The still-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII hasn’t been much in the news as of late – except for the occasional story teasing possible first-looks or how Lucasfilm might handle Carrie Fisher’s (General Leia Organa) death – but that hasn’t stopped the behemoth of a film from making a big splash in the rumor mill.
One of the most intriguing of these little nuggets has to do with mega-star Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road, the upcoming Dunkirk) possibly playing a First Order stormtrooper in a key scene, just as James Bond himself Daniel Craig did in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Just what makes this supposed scene so pivotal will be discussed down below, safely located under a spoiler warning.)
When speaking recently with The Hollywood Reporter, Hardy was confronted with the months-old rumor directly. His response is… comical. He said, “I don’t know if I can even say that. Where did you hear that?” When told the rumor originated from the internet, Hardy responded, “Ah, the internet is a glorious web of deceit and misinformation, isn’t it?” The actor concluded by answering whether the rumor is misinformation: “It could be, couldn’t it?”
What’s so interesting about the denial, just to get overly analytical on what is a fairly innocuous back-and-forth, is how the first part – “I don’t know if I can even say that” – seems to be a confirmation before the quote about the internet being “a glorious web of deceit and misinformation” would seem to deny it. That’s some skillful dodging – as has, of course, become an all-too-common requirement for actors up and down Hollywood – but it still leaves us with the general impression that it’s more of a yes-dodge than a no-dodge.
Now, let’s proceed with the SPOILER WARNING and get into what the rumored role Hardy might be playing is – and, more importantly, who that part would be interacting with.
Last chance: (POSSIBLE) SPOILERS ahead!
According to the earlier story, the scene in question has Finn (John Boyega) donning his stormtrooper armor once again to go on an undercover mission for General Organa’s Resistance, infiltrating a First Order base. Hardy is said to play a fellow trooper who happens to recognize the good ol’ FN-2187 and assumes he has become a double agent for the Order against the rebel scum. He congratulates Finn on the apparent promotion and goes about his business.
The part is a bit one, and a funny one (once again, much like Craig’s in Episode VII), but the potentially pivotal nature comes in the revelation that the neo-Imperials have no idea that one of their own has defected – which, in turn, could say a whole lot about how much control Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) really does have over his homegrown movement. Maybe it even foreshadows a fate that is not unlike the one that befell Emperor Palpatine (Iam McDiarmid)…