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If Star Wars: The Force Awakens could be described as a "Han Solo story" (given the events of the anticipated sequel), then all signs point to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode 8 being a Luke Skywalker story, It makes sense. The ending of The Force Awakens set the stage for Luke, and Mark Hamill stars in this production announcement for the next Star Wars movie. Watch it now!
This is a splashy way for Disney to announce the start of production on Rian Johnson’s first Star Wars movie. The clip, shared on the official Star Wars Web site, opens with an aerial shot approaching Skellig Michael, the island off the coast of Ireland that serves as the location of Luke Skywalker’s … well, we don’t really know yet, do we? We assume that Luke is protecting something very important, probably trying to keep it out of the hands of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). That’s the only way that we can justify Luke sitting out the tragic action of The Force Awakens. Leaving his post likely would have led to even more danger for the revised Resistence. Whatever the First Order is searching for, Skywalker needs to keep it out of Kylo’s hands, and he’ll likely need Rey’s help to pull it off.
Here’s a question, though? Does this mean Rian Johnson filmed the final scene of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Or will Star Wars: Episode 8 be the first movie in the long history of the Star Wars universe to pick up immediately where the previous one ended. Usually, the title crawl for the new Star Wars fills in the gap that occurs in between the movies. It’s possible that Johnson is filming this new Luke scene for the very beginning of his Star Wars movie. It’s also likely that he did film the end of Force Awakens.
StarWars.com suggests, though, that Episode 8 will follow VERY closely after the details of The Force Awakens. The wording of the release states this:
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016. Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.
Now we just need a subtitle. I imagine that, much like The Force Awakens, the subtitle of Star Wars: Episode 8 will go a long way toward helping to explain what secrets we might have answered in the middle chapter of this new trilogy. Or, it might be just vague enough to drive us all nuts. Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode 8 has been pushed back to December 15, 2017.