- "Darkness rises...and light to meet it."
Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, marketed as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is a 2017 film written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, along with executive producer J.J. Abrams. It is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The film sees the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members include Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and Kelly Marie Tran.
The Last Jedi begins immediately after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, set thirty years after the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy. It continues the story of Rey and her discovery of the exiled Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, along with the story of the war between General Leia Organa's Resistance and the First Order.
The film was released on December 14, 2017 in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Latin America, and European countries; December 15, 2017 in North America; and January 5, 2018 in China. Some North American theaters offered special limited advance showings on the evening of December 14th rather than the traditional midnight showing. The sequel to The Last Jedi, Star Wars: Episode IX, is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019, marking the conclusion of the sequel trilogy.
- "This is not going to go the way you think."
- ―Luke Skywalker
Following their successful operation to destroy Starkiller Base, Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa, now widowed by the murder of Han Solo at the hands of their own son Ben Solo, alias Kylo Ren, evacuate their main base as a First Order fleet reaches them. The First Order brings in a Dreadnought to destroy the Resistance base but not before the last Resistance personnel evacuate. After taking out the Dreadnought's point-defence cannons at close range, Commander Poe Dameron leads a counter-attack with a squad of Resistance bombers to destroy the Dreadnought, disobeying orders from General Organa to retreat, and suffers severe losses, including gunner Paige Tico. The Resistance vessels escape by jumping to lightspeed.
General Organa reprimands and demotes Poe to Captain for disobeying orders, while Supreme Leader Snoke reprimands General Armitage Hux for his failure to block the evacuation and the loss of a Dreadnought. Hux reveals, however, that the First Order is tracking the Resistance through hyperspace and a long pursuit begins, with the Resistance relying on their spaceships' mobility and shields to stay out of effective weapons range while their fuel supplies dwindle. The First Order fleet, led by Snoke, Hux, and Ren aboard the Mega-class Star Destroyer Supremacy, quickly catches up with the Resistance fleet.
Motivated by Snoke's harsh dismissal of his efforts to fully embrace the dark side of the Force, Kylo Ren leads a devastating starfighter assault against the Resistance fleet, flying inside the Raddus's hangar bay to destroy most of the Resistance's fighter complement within. Lining up for a bombing run on the Raddus's bridge, Ren hesitates to fire after sensing his mother's presence onboard. However, his TIE fighter escorts take the shot, destroying the bridge killing many Resistance leaders, including Admiral Gial Ackbar. Leia survives exposure to space through use of the Force, but is seriously incapacitated, leaving Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in command.
Disapproving of their leaders' passive strategy, Poe, Finn the ex-stormtrooper, BB-8 the BB-series droid, and a young Resistance mechanic named Rose Tico, Paige's younger sister, embark on a secret plan to disable the First Order fleet's hyperspace tracking system aboard the Supremacy.
Training on Ahch-ToEdit
Having arrived on the waterworld of Ahch-To with the Wookiee Chewbacca and astromech droid R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon, the Force-sensitive Rey meets Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Luke refuses to initiate her in the ways of the Force because of his past failure when teaching Ren, even after learning of Han's murder. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Ren begin communicating with each other through involuntary shared visions. Prodded by R2-D2, Luke eventually agrees to teach Rey, showing her the ancient texts within the first Jedi Temple and telling her to reject her simplistic view of the Force as cleanly defined between the light and the dark side. He is, however, deeply perturbed by her lack of caution when approaching the dark side.
Rey and Ren continue to experience shared visions and Rey excoriates him for murdering Han Solo, while Ren mocks her need to find replacement parental figures, first in Han and now Luke.
Continuing his attempt to train her, Luke lectures Rey on the failures of the Jedi Order and Rey realizes that Luke has shut himself off from the Force.
