Rian Johnson wrapped up principal photography on his Star Wars: Episode VIII towards the end of July 2016, and for the most part, the highly anticipated sequel made it through filming without any massive leaks. Save for the occasional set photo, speculation about Laura Dern’s role, and a breakdown of an action sequence featuring the Knights of Ren, there wasn’t much information to digest – other than the periodic updates Johnson and members of his cast shared on social media.
Lucasfilm is keeping fans pre-occupied by releasing the spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the interim, but there will always be much interest in the continuation of the Skywalker family saga. With few details to examine at this point in time, moviegoers are hungry to learn more about what Johnson has in store, particularly how the collection of new characters – played by Dern, Benicio del Toro, and Kelly Marie Tran – fit into the narrative. Thanks to a new report, specifics on the third of that trio have been revealed.
Citing a source familiar with Star Wars 8, the International Business Times had a breakdown of a scene the relatively unknown actress has with John Boyega. Allegedly, Tran is portraying an individual named Aya, who works as an “information broker” that sells intelligence to whoever is willing to pay more. She has dealt with both the Resistance and the First Order by the time audiences meet her in Episode VIII. During the sequence in question, Finn and Aya are having a conversation at a bar (said to be “fancier” than the watering holes in earlier films) before stormtroopers arrive and begin firing at Finn. Aya then helps Finn escape.
Since this scene description is brief, there are still numerous questions regarding Tran’s role. Boyega has referred to his co-star as a “new lead,” suggesting that Aya is a principal character in Star Wars 8. It will be interesting to see how she’s incorporated, given that Johnson allegedly retooled the script before shooting in order to beef up the parts of Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren, and Poe Dameron. Where it stands now, the primary focus sounds like it will be on the characters we first met in The Force Awakens, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be key supporting roles for the fresh faces. In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda and Lando Calrissian were pertinent figures in the story, so most likely something similar will happen here.
Considering this is true, it’s the first confirmation that Tran is portraying someone aligned with our heroes. Aya seems like a mercenary in nature upon first impression, but since she’s aiding Finn, she appears to be sympathetic to the Resistance’s cause. Conceivably, Aya is a person Finn (and maybe Poe) search out on a mission to learn about the First Order’s next move following the destruction of Starkiller base. As Rey commences her Jedi training with Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To, portions of Episode VIII will have to deal with the galactic war at hand, and this would be an ideal way of advancing that particular story line.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this could very well be hearsay, as massive films like Star Wars are subject to an endless stream of rumors before they premiere. Unfortunately, it will still be a while before Lucasfilm officially releases any juice Episode VIII tidbits, since Rogue One remains their top priority. The good news is that Johnson’s film is a little under a year and a half away, so the #WaitFor8 (as Mark Hamill likes to call it) will be over before you know it.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: International Business Times