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Star Wars Episode 8: News, cast, cameos and leaks for The Last Jedi

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Star Wars Episode 8: News, cast, cameos and leaks for The Last Jedi

News and casting information for Star Wars: The Last Jedi keeps rolling in, with several cameos unveiled in recent months ahead of the film’s UK release on December 14. Below we’ve got all the news you need to know about the film, and we’ve also got you covered if you’re after the Last Jedi trailer.

What’s the latest news?

Ok, enough of that – let’s move onto casting news.

Who’s joining the cast for Star Wars Episode 8?  

Kelly Marie Tran – Rose Tico

Rose is a maintenance worker in the Resistance. She’s described by Vanity Fair as “the new character with the most screen time in Episode VIII“. Expect her to play an important role.

Veronica Ngo – Paige Tico

Paige is Rose’s sister: she’s a gunner with the Resistance. We catch a glimpse of her in this still from the The Last Jedi‘s trailer.

Benicio Del Toro – DJ

Very little is known about Del Toro’s character, codenamed ‘DJ’, but it’s been confirmed that he is not the Star Wars Rebels character Ezra Bridger.

Laura Dern – Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo

As you might expect, Dern’s character is a vice admiral in the Resistance. She’s got pink hair, as you can see below, where she’s talking to General Leia.

Jimmy Vee – R2-D2

The late Kenny Baker has been replaced by Jimmy Vee in the part of R2-D2.

Frank Oz?

Frank Oz has “been asked not to talk about” the possibility of him playing Yoda – so fans think he may appear in one of Rey’s Force visions.

A new droid called BB-9E

BB-8’s nemesis has been revealed for The Last Jedi, after toy company Sphero unveiled the playable version on Friday, September 1. It’s called BB-9E and it’s a kawaii First Order version of the spherical cutie that stole R2-D2’s thunder in The Force Awakens. Check it out here:

Who’s coming back to the cast?

Pretty much everyone from The Force Awakens. We’ve got: Luke (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Leia (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), plus returning characters Snoke (Andy Serkis), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and even the wise old character of Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) who might have been presumed dead and gone in The Force Awakens if it weren’t for this on-set photo from Episode 8 director Rian Johnson.

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rian johnson’s lousy stinkin tumblr

If reports are to be believed, Obi-Wan Kenobi is likely to return too.

What do we know about the story?

On August 9, a new set of pieces in Entertainment Weekly revealed a ton of information about the new film. Such as…

Rey doesn’t receive much of a welcome on Ahch-To

Daisy Ridley told EW that Luke rejects Rey when she arrives on his island home of Ahch-To. Describing Rey’s relationship with Han Solo and then Luke, she says: “’Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure. Now he’s gone, and instead I’m with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn’t want me here.’” She added: “She’s so hopeful to everything, and obviously there’s a hint of, ‘What the hell?’”

Luke might already know who Rey is

Ridley said that Rey isn’t instantly going to convince Luke to join the fight against the First Order: “I don’t think one girl, who he doesn’t know, turning up with a lightsaber is gonna make him go, ‘Oh, shit, yeah, of course I’ll get back into the action.'” Hamill then added: “But does he not know her?”

We’ll see more of Snoke, but we won’t learn much about his backstory

Director Rian Johnson says: “Similar to Rey’s parentage, Snoke is here to serve a function in the story. And a story is not a Wikipedia page.” But Johnson added: “We will see more of him, and Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one. And that guy is just a force of nature.” We will also see Snoke’s Praetorian guards, who look very like the Emperor’s old red-clad guards – but Rian Johnson says they’re meant to look more like “samurai”.

Finn is thinking of quitting the Resistance – and Rose Tico stops him

Just like Finn left the First Order in The Force Awakens, he’s now thinking of leaving the Resistance after what happened to him on Starkiller Base. “It got really real for him,” John Boyega has said. “And he just wants to get away and not be involved. His intention in the first place was to go to the Outer Rim. He’s trying to do that at first.”

Then Finn meets a new character called Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Rose is a mechanic who views Finn as a “big deal”. It’s her adulation of him that convinces him to stay. Boyega says: “She comes in and basically gives him a depiction of himself that wasn’t necessarily true. It’s now an opportunity for him to be the best he can be. He has to make a decision, and Rose is there to help him make that choice.” Finn will still struggle with his loyalties throughout the film, though.