Rey travels to a cavern beneath the island where the dark side is powerful and experiences a vision while touching a reflective rock wall, asking to see her parents but seeing only her own reflection. She resolves to abandon her Jedi training and leave Ahch-To. Luke revisits the cliffside outcrop where he first began training Rey and attempts to re-open his connection to the Force, succeeding when he makes mental contact with an unconscious Leia.
In another shared vision, Ren claims to Rey that Luke grew afraid of Ren's growing power and tried to murder him during training. They are soon discovered by Luke, by now reconnected to the Force, who is horrified and furious. Luke angrily and immediately demands that Rey leaves Ahch-To but Rey attacks him in her rage. Proving to be more than a match for her, Luke easily stops Rey's attacks, disarms her, and destroys her hut with the Force. He confesses that he contemplated killing a sleeping Ben Solo upon discovering his corruption by Snoke but instantly relented. Ben, however awoke to see Luke standing over him with an ignited lightsaber and immediately counter-attacked, destroying Luke's new Jedi Temple and disappearing to become Kylo Ren.
Unable to convince Luke to join the Resistance, Rey leaves Ahch-To without him to confront Ren, hoping to turn him to the light side, succeeding where Luke failed. Luke attempts to destroy the ancient Jedi texts but is interrupted by the ghost of Yoda. As Luke hesitates at the task, Yoda himself summons a thunderbolt to destroy the library, then tells Luke that the most important lessons that masters can give are their failures.
Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions to be cowardly and risky, Poe instigates a mutiny, apprehending Holdo and her command staff.
Finn, Rose, and BB-8 recruit the slicer DJ at a casino on Canto Bight, believing that he will be able to help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate the Supremacy, but are captured by Captain Phasma, though BB-8 manages to escape.
Death of the Supreme LeaderEdit
Meanwhile, Rey delivers herself to the Supremacy in order to meet Ren, but she is immediately placed in binder cuffs and he takes her to Snoke.
During a confrontation with Snoke, Rey tries to turn Ren to the side of the Resistance. Snoke reveals that he was responsible for the mental connection between her and Ren as part of a plan to find and destroy Luke. Snoke commands Ren to execute Rey, but instead Ren kills Snoke with Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber. Rey and Ren cooperate to win a furious melee against Snoke's guards. In the aftermath, Ren compels Rey to admit what she has known all along - that her parents were insignificant junkers who sold her as a child for drinking money, and that they are likely dead and buried in the wastes of Jakku. Ren invites Rey to rule the galaxy with him, but Rey refuses, and asks him to join the Resistance. Using the Force, they struggle for possession of Anakin's lightsaber until it breaks into two pieces, causing a large explosion. While Ren is unconscious, Rey escapes on Snoke's personal craft.
Rose and Finn learn that DJ has sold them out for his own freedom. Just before Phasma's execution order is carried out, BB-8 commandeers a docked AT-ST walker and saves them. Finn and Rose battle Phasma while the First Order stormtroopers are distracted by the battle.
In Snoke's chamber, Hux nearly executes an unconscious Ren, when he awakes. Kylo claims Rey killed Snoke and issues orders for the fleet, which causes Hux to explode in fury at the presumptuousness. This is quickly quelled by means of a Force-choke, where Ren declares himself the new Supreme Leader.
Battle of CraitEdit
Meanwhile, having recovered, Leia neutralizes Poe and allows the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the main ship to mislead Snoke's fleet as all the others escape to an old Rebel Alliance base on the nearby planet Crait. However, DJ reveals the Resistance's plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are targeted with heavy losses. However, Holdo sacrifices herself to ram the Raddus into the Supremacy at lightspeed, cleaving it in two and destroying much of its escort fleet instantly. BB-8 frees Rose and Finn, who escape after defeating Phasma, and join the Resistance survivors in an abandoned mine.
