While the phenomenon of a "Star Wars cameo" hasn't always been a thing in Hollywood, it certainly became one in the years since George Lucas' prequel trilogy started sneaking in the filmmaker, his family, and even E.T. himself into the picture. However, much like the storytelling mantle that he also inherited, J.J. Abrams took the torch and ran with it, making it a full fledged achievement with the scores of cameos he included in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At this point, it's uncertain that Rian Johnson will be as trigger happy with the cameo cannon as Abrams was, but it looks like Star Wars: The Last Jedi may have just confirmed a very big appearance we've heard about for some time now. Take a look at the special teaser below.
If that photo on Rian Johnson's Tumblr is what we think it is, we've just seen the director implicitly tease Tom Hardy's participation in Star Wars: The Last Jedi being as real as a Stormtrooper's lack of aim. Truth or not, this tease comes after quite a bit of discussion over whether Hardy would be donning the First Order regulation uniform, in order to help the heroes inadvertently succeed by missing every shot with a blaster. Even Tom himself has been a bit coy about the idea, with a particularly memorable moment of double talk he'd given the press during a recent interview.
Something similarly sneaky, in a sort of "hide in plain sight" manner, is the fact that Rian Johnson may have just revealed when he'll be able to confirm / deny Tom Hardy's involvement in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The body text of the photo mentions that Johnson will be doing a panel at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando this April, and his usage of the word "we're" indicates that he'll be joined by some other persons. Undoubtedly, Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm Ltd, will be one of those persons, as she's usually at these sorts of events. There's even a possibility that J.J. Abrams might be there, in a sort of passing of the torch one-on-one. But could Tom Hardy be showing up as well?
Honestly, we highly doubt it, no matter how many times we roll around the question of whether the image informs the text, or vice versa. Unless Tom Hardy is going to be announced as the face of TR-8R, newly revived and memory wiped to forget that Finn betrayed the First Order, we'd bet our money that the message and the media are separate pieces of the Star Wars puzzle. Still, why even post a photo of Hardy's would-be Stormtrooper anyway? Are they trying to mess with fans? Is this some sort of distraction to make sure Rian Johnson can operate under the cover of secrecy? We probably won't know the answers to any of these questions for quite a while.
At least we all have Star Wars Celebration to look forward to, as it's set to take place April 13-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. As for you Tom Hardy fans, you can catch his most recent effort, Taboo, on FX and FXNOW, as well as his role in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, which hits theaters on July 21st.