For a long time, a new Star Wars movie hitting the big screen was a rare event - but when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the studios vowed the scarcity would cease. Now, just a year after Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens lit up theaters, the very first spin-off film will be gracing our presence in the form of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Lucasfilm is keeping a tight schedule to make sure that Star Wars: Episode VIII will be right on its tail in the subsequent holiday season. With a new Star Wars film looking to hit every year for the foreseeable future, it's an embarrassment of riches for fans of the force.
Original trilogy protagonist, Luke Skywalker's presence was slim in The Force Awakens but looks to increase tremendously in next year's entry. He will also have a lot to discuss with his new padawan about why he's been in hiding, rather than taking the fight to The First Order.
In a video, courtesy of the local Fox 13 news station, Mark Hamill spoke at the Salt Lake Comic-Con, promoting his performance as The Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. As always, he was carefully mum regarding details about Star Wars: Episode VIII. He's "contractually forbidden" from discussing the film for reasons he himself points out - "Anything you do or say leads to speculation." Nonetheless, some details he let slip about his schedule leaves plenty to rampantly speculate about.
"I came home and I realized, ‘oh my gosh, they have an interview for me tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t watched [The Killing Joke], and the day after I start on a sequence, an elaborate special effects sequence where I’m not going to be able to do anything. I have to focus specifically on the Episode VIII scene I’m doing."
Hamill also mentioned that they had been doing night shoots, which may coincide with the "elaborate special effects sequence" he's discussing. Could this be a continuation of the Knights of Ren flashback scene? Recent hints have pointed to additional Force Visions in this new chapter.
While it's surely a surprise to no-one that a Star Wars movie is going to feature special effects, Hamill's involvement in them may hint at more than he meant to reveal. His use of the qualifier "elaborate" suggests that this is more than just a few shots of him acting in front of a green screen, or even in the cockpit of an X-Wing. It suggests intense fight choreography. This is by no means of confirmation that we'll see Luke in full Jedi Master mode in Episode VIII, but it's a heartening hint for those disappointed by his slim role in The Force Awakens.
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.