When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose lead a charge with old ski speeders, to destroy the First Order assault force's massive battering ram cannon, but take concentrated fire from the First Order's AT-M6 walkers and TIE fighters, suffering heavy losses. Rey and Chewbacca arrive in the Falcon and draw the TIE fighters away, while Rose prevents Finn from sacrificing himself to destroy the battering ram cannon, which then blasts a hole in the fortress. The Resistance broadcasts a distress signal to their allies, but receives no response, and Leia laments that the galaxy has lost hope.
However, Luke suddenly arrives to comfort Leia and confronts Ren alone outside the breached door, giving the surviving Resistance fighters time to escape. Ren orders the First Order walkers to unleash a massive volley of turbolaser fire on Luke's position, but Luke emerges from the blast crater completely unscathed. Ren engages Luke with his lightsaber, but Luke repeatedly evades his attacks, enraging Ren, who vows to destroy both the Resistance and the Jedi. Luke counters by saying that both the Jedi and the Rebellion are born anew in Rey and the Resistance, and invites Ren to strike him down. When Ren does, he learns that he has been fighting nothing but a non-corporeal Force projection, and Luke is still physically on Ahch-To. However, the effort to create the projection was too much for Luke, and Luke's body vanishes as he peacefully becomes one with the Force.
The remaining Resistance fighters escape aboard the Falcon, and Rey looks at the small numbers hopelessly. Leia, however, reassures everyone that the rebellion now has all that is needed to rise again. Rey looks into a container, revealing that she actually stole all of the books from the original Jedi library, saving them before their resting place on Ach-To was destroyed. On Canto Bight, one of the stable children that helped Finn and Rose escape listens to a story about Luke's adventures, before summoning his broom with the Force and hopefully gazing up into the stars.
- "The second film is where we start zooming in on the characters and getting to the heart of them, challenging them, and pushing them deeper."
- ―Rian Johnson
Unofficial reports claimed in November 2012 that Lawrence Kasdan—who originally wrote the screenplays for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—and Simon Kinberg would divide writing responsibilities for Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX, and both would co-produce all three films of the upcoming sequel trilogy. However, in February 2013, Disney confirmed that Kasdan and Kinberg were working on standalone films, not saga films. On June 20, 2014, a spokesperson for director Rian Johnson confirmed that he would write and direct Episode VIII, as well as pen a story treatment for Episode IX. Ram Bergman, Johnson's frequent collaborator, was also confirmed to be brought onto the project as a producer, working alongside Kathleen Kennedy.
As Lucasfilm had not developed a story beyond that of The Force Awakens, Johnson was allowed to develop his own story based on access to the script as well as footage screened for him by The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. (Abrams's friend Greg Grunberg claimed that Abrams was so impressed by the script that he regretted not directing it himself.) According to Johnson, "I saw it as the job of this middle chapter to challenge all of those characters—let's see what happens if we knock the stool out from under them." .... "I started by writing the names of each of the characters, and thinking, 'What's the hardest thing they could be faced with?'" While writing, Johnson regularly met with the Lucasfilm Story Group and members of the cast to share ideas and drafts of the script. The story was partially derived from one of George Lucas's ideas for Episode VII, in which Luke lives in seclusion in a Jedi temple and reluctantly trains a young girl named Kira. John Boyega later told Vogue that the script was "darker" than the one for The Force Awakens. To prepare for Episode VIII, Johnson and crew screened select classic films such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gunga Din, Letter Never Sent, Sahara, Three Outlaw Samurai, To Catch a Thief and Twelve O'Clock High. Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac and Daisy Ridley also underwent physical training.
Preliminary filming took place in September 2015 on Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of mainland Ireland. The island stands in for the planet Ahch-To, which first appeared at the end of The Force Awakens, but is featured prominently in The Last Jedi; Production design was inspired by the real-world elements of Skellig Michael. This sequence was filmed with IMAX cameras. Before leaving, the crew donated €10,000 to the ferry service that had transported them to-and-from the island.