We’re going to see Star Wars‘ Las Vegas

Some of the action takes place on Canto Bight, a casino metropolis. Director Rian Johnson says: “The whole city is kind of one sort of luxury resort that’s been built on this very otherwise abandoned, arid planet. It’s like Vegas with aliens. So maybe it is just like Vegas.”

Luke once thought Kylo Ren was the ‘chosen one’

Kylo Ren, one of Luke’s former students, killed all the Jedi training at Luke’s academy. Mark Hamill explains: “[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy. It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late.”

Luke’s island is inhabited by puffin-like Porgs a group of alien nuns called Caretakers

The puffin-inspired Porgs (above, with Chewie) seem to be here for cute factor, really: apparently they love Luke and don’t like Rey. The Caretakers (below) are another alien species living on Ahch-To that are likely to be more significant. “They’re kind of these sort of fish-bird type aliens who live on the island,” says director Rian Johnson. “They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island.” Apparently they only “tolerate” Luke’s presence on the island and communicate with him in a “blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk”.

What cameos have been filmed?

Joseph Gordon Levitt – an alien

At a press conference in Japan in September, director Rian Johnson revealed: “My very good friend, the actor Joseph Gordon Levitt – who is in a movie I made called Looper – he does a cameo as a voice of an alien in the film. It’s a very brief, little thing but it’s fun. And if you watch the movie and hear, maybe you’ll pick out Joe’s voice in the movie.”

Gary Barlow – not a stormtrooper

Barlow has been confirmed to have a role in the film, and he’s said he won’t be playing a stormtrooper. We also know that Oscar Isaac’s character, Poe Dameron, will not be interacting with him: Isaac has no idea who Barlow is.

Princes William and Harry – stormtroopers?

After they visited the set of the film in 2016, a source told the Mail on Sunday: “The princes dressed up in full stormtrooper gear and filmed a scene in which Rey and Finn infiltrate a secret base. The rebel characters are in a lift with Benicio del Toro’s character when a group of stormtroopers enter – two of whom are William and Harry.” This could be bullshit.

Tom Hardy – possibly a stormtrooper

In-the-know fan site MakingStarWars.net reports that Hardy’s role will be quite like Daniel Craig’s cameo in The Force Awakens, with more details on the site. In February director Rian Johnson shared the below image to his Tumblr, which seemed to verify Hardy’s role as a stormtrooper.

We’re coming to Orlando for a Star Wars…

We’re coming to Orlando for a Star Wars Celebration panel on April 14th, and I cannot wait. See you there!

Justin Theroux – ‘expert slicer’

The Leftovers star will play a slicer (hacker) and according to Making Star Wars, he’ll have a ‘pivotal moment’ in the film. He reportedly wears a white tuxedo-style outfit and has a ‘James Bond look’.

What leaks and rumours are out there?

RUMOUR: Rey gets badly injured. In an appearance on the cult podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno, Daisy Ridley was asked if her character would be injured in the new film. She replied: “Injured emotionally or physically? I’ll say… yes.” Fans are theorising this means that she, like Anakin and Luke before her, will lose a hand in the new film, while a new action figure shows her with a large wound in her arm.  Star Wars YouTuber Mike Zeroh says in a video that one of his contacts “saw Daisy Ridley on set… what he caught on her left arm was that it was actually covered by a green screen sleeve.”

RUMOUR: There’ll be a scene with dismantled lightsabers. Mike Zeroh, that Star Wars Youtuber again, claims he was sent an email from a source who previously passed on accurate details about The Force Awakens. The email details a scene where Luke is training Rey on the importance of lightsabers. Luke pulls Rey’s lightsaber from her hands using the force, floats his own lightsaber and dismantles both before her very eyes.

DENIED RUMOUR: Benicio Del Toro will play Rey’s father – a Jedi from Star Wars RebelsThis theory is quite out there, and Rian Johnson has responded saying it isn’t true. The nice idea was that Del Toro would be playing a character from the animated Disney series Rebels, which is set five years before Episode IV: A New Hope. The theory imagined that Del Toro would play the older version of Ezra Bridger – a Jedi padawan in the show – who would be about the same age as Luke Skywalker at this point. The idea was that he’d gone bad: Redditor Darth_Hodor believed he would have joined Snoke and “together they start manipulating the Jedi starting with Ben Solo. Foreseeing this, Luke hides Rey from her father, and in retaliation Ezra, through or with Kylo Ren, destroy[s] the Jedi Academy. Luke flees and Del Toro is left without knowing where his daughter is hidden.”

We’ll keep this page updated with new information as and when it comes in. Stay tuned.

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