Viewers had to wait until the very last scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to see Luke Skywalker, who vanished to the remote planet Ahch-to at some point following Ben Solo's turn to the Dark Side. The old Jedi was discovered by Rey, and the film ended with the now-famous image of the young scavenger holding out the Skywalker family lightsaber as a means of asking Luke to return to the fight. It was an exceptionally tantalizing cliffhanger that increased the already high levels of hype for this year's Star Wars: Episode VIII.
As difficult as it is to believe, only 11 months separate fans from that movie's premiere, and they'll shortly get to see the fateful first interaction between Luke and Rey. Eschewing Star Wars tradition, Episode VIII picks up immediately from where its predecessor left off. This is one of the more interesting creative choices for the sequel, and now writer/director Rian Johnson has explained why he chose to go that route for his installment.
In USA Today's rundown of the biggest 2017 film releases, Johnson discussed his approach to the Star Wars 8 narrative and how both Luke and Rey factor into the plot:
“I don’t want to skip ahead two years. I want to see the very next moment of what happens... part of what’s she’s [Rey] dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift. She’s taking her first step to coming to terms with this thing inside her that she never knew was there and is just starting to reveal its potential."
In retrospect, it seems only logical that there wouldn't be an extended gap in time between The Force Awakens and Episode VIII. Johnson is definitely not the only one who wants to see the "very next moment" of Luke and Rey's meeting, and many viewers would probably have felt cheated if Star Wars 8 jumped ahead. It's important to show the very beginnings of Rey's relationship with Luke, since their dynamic will likely be what carries the sequel trilogy to its conclusion. Johnson mentioned "a large part of the movie" will cover why Luke is on Ahch-to and how he'll deal with his current situation. Han Solo believed his longtime friend was searching for the first Jedi Temple, but nothing official has been revealed yet. Luke's actions post-Return of the Jedi are among the most guarded secrets in the franchise canon, and it looks like everything is being held back until Episode VIII.
Since the character is set to have an exponentially expanded role in Star Wars 8, Luke has expectantly been the subject of some rumors for the film, including his creature companions on Ahch-to, a costume description, and his heightened Force powers. There's a lot for fans to chew over, and they don't have much longer to wait until they actually get to see Luke in Episode VIII. According to Kathleen Kennedy, marketing for the movie should begin in the spring, and there's already speculation about what Luke's line from the first trailer will be. When Star Wars 8 debuts, it will have been 34 years since Mark Hamill had a meaningful role in a Star Wars movie, so hopefully Johnson can deliver on the promise and potential.
Source: USA Today
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018