Production officially began in England in February 2016, under the working title of "Space Bear." It utilized 14 stages at Pinewood Studios and a total of 125 sets, with many of the crew from Episode VII returning. As with the original trilogy, the character of Yoda was an entirely practical effect, with a new puppet created based on original molds for The Empire Strikes Back, and Frank Oz returning to operate and voice the character. From March 9-16, production took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, followed by a return to Ireland for twelve weeks in County Cork. Several members of the production likened the experience of making the film to working on an independent production. Johnson took a lot of the behind-the-scenes photographs himself, and also shot a brief bit of content for Episode IX. Carrie Fisher worked with Johnson on some of the dialogue, in sessions that he described as "stream-of-consciousness ad-lib." Per a suggestion from Fisher, several of the film's characters wear jewelry of some type. Hamill was surprised by the changes in his character, and had to forumulate a personal backstory for the character so as to play the character effectively. In an interview with Polygon, Hamill described the security measures on set: "You get your pages in the morning, and they take them from you as you walk so they can shred them before it somehow leaks. You have security lines you have to walk through, both to and from set. And, not to mention, you have to wear these big monk hoods to protect your costume from drones." By June 2016, filming was "in the home stretch." Principal photography wrapped on July 22, 2016.
Johnson began editing on August 15, 2016. His first cut ran over three hours, and included full sequences that were cut from the final film. Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27, 2016. Though she had completed filming, she had yet to record ADR. This required significant work by the film's sound editors. Relatively few pick-ups were required, mostly dealing with the Canto Bight sequence and refining the Holdo character. John Williams returned to compose the score, which was recorded from December 2016 to June 2017; He utilized a 101-piece orchestra and a 64-voice choir. On September 21, 2017, Johnson revealed that post-production was complete.
Disney chairman Bob Iger originally announced the release date for Episode VIII of May 26, 2017, forty years and one day after the release of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, though the release date was later pushed back to December 15, 2017. Rian Johnson first publically discussed the film in a panel at Celebration Europe. The film's title, The Last Jedi, was announced on January 23, 2017. The title announcement was accompanied with a release of a logo for the film featuring the Star Wars logo in red rather than its traditional logo. This coloring change, previously seen with Return of the Jedi and with "Brothers" and "Revenge," installments of Star Wars: The Clone Wars focused on Darth Maul, led some to speculate that the film's creators may be hinting at dark events within the film. The title's announcement also launched a frenzy of online speculation in regard to the identity of the "last Jedi," with some noting that the term "Jedi" can be used plurally. (Foreign translations also had the title as plural.) However, Rian Johnson later said that it refers specifically to Luke Skywalker.
Footage of The Last Jedi was shared with Disney shareholders in March 2017, including a look at the beginning of the film, which happens immediately following the ending of The Force Awakens. Disney CEO Bob Iger, having seen the film, referred to it as a "perfect chapter" in the saga, stating, "I can promise you it's worth the wait." On April 11, Hamill and Ridley appeared on Good Morning America to promote the Force for Change charity; One of the three rewards was a trip for two to the premiere of The Last Jedi. Cast and crew featured in a Last Jedi panel at Celebration Orlando. At the end of the panel, Johnson debuted a teaser poster and teaser trailer. The film was featured in the May 2017 issue of Vanity Fair (for which the cast and crew were photographed on-set by Annie Leibovitz) and both the August and December 2017 issues of Entertainment Weekly. Johnson and the cast again appeared at July's D23, during which a behind-the-scenes featurette was released. In the lead-up to release, cast and crew made various media appearances to promote the film, including Ellen, Good Morning America, Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Cast members were also spotlighted in contemporary issues of Elle, TIME, Esquire, Rolling Stone and The New York Times, and Johnson and the cast participated in Facebook/Twitter Q&As.
