|Star Wars Episode VIII|
Walt Disney Pictures
- "The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, 'I want to see these 3 movies.'"
- ―Dale Pollock, George Lucas biographer[src]
HStar Wars Episode VIII (Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi) is the second planned film in the upcoming Star Wars sequel trilogy, which will make it the ninth live-action film in the Star Wars Saga. The film will be written and directed by Rian Johnson, produced by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, with George Lucas serving as a story consultant. Based on Disney's anticipated schedule for Star Wars releases, it is currently presumed that Episode VIII will be released in 2017.
Little is known about the plot, Lucas has written story treatments for the sequel trilogy based on his own original story, rather than an adaptation of the Expanded Universe. Further verified information about Star Wars Episode VIII is scarce, with most being speculation. This page will document what we know about the film so far.
Lucas' early ideas
The first discussions about a possible Star Wars Episode VIII, as well as the rest of the sequel trilogy, began in 1976, before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was even released in theaters. George Lucas told Mark Hamill that the Star Wars Saga would have four trilogies—the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, the sequel trilogy, and a fourth trilogy after that. Lucas would later go on to deny that a sequel trilogy would be made, but speculation continued for years regardless.
We have compiled known statements about what the plot of Star Wars Episode VIII could possibly include. These statements are vague at best, and often contradictory, but most of the statements have originated with Lucas himself. Note that many of these refer to the sequel trilogy in general, rather than specifically Episode VIII.
- In 1980, Lucas stated that the sequels take place 20–40 years after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and that the trilogy would deal with rebuilding the Republic after the defeat of the Galactic Empire.
- In the early 1980s, Lucas stated that R2-D2 and C-3PO might be the only characters who would appear in all nine films. According to Dave Pollack, author of Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, it could be that the droids are "the only common element to all the films," appearing in all three trilogies.
- In 1983, TIME reported that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will portray their characters—Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, respectively—in their 60s.
- In 1988, Lucas hinted that Luke might have a love interest in the sequels. When asked by Starlog why Luke never had a love interest, Lucas said "You haven't seen the last three yet."
- In 1983, TIME reported that the sequels would be "considerably vaguer" than the clear good vs. evil "comic-book style" original trilogy films. The main theme of the trilogy "will be the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong."
It is also known that, according to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz, previous plot points for the sequel trilogy were condensed into Return of the Jedi. These plot points included the discovery of Luke's sister, who was originally not Princess Leia, and a final confrontation with the Emperor. It is not known if any of the remaining plot points from those stories, such as Luke's new life with the Jedi, will make their way into the sequels, though Lucas did write a story treatment for the sequel trilogy that he gave to Disney.
- Rian Johnson – Director, writer
- Kathleen Kennedy – Executive producer
- Ram Bergman – Producer
- George Lucas – Story treatment, creative consultant
- Lawrence Kasdan – Consultant
- Simon Kinberg – Consultant
In regards to George Lucas' involvement, the extent to which he is involved will be far more limited than Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, which he also did not direct. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Lucas said that his role as a consultant means "I mostly say, 'You can't do this. You can do that.' You know, 'The cars don't have wheels. They fly with antigravity.' There's a million little pieces. Or I can say, 'He doesn't have the power to do that, or he has to do this.' I know all that stuff."
Behind the scenes
After decades of rumor and speculation, Star Wars Episode VIII was announced on October 30, 2012 as part of The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas. As part of the deal, Lucas gave Disney extensive story treatments for Episode VIII and the rest of the sequel trilogy. These treatments will form the basis for the Episode VIII screenplay. While not much is known about those story treatments, it was confirmed that Episode VIII will be an original story, rather than an adaptation of existing Expanded Universe tales. It was also announced as part of the deal that Kathleen Kennedy, who took over from Lucas as President of Lucasfilm, would be the producer of Episode VIII. Lucas himself will serve as a creative consultant.
The film does not yet have a director. However, Kennedy has said that she would like Star Wars Episode VII director J.J. Abrams to return for Episode VIII and Star Wars Episode IX. John Williams, who had composed Episode VII, has also expressed interest in returning to the franchise for all three films.
No official release date has been given for Episode VIII, but Disney has hinted that their targeted release date is 2017. At their CinemaCon presentation on April 17, 2013, Disney announced that they would be releasing one Star Wars film every year, beginning with Star Wars Episode VII in 2015. The years would alternate between spinoff films and "Episodes," meaning Episode VIII will presumably be released in 2017.
- Expanded Universe
- Sequel trilogy
- Spinoff films
- Star Wars Rebels