade. Somewhere in the region of 3/10, then?
Maz Kanata, Space Pirate
"Han asks Rey and Finn what the devil they are up to. BB-8 determines that the time is right, and reveals what he is carrying: a lightsaber. Han Solo recognizes it as belonging to Luke Skywalker! It’s the one Luke lost on Bespin, in his battle against his father. Han suggests they go to see “her.” “Who’s that?” Maz Kanata–she’s a pirate. At a secret location on Yavin IV, a jungle planet that was once the home of the Rebel Alliance, and is now the main headquarters of the Resistance. She’ll know what to do. They fly there, and Rey is awed by the lush jungle, after so many years on a barren planet. They arrive at Maz Kanata’s castle. It is a pirate hideout."
"They show Maz the lightsaber, and she recognizes it immediately. She offers to show them a vision. Maz seemingly has Force powers of some kind, and may have once been a Jedi (or a Jedi apprentice). They all hold hands, and a vision washes over them."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Well, most of Maz's original role was clearly stripped down, with the final version more of an enigmatic outsider than a replacement Yoda, but don't be too surprised if some of the 'space pirate' elements get brought to the fore in a future installment. A loose 6/10.
Rey's Visions Could Have Been Much More Specific
"There is what looks to be a Jedi Academy, and the dead bodies of padawans are on the ground. Luke Skywalker shows up, too late. He sits by a funeral pyre with R2-D2. The droid is saddened by his master’s departure. Cut to the hand that takes the lightsaber at the start of the film. It is now revealed to be the hand of “Naka.” Naka accidentally starts a grass fire after igniting the saber. Cut to a local trader making a sale to a wealthy man. Cut to a fierce battle! The lightsaber is being used by the CLAN against THE SEVEN. The last man is down and Kylo Ren approaches Rey. THE SEVEN are looting and we see Maz Kanata in the foreground taking an object. END OF VISION."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Now, a whole lot of that seems to have either been inaccurate when leaked, or changed completely after the fact. There are, however, likely to be flashbacks in Episode VIII, and there's a pretty solid chance that they could reveal exactly what happened when Kylo Ren betrayed the Jedi. Let's be generous, and say 7/10.
Who Names a Superweapon 'The Catapult'?
"We then cut to what seems to be a spy in the pirate castle. This is an emissary, Kor Sella (played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers) that has been sent by Queen Leia, the leader of the Resistance, to track down the lightsaber. The mission is secret, and she is in clandestine garb.
"The perspective shifts to the villain, Kylo Ren. But this time, he is in communication with a mysterious superior codenamed “Uber” (played as a mo-cap character by Andy Serkis). Uber orders that a superweapon, codenamed “The Catapult,” be used against the castle. Uber suggests to Kylo Ren that he “not get sentimental,” as Kylo hesitates to fire.
"Kylo Ren orders the pirate castle destroyed, but the heroes, including Maz Kanata, get out in time. The pirate castle blows up, and Leia’s emissary Kor Sella is killed. Leia, Admiral Ackbar, and her staff fear the worst. This alerts the Resistance that something is wrong."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Well, since Maisie Richardson-Sellers' Sella was very much killed when her planet exploded (having not turned up at Maz's castle), she's unlikely to turn up in the sequels. Similarly, 'The Catapult' seems doomed to non-existence, seeing as it was evidently replaced by Starkiller Base. 1/10, sadly.
The Rebels May Have Had Their Own Superweapon
"This puts Resistance plans into motion to assault the First Order planet and “The Catapult” superweapon it has housed there. Leia expresses pride in a new Resistance superweapon, codenamed 'The Sledgehammer'."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? It would certainly make for an intriguingly dark turn if the Resistance was to adopt its own super-weapon in Episode VIII — and a more militant Leia would certainly make sense in the wake of that death. An optimistic 8/10.
Kylo Ren Could Have Had a Touching Reunion
"We then cut to Kylo Ren, who walks into the cockpit of the crashed Falcon. He sits in the pilot’s seat, and has a moment. Is this his father’s ship? Does he remember it? Are those memories fond?"
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? You can imagine Chewie is going to shoot Kylo in the head if he sees him again, but it's tough to imagine that Han's son won't get the chance to visit the 'Falcon at some point — and it'd surely be an emotional rollercoaster for him. 9/10, then. Why not?
General Hux Was Not a Nice Man
"Down on the planet, the General of the First Order orders the firing of “The Array,” a defensive superweapon that will take out all fighters in space around the planet. The General’s subordinates refuse to carry out his order, because the weapon would also destroy their own fleet. And so, the General fires the superweapon himself. In that moment, projectiles are fired and all the ships in space are destroyed. Every single one. The General is practical and coldhearted. He obliterates his own men in their TIE fighters to take out the Resistance ships, and secure the safety of their Catapult superweapon."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Will that exact moment happen? Probably not. Will General Hux be a horrible person? Absolutely. 5/10, then, when averaged out.
The Final Fight Was Almost Subtly Different
"Kylo Ren flees into the forest. It is nighttime, and snowing. Finn and Rey follow him, while Chewbacca runs back to the Falcon. Finn confronts Kylo Ren and holds his own in a lightsaber fight; however, over time he is bested by Kylo’s experience with a lightsaber. Finn is on the ground, preparing to die. Rey arrives, and Finn tosses her the Skywalker lightsaber, which she has been reluctant to accept up until this point. To save her friend and avenge Han Solo’s death, she takes the weapon and attacks Kylo. But on a cliff edge, the ground falls away behind Rey and Finn as all the charges they set on the castle have made the area unstable. The heroes find themselves hanging from a precipice. Kylo Ren exits the scene. Just as their doom seems imminent, Chewbacca arrives on a repaired Millennium Falcon! He collects Rey and Finn, and jets off into space."
Could we see it in 'Episode VIII'? Thankfully, no, seeing as that's basically just the scene we saw in the final movie, only without two of the greatest moments in the Star Wars saga thus far (Rey's calling of the lightsaber and her kicking of Kylo's ass) and with more precipice-hanging. 1/10.
The main lesson from all of that? If you don't want to know what happens in Episode VIII, stay away from MakingStarWars.net. Their sources are clearly far too good...