The theatrical trailer and poster debuted on October 9, 2017 during Monday Night Football, after which tickets went on sale. Johnson advised spoiler-weary fans to avoid the trailer. On October 24, USA Today published an exclusive behind-the-scenes video. A TV spot known as "Awake" debuted during the November 1 broadcast of the World Series. Behind-the-scenes content is being shown before theatrical screenings of other Disney movies. The official Star Wars Tumblr held a contest in which fan art was showcased at the film's world premiere, which was held on December 9, 2017.
The film's product line debuted on September 1, 2017, known as Force Friday II; Target launched its Force Friday campaign early with a video centered around Rey and female fans. Like with The Force Awakens, the months leading up to the debut of The Last Jedi saw the release of several novels, short stories, comics, reference books, and activity books known collectively as Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The media, written and created by several different authors, cover various topics related to The Last Jedi as well as other aspects of the Star Wars universe. Toy merchandise includes many plush toys based around the porg creatures introduced in the film, as well as various action figures, including action figures of porgs.
Lucasfilm arranged licensing tie-ins with Ample Hills, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Cargo Cosmetics, Christian Louboutin, Dole, General Mills, Hot Topic, Nissan, Philips, rag & bone, Samsung, Verizon and Vizio. The UK's Royal Mail released a series of The Last Jedi-themed postal stamps. Disney added The Last Jedi-themed content to its Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride, including the new planet Crait. The video game Star Wars Battlefront II features sequel trilogy characters as they appear in The Last Jedi. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes introduced The Last Jedi characters and material. LEGO released an online minigame, "The Last Jedi" 360 Experience. ILMxLab's Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay is a virtual reality experience that ties into the film.
The film's soundtrack was released in physical form and digital download on December 15, 2017, the same date as the film's theatrical premiere. Many of the books previously announced on Force Friday were also released on this day; The rest, including the novelization and a number of other adaptations, will be released in early 2018.
The home video releases will include 20 minutes of deleted scenes and a blooper reel amongst their bonus features.
The film topped polls from both Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes as the most anticipated film of 2017. It generated the highest level of film discussion on social media for late 2017, and analysts expected a $200 million opening. As of January 13, 2018, the film had a 90% Fresh rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with 322/356 Fresh reviews and average rating of 8.1/10. The site's consensus for the film states that "Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga's rich legacy while adding some surprising twists -- and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger praised that "Rian Johnson clearly remembers something that Lucas' most fervent followers sometimes forget: These are movies for the young, or at least the young at heart," while Peter Howell of the Toronto Star praised Johnson's ability to "find the humanity within technology," similar to his well-known film Looper. Star Wars creator George Lucas called the film "beautifully made."
Regarding more mixed online user scores for the film, Dave Hollis, President of Disney theatrical distribution, commented, "Rian Johnson, the cast, and the Lucasfilm team have delivered an experience that is totally Star Wars yet at the same time fresh, unexpected and new. That makes this a Star Wars film like audiences have never seen – it's got people talking, puzzling over its mysteries, and it's a lot to take in, and we see that as all positive, that should help set the film up for great word-of-mouth and repeat viewing as we enter the lucrative holiday period." When asked about the backlash, Johnson himself commented "Lucas never made a 'Star Wars' movie by sitting down and thinking, 'What do the fans want to see?' And I knew if I wrote wondering what the fans would want, as tempting as that is, it wouldn't work, because people would still be shouting at me, 'F--- you, you ruined "Star Wars,"' and I would make a bad movie. And ultimately, that's the one thing nobody wants."
As projected, the film took a domestic box office in its opening weekend of well over $200 million, a final figure of an estimated $220 million, and an overall global box office of approximately $450 million. It was predicted to break the billion-dollar barrier within days, as fans flocked to the box office for the Christmas holiday weekend.
The film shows Rey and Poe meeting for the first time. The two, however, were depicted as meeting in a deleted scene that was made canon in the novelization of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. This error in continuity led to a tweet by Pablo Hidalgo discussing the canonicity of deleted scenes and other canon materials' depictions of those deleted scenes.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi on Wikipedia