Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That’s it – the title you’ll be feverishly typing into Google for spoiler drops from now until December 15, 2017, when the next instalment of the space saga takes off from where The Force Awakens left us.
Whether the last Jedi in question refers to Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, last seen skulking in solitude on some rocky isle in the final scene of Awakens, or Jedi as a plural, doing nothing to quash rumour that Daisy Ridley’s Rey might turn out to be one herself, remains to be seen.
What we do know is that it promises to be one hell of a spectacle, drafting some notable new cast members (Benicio del Toro, as a villain supposedly, Laura Dern in an unspecified role) while giving us more of Adam Driver’s utter space bastard Kylo Ren and John Boyega’s plucky Stormtrooper-turned-good guy Finn.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper), with J J Abrams back on board as executive producer and creative consultant for the franchise, there will of course be a tinge of sadness to the release, as it will very likely mark the last film appearance of Carrie Fisher, who performed all her scenes for the film before her recent passing. Producers have already stated Fisher will not return in CGI form, a la Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in recent prequel spin-off Rogue One.
Fisher’s long-time co-star Mark Hamill has even hinted that it may be his last outing in the space opera too, telling attendees at a recent event in London: I finish Episode VIII, and then I'm out of work.”
Could we see Luke Skywalker go the same way as Han Solo, or is there life in the old dog yet? We’ll have to wait and see.