We might have a long time to wait until [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868) is finally released but thanks to the rumor mill there's plenty of speculation to be done until then. Ever since the casting for Star Wars 8's new characters was announced, people have been wondering just who Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern is playing. Until now, the prevailing theory was that Dern is portraying the (possibly deceased) wife of Luke Skywalker, but the latest rumors hint at Dern playing one of General Leia Organa's old allies...
Could Laura Dern Be Evaan?
Before [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) was released, Marvel teamed up with Lucasfilm with the publication of a bunch of Star Wars comics. One of these was Princess Leia, a five issue oneshot which followed the Rebel leader in her mission to find surviving Alderaanians.
Joining Leia in her mission was Evaan Verlaine, a Rebel pilot and one of the few remaining Alderaanians. Despite her strong royalist politics, Evaan resented Princess Leia for her apparent coldness in the face of Alderaan's destruction. Of course, she soon learned that Leia Organa is the mistress of putting a brave face over grief.
So what does this have to do with Star Wars 8? Well, unlike the Expanded Universe, these new comics are canon, and they've already dropped plot hints which were explored in The Force Awakens. And the latest rumors for Episode 8 point towards Laura Dern playing a long-time Rebellion/Resistance pilot, with a strong loyalty to General Leia...
Old-School Rebel Captain
Latino-Review has the scoop on this Star Wars Episode 8 scene being shot at Pinewood studios. According to their source, Poe Dameron and a gang of Resistance soldiers are greeted by Laura Dern's character, but she doesn't bear good news.
According to Dern's character (who is a captain or someone of high rank), General Leia is injured and is receiving urgent medical attention. Actually, in Latino-Review's report, Dern's character refers to the General as "Princess Leia", which could point towards Dern playing Evaan.
In the Princess Leia comic, Evaan was staunchly royalist, referring to Leia only as "ma'am", "your majesty", and "my queen". As the sole survivor of the Alderaanian royal family, Leia technically became the monarch when Alderaan was destroyed. But as the queen of a destroyed world, Leia didn't feel comfortable assuming that title.
In the context of this comic, Leia's title of the General in The Force Awakens makes a lot of sense. Of course, as a senator, spy, and Rebel leader, Leia Organa is known under many monikers. By insisting on being referred to by her rank, it's clear that Leia has left the Alderaanian part of her life behind, to concentrate on the battle with the First Order.
So if there's anyone who would still stubbornly refer to Leia as "Princess", that someone is probably Evaan. (Or C3PO, but it's unlikely Laura Dern took up that role.) And she seems as headstrong as she was in the Princess Leia comic: Latino-Review also reports that later on Dern's character and Poe Dameron disagree on the best course of action, and Poe even draws a gun on his superior. Which is very intriguing.
Of course, this is still just a rumor, which has not yet been substantiated by official sources. But so far this seems to line up with other canon Star Wars material and honestly, Dern as Evaan would be pretty awesome.