You've seen Rogue One, so now it's time to get excited about episode 8 of the Star Wars saga.

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By now you’ve probably seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and what a treat it was. Now it’s time to look ahead and find out what lies in store for Star Wars Episode 8, particularly after Carrie Fisher’s death on December 27, 2016. Here’s everything we know so far about the next Star Wars instalment – we’ll update this page with new information as and when we get it.

At the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens we finally got a glimpse of Luke Skywalker in all his bearded, Oliver Reed-esque glory.

Rey meets Luke Skywalker (HD)

Star Wars – The Force Awakens.

Many questions still remain unanswered though. So here goes.

What is the release date for Episode 8?

An official date of December 15, 2017 has been confirmed, meaning we have less than a year before Skywalker and Rey start kicking the First Order across the other side of the galaxy.

Does Episode 8 have a title yet?

Not as such, but there are plenty of rumours out there. Two sources have suggested different titles for Episode 8. The first surfaced from Reddit, pitching Star Wars: Tale Of The Jedi Temple as the next film’s title. But it also suggested that the title would be confirmed on May 4, 2016 – which never happened. Odds on this being the official title appear pretty wide of the mark anyway, because it sounds pretty dull.

The other title came from a Croatian Star Wars fan site. It claims the new film will be called Star Wars: The Order Of The Dark Side, which sounds a bit more like it, but again is unlikely to be the official title. George Lucas kept his Star Wars titles pretty close to his chest when he was filming the original films and the prequels. Even Ewan McGregor had no idea Episode II was called Attack Of The Clones and was left bemused when a reporter informed him months before its release.

The chances are we won’t know the title until the powers that be deem us worthy of it at some point in 2017. However, production company Lucasfilm has filed a trademark to the European Union Intellectual Property Office for Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny. The trademark takes the form of a 2,000 word list of related items including clothing, toys and motion picture films, amongst others. Could this be the next film’s title? Don’t expect director Rian Johnson to tell you: on January 9 he told USA Today, “All in good time.”

What Episode 8 trailers are available?

None so far – but in April 2016, a few tantalising photos have been released by director Rian Johnson along with a very short behind-the-scenes video of Luke with Rey on the remote island that we saw at the end of The Force Awakens. You can see both below.

One of director Rian Johnson's behind-the-scenes photos from the Star Wars episode 8 set

Another of Rian Johnson's behind-the-scenes photos from the Star Wars episode 8 set

A photo posted by Rian Johnson (@riancjohnson) on

Other than that, a few photos have been posted online, allegedly from the set, but whether they’re genuine remains to be seen.

Who is in Star Wars Episode 8?

The usual suspects: 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), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega). The late Kenny Baker has been replaced by Jimmy Vee in the part of R2-D2. In this film there is also an actual Usual Suspect, in the form of Benicio Del Toro, who is set to play a new badass villain. If he’s anything like the The Collector he portrays in Guardians Of The Galaxy we’re in for a treat of the first order.

If reports are to be believed Obi-Wan Kenobi is likely to return too. Other than that, Jurassic Park star Laura Dern is set to make an appearance, while Rogue One director Gareth Edwards will also get in on the act and Tom Hardy is tipped to make a cameo as a stormtrooper. He all but confirmed this in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter –  “I don’t know if I can even say that” when asked if the rumours were true. He added: “The internet is a glorious web of deceit and misinformation, isn’t it?”

Obi Wan Kenobi, rumoured to appear in Star Wars Episode 8

Will Carrie Fisher need to be CGI-ed?

No. Carrie had finished filming Star Wars: Episode 8 before she died at Christmas time. What her death will mean for future Star Wars films is currently unclear. It has been reported that Disney executives have met to discuss what impact her death could have on the series. Though her Episode 8 filming was finished, Episode IX is still in pre-production, and she was reportedly being set up for a prominent role in that instalment. This may mean that her role in Episode 8 could change to accomodate any later plotlines. Disney have now confirmed that they will not be “digitally recreate” Fisher for the film; “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.”

Will it be like The Empire Strikes Back?

Initially Adam Driver said it had a tone “similar” to Episode 5 which fans took as gospel. But he quickly backtracked to clarify his comments, stating: “What I said was the tone of it was different, I didn’t say that it was gonna be in the vein of [it]— I was using it as an example, so poor example.”

Though he’s known for dark sci-fi epic Looper, director Rian Johnson, appears to be reining in the idea that Episode 8 will be especially dark: speaking to USA Today he said, “I want it to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.”

But John Boyega has promised darkness, saying: “Rian Johnson is great. It’s a different take, darker, bigger. Someone will say: ‘How do you get bigger than Force Awakens? But it’s crazy.”

Original Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has given possibly the most accurate hint so far: “These movies will all be so different,” he has said. “Johnson is a friend of mine — he’s going to make some weird thing”.

What else do we know about the plot?

Absolutely nothing official so far, other than it will pick up directly from where The Force Awakens ended, and there will be a brand new planet. But one rumoured leaked scene reveals that Rey and Luke get deep into Jedi training.

Star Wars Youtuber Mike Zeroh 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. A battle between Luke, Rey and Kylo’s Knights of Ren has also been rumoured. We are likely to learn more about Rey’s mysterious origins too – and why Luke fled the Jedi Academy.

 

In a recent interview, Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, said that his character’s “humanity” will be explored more in Episode VIII.  Speaking to Larry King, Driver said: “Even though it’s very much a blockbuster movie, there was no taking that for granted and that we were forced to be general. There was a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one, that we get to explain more in the second one, to make both of them make sense. But they do kind of feel socially active to me, and George Lucas originally, a lot of Star Wars was in response to Vietnam and a lot of what I remember talking about with JJ and Rian was this idea of terrorism, and two sides being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get whatever they thought was absolutely correct.”

Johnson has confirmed that the backstory of the main three protagonists – Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron – will be explored more fully in the new episode. The director, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, has said: “I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. Figure out what’s the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now — let’s throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.”

Speaking specifically about Rey’s story, he said that she will form a strong connection with Luke Skywalker: “It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives.” He has also said that family is “a huge part of especially Rey’s character, something that was a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this.”

Where will it be filmed?

Skellig Michael and Pinewood Studios have already been confirmed, but if leaked fan photos are to be believed, also Dubrovnik in Croatia (as seen in many a Game Of Thrones scene) and Mexico.