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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will premiere Dec.15 in the U.S.

The eighth installment in the Star Wars franchise is nearly here—Star Wars: The Last Jedi will premiere Dec. 14 in the United Kingdom and Dec. 15 around the world. This movie will follow the main characters of Rey, Kylo Ren, Luke and Leia Skywalker, Poe Dameron, and Finn. A new character played by actress Marie Kelly Tran will also be added to this extensive list; her character is said to have the most important new role in the upcoming film. Tran will be the first Asian woman to play a major character in the Star Wars universe, only a year after Donnie Yen reached the same landmark for Asian men. Benicio del Toro has also snagged a role in this installment, one that is being kept under a lot of secrecy: his character is currently known only as “a man in black.”

One of the biggest questions surrounding the production of this film, and that of the future final installment, concerns the role of Princess Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher, the actress that portrayed Leia for the entirety of the franchise, tragically passed away last December. Fans have understandably been wondering how this will affect the films. It has been confirmed that Fisher had finished filming all of her scenes for The Last Jedi, but given that she will not be there for the filming of Episode IX, it is unknown whether they will keep her storyline the same, or find a way to say goodbye to the character in this film. After all, Disney could have had time to figure a way to do so with editing since last December. Other possibilities include having Leia’s non-appearance explained through dialogue, recasting, or CGI.

Disney received a $50 million insurance payout from Carrie Fisher’s death (showing how invested they were in her character), which would certainly make CGI more feasible, given how exorbitantly expensive it is. However, some have raised moral qualms with the idea of bringing back deceased actors’ likenesses, something Star Wars has already done twice. And, even if the actors’ estates gave approval for those appearances, it is not guaranteed they will give permission again. Recasting poses another problem—Carrie Fisher is so strongly identified with Princess Leia that fans might react negatively to another actress taking the role. Disney will need to decide what is more important to the franchise: If they want the story to turn out the way they had planned, which was presumably conceived with the assumption Fisher would be alive, they will need to either recast or consider extensive CGI. If the connection between Leia and Fisher takes precedence, then Disney must find a way to give her character the good-bye she deserves. Both options carry considerable amounts of pressure for Disney.

Plotwise, many are hoping The Last Jedi is the movie that delivers answers to the biggest questions left hanging by the The Force Awakens. Could Luke be falling prey to the dark side? Is Rey a Skywalker? According to the Disney CEO, who got an advanced screening of the film, the movie is a continuation of the Skywalker family saga, which seems to suggest that Rey is a Skywalker, but nothing will be confirmed until the movie comes out. Another individual who was privy to the early screening states that Kylo Ren and Rey’s stories are closely intertwined, further hinting at Rey’s lineage. As for the former question, the official teaser trailer for the movie ends with Luke saying, “it’s time for the Jedi to end,” so there is definitely fertile ground for those who believe that theory. Even the trailers contain many allusions to the dark side of the force, apart from great cinematography, and the character posters released earlier in July all show the characters dressed in red robes. Even the main poster has a mostly black and red background; perhaps this is a reference to the film’s possible focus on exploring the darkside and its role in the story.

The Last Jedi is definitely a must-see for general movie audiences and Star Wars fans alike, so fa it seems to promise more plot and character development than The Force Awakens. If the cinematography is as good as is shown the trailers, The Last Jedi will also be a beautiful movie to watch. Look out for this film when it hits theaters this December.


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