The next Star Wars film is upon us this Thursday. December 14. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is essentially the continuation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens where we see the future destinies of potential Force user Rey (Daisy Ridley), First Order defector Finn (John Boyega), hotshot rebel pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Jedi Killer Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) unfolds into a sci-fi epic unlike any other.
The film might have shades of the second film of the trilogy that mattered, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Hopefully, it’ll be its own beast given that The Force Awakens already used up its nostalgia trump card to win back the fans burned by The Phantom Menace and its two sequels.
To celebrate this upcoming occasion, let’s list down the top 8 facts you should know about the next space-faring adventure before you dive right in. Don’t worry, there aren’t any spoilers here: just notes & trivia pieces so that you can lay it on to your sci-fi peers & brethren before the film starts airing later this week.
1. Our Lead Heroes’ History Will Take Centrestage
All those things tying to Rey’s past about the Force and Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) previous Jedi order? They all matter here in The Last Jedi. Being the second in the trilogy means that it needs to play out the big story guns here. Rey will need to master her powers with the help of the previous trilogy’s hero Luke Skywalker, now a wizened jaded Force user. Elsewhere, Finn and Poe need to sort out the Rebel Alliance and stage a planned attack against the First Order.
2. This Will Be Carrie Fisher’s Last Star Wars Role, or Will It?
Fisher’s passing was tragic, really, as her scenes in The Last Jedi were shot but her dialogue re-recording ADR (additional dialogue replacement) bit isn't. Still, director Rian Johnson and the post-production team made it work and made sure that her swan song would do the film justice. “We have a great sound team and we managed to pull her dialogue out and find little snippets from here and there and make it work,” Johnson said in a Rolling Stone article. But did she die in the movie? That’ll be too predictable, wouldn’t it?
3. Director & Writer Rian Johnson Respects The Canon
The director of Brick, Looper, and some key episodes of TV show Breaking Bad may seem like a new untested name for the Star Wars canon, but his credibility is without question. Despite his trouble grappling the patterns & beats of a Star Wars film, we can expect a much fresher take from the eyes of a more esoteric sci-fi director. He will make sure The Force Awakens flashbacks matter, prioritize the reactions of Rey’s ancestry Force reveal more than the actual reveal itself, and work together with Lucasfilm’s Story Group so that his more outlandish concepts can work within this PG-rated franchise. In other words, it’ll be in good hands.
4. BB8 Will Kick Some Serious Butt
We all loved BB8 when it first appeared in The Force Awakens. It played a pivotal role by providing part of the map to Luke Skywalker and helped Rey and Finn get out of a couple of precarious scenarios. This time around, this astromech droid is going to save some serious ass, including piloting a vehicle all by itself and doing some major damage.
5. The Series Will Feature Its First Prominent Asian Star
Kelly Marie Tran, who plays resistance mechanic Rose Tico, might be making history in the film’s legacy. There will be quite a number of scenes between Tran’s Tico and John Boyega’s Finn, with most of them adding to the narrative and world-building. In a series played predominantly by white actors, this focus on racial inclusion is welcome.
6. Would Kylo Ren Turn Good? Or Would Rey Turn to the Dark Side?
If you’ve studied the trailers, you would have seen that Rey and Kylo Ren have some sort of interaction between them that suggests one of them will turn. Will it be Rey being tempted to the Dark Side? Or would Kylo Ren lean towards the light? One thing’s for sure, there will be some shake-up to the Force, including a death, but whose?
7. Everybody Is Super Tight-lipped About the Last Jedi
We won't be getting much apart from the already-released trailers from Disney. No further teases, nada. Even Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver believes that the secretive nature of the project adds to his character’s air of mystery in a Screen Rant interview.
But we do know one thing: the big reveal about Rey and Kylo’s family tree must happen now to set the resolution of the expected ninth film in this new trilogy. Also, some high-profile actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benicio Del Toro, Warwick Davis, and Tom Hardy and making cameos left and right in the show, which would mean repeated viewings for cameo-hunting cinemagoers this whole second half of the month.
8. Porgs Were Created Because Riann Johnson Likes Puffins
At the off-chance that The Last Jedi’s story is less than stellar, Disney at least can bank on their new Star Wars mascot to rake in the dough. Part bird, part rabbit, and all adorable: it’s easy to forget that this was an idea born out of a whim.
A Rolling Stone interview stated that the island where they shot Luke Skywalker’s scenes had puffins hanging around a nearby bird sanctuary. He wanted to make up an opportunity for light comedy in that part of the Last Jedi’s story. Thus we get Porgs.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases in Singapore on December 14.