Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens below

Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains fresh in our minds, it’s never too early to start looking forward to the next installment in the landmark franchise. As Star Wars: Episode VIII won’t hit theaters until the end of 2017, we still know very little about the direction the franchise will take. From the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Rey, to the fate of Finn after his grisly encounter with Kylo Ren, details about Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII remain shrouded in mystery. That being said, recent rumors may have shed light on the nature of one of the film’s more intriguing elements: Laura Dern's role.

According to a rumor courtesy of Latino-Review, new information regarding the nature of Laura Dern’s character in Star Wars: Episode VIII may have come forward. The report indicates that Dern may portray a high-ranking officer or politician in the rebellion with an antagonistic relationship with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron. One reported scene involves Dern’s character telling the film’s protagonists that they are the last of the Resistance against the First Order; a moment that comes after Carrie Fisher’s General Leia sustains grave injuries. Another scene reportedly involves a heated exchange between Dameron and her character, as Dameron seemingly commits a mutiny against her and the crew of her ship.

The rumor then goes on the speculate that Laura Dern’s character represents a foil and political rival to General Leia. While Leia Organa supposedly represents the "Populists," who desire increased autonomy and rights for individual planets, Dern’s character allegedly sides with the "Centrists," who wish to see the galaxy brought under the rule of a strong central government. Poe Dameron displayed an immense level of loyalty to General Leia during the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so for him to potentially side with the Populists amid all of this in fighting doesn’t exactly surprise us.

Aside from the nature of Laura Dern’s role, these rumors also have us wondering about whether or not Leia will make it out of Star Wars: Episode VIII alive. Considering the fact that she will, reportedly, sustain major injuries during the events of the next Star Wars film, it leads us to speculate about whether or not Rian Johnson will take Episode VIII to a much darker place by killing Leia and reuniting her with her love, Han Solo.

It’s worth pointing out that these are all just rumors, and nothing has been confirmed at this point. We will keep you up to date regarding all of the latest and greatest information related to Star Wars: Episode VIII. Production on the next installment in the Star Wars franchise is currently underway, and the film is expected to hit theaters on December 15, 2017. Stay tuned for more details!

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