Star Wars Episode VIII – everything we know so far

The Force Awakens was great. Now, what's next?

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**Spoiler warning: do not read ahead if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens**

• It’s released May 26th 2017 – 40 years and a day since A New Hope first opened. 

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• It’s written and directed by Rian Johnson, known for Looper and Breaking Bad. He also penned a story treatment for Episode IX.

• It possibly begins on the Jedi planet where we met Luke Skywalker. Played by the island of Skellig Michael in Ireland, local conservationists objected for fear of the effect on local wildlife. The production team donated £10,000 to the local ferry service before leaving.

• Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher are confirmed to be appearing, with most of the others heavily rumoured. No Harrison Ford, though. *sniff*

• Daisy Ridley has read the script and says it’s “very, very good”.

• Benicio Del Toro has been cast as a morally ambiguous new character. British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw will appear as an unknown character. 

• Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis, is rumoured to take a much larger role in the plot. The current popular fan theory is he is somehow connected to Darth Plagueis, who trained Emperor Palpatine.

• Donnie Yen, who has been cast in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (released December 16th 2016) is rumoured to also appear in Episode VIII.

• Carrie Fisher has a new outfit. Although she may be making a joke about becoming the new Emperor. She’s dry like that.

• Mark Hamill will still have his beard.

• According to Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and is lined up for the Han Solo anthology movie, it will be weird:

These movies will all be so different. Rian Johnson is a friend of mine — he’s going to make some weird thing. If you’ve seen Rian’s work, you know it’s not going be like anything that’s ever been in Star Wars. 

• Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in Eps II and III, might be returning to play Darth Vader’s ghost. Take this with a pinch of salt.

• Several minor Jedi from the prequels and Clone Wars cartoon are rumoured to show up.

• Lightsabers may feature.

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More as it emerges…