In Depth

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi reviews - the force is (mostly) strong with this one

Spoiler-free review round-up: majority of critics lavish praise on new instalment but some question its length and ambition

Star Wars 8: Has Luke Skywalker gone rogue in The Last Jedi?

19 April 

The first teaser for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been released, prompting fans and critics to speculate about what to expect from the new film.

Along with the film’s poster, the trailer appeared on the internet over Easter, following its premiere at the Star Wars Celebration fan event in Florida.

Footage picks up where The Force Awakens, with the first encounter between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker.

A voiceover from Luke seems to be briefing Rey on the Force, as she practices her Jedi moves with a lightsaber on the isolated island on the planet Ahch-To, where the Jedi is living in apparently self-imposed exile.

We also catch glimpses of Finn (John Boyega), the Resistance base under heavy attack and the discarded mask of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

But the most shocking revelation comes at the end of the clip, when Luke announces it's time for the Jedi to end.

What does he mean? asks Stefan Kyriazis in the Daily Express. Has Luke “turned to the Dark Side” and will he train Rey to use dark forces as well?

Or perhaps he has become a Grey Jedi - one who walks the line between light and dark sides of the Force and operates outside the strict Jedi code?

Many fans argued the voiceover was a trick and that the voice was actually that of Kylo Ren or Supreme Leader Snoke. However, Hamill confirmed that the voiceover is his.

Taking on the Jedi is a risky move, writes Ben Child in The Guardian, and by undermining the foundations of Star Wars in an effort to break new ground, director Rian Johnson shouldn’t be “surprised if the walls come tumbling down around him”.

Meanwhile, the new poster for The Last Jedi pays homage to the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, says Slash Film.

It shows Rey holding a lightsaber skyward in a manner reminiscent of Luke Skywalker in the 1977 poster’s cross-like image.

In the new poster, the sword also divides the image into two halves, with Luke on one side and Kylo Ren on the other, suggesting the theme of balance between the two sides of the Force. So maybe it is teasing the way Rey will walk the line between the two sides in the new film?

The Last Jedi is due for release on 15 December.

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi – poll reveals fans still think Luke is Rey's father

21 March

Luke Skywalker is the father of The Force Awakens heroine Rey, according to a majority of Star Wars fan who took part in a poll on Reddit.

Voting is tight, though, and almost as many respondents believe the most likely candidate will turn out to be someone "random".

Han Solo and General Leia Organa also received a large number of votes for being her parents, as did the theory Rey may have been born through some kind of miracle birth.

Speculation about Rey's background has been growing since the last episode in the long-running space opera was released in December 2015.

The results of the poll reveal that in spite of the many theories that have been floated, the front-running explanation is still the one that most viewers held after the climactic meeting between Luke and Rey at the end of the last film in the series.

In their discussions on Reddit, fans have also suggested Rey may be the granddaughter of Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, although whether this would mean Luke or Leia is her parent remains unexplored.

"They could do a double whammy plot hole filling session by having Leia explain that she used to have weird dreams about her birth mother and tells Rey she looks just like her, which she totally does," says Reddit user ani0227. "Two birds with one stone."

All will be revealed when Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi is released in December.

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi – Did Luke Skywalker murder Rey's parents?

14 March

Luke Skywalker killed the parents of The Force Awakens' heroine Rey – or at least that is the theory currently doing the rounds among Star Wars fans on Reddit.

It is being argued that after the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke went out into the galaxy to search for any last traces of the Force. He came across a cult on a distant planet dedicated to following the dark side of the Force and among them is the baby Rey, who he decides to save. However, when he was caught, he was forced to kill her parents.

Several fans give the theory the thumbs-up. "This is honestly a good, intriguing theory," says a Reddit user who goes by the name of Syokmyun. "I'd love if this happened, it'd bring an interesting twist to the universe."

Another Redditor, Teen_Goatl adds: "Totally agree. Of all the options, Luke being responsible for the death of Rey's parents has the most dramatic potential. [Series creator George] Lucas said this trilogy would address the fact that life is more complicated than the good vs evil dichotomy of the original trilogy. The Force Awakens sets up a context for dealing with the collateral damage / fall out from the Rebellion's victory."

Not all fans agree on Luke's motivations for the murder. One agrees he killed Rey's parents, but says it was for slightly different reasons – specifically that they were members of the shadowy organisation the Knights of Ren.

"My own theory was that… Rey's mother fell in love with Luke, or both of Rey's parents [were] Knights of Ren who Luke had to kill," says IamSnokeO_o.

The idea that Luke might have killed Rey's parents flies in the face of the leading theory that emerged following the release of the seventh movie in the series, The Force Awakens, in 2015.

As the credits rolled, most fans were left with the impression that Rey was the Jedi knight's daughter. That idea has since lost favour, with one Star Wars theorist, Mike Zeroh, suggesting instead that the new heroine may turn out to be a female clone of Luke.

In a recent video, the blogger says: "Luke Skywalker will be this father figure in The Last Jedi to Rey…

"I think that you're going to see a lot of… father and daughter aspects of these two… but I think that they're not going to be related.

"I've heard that maybe she is a clone of Luke Skywalker by his severed hand."

Luke lost his hand in The Empire Strikes Back during a lightsaber duel with his father, Darth Vader.

Zeroh adds: "Emperor Palpatine could have got that hand [and] got the DNA."

Until Star Wars comes out in December, fans will have to continue to speculate, but Colin Trevorrow, the director of the forthcoming Star Wars 9, has said that when the reveal eventually does come, it will be "profoundly satisfying."

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi and beyond – will there be another trilogy?

6 March

According to popular rumour, Disney is planning more films to follow up the smash hit success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Last year, the Daily Mail reported the studio was planning two more trilogies and three more spin-off films at least.

"So many characters' back-stories can now be brought to life," an insider told the paper. "When these ideas came from George Lucas 40 years ago, technology was lagging behind."

So what will the films be about? This is a question being discussed by fans of the long-running sci-fi series on Reddit at the moment.

"Hopefully [there will be] a new trilogy, not too long after the conclusion of this one," says Reddit user AnotherRandomJedi. "I feel like this timeline has way too much to offer to just cram it into three movies."

Another says Disney will have to consider retiring the Skywalker clan eventually.

"Hopefully they'll be done with the Skywalker stuff and we can get like a Darth Bane saga or a Sith centric storyline," says RevanisAlive516. "Something cool and not done before. No more whoring of the Skywalker family and that era of Star Wars. It's already getting stale. Let's move on."

The content of the forthcoming sequels, if they truly exist, "is anyone's guess", says Star Wars News Net, and could potentially include "a second sequel trilogy, an Obi-Wan trilogy and the mostly fan-fuelled rumours of an Old Republic trilogy".

The sequence of films and the exact subject matter may depend on how successful each one is, adds the site: "If [the future spin-offs] fail to meet expectations, it is likely a second sequel trilogy will be in our future.

"If people flock to the story of young Han Solo, then something like an Obi-Wan trilogy set between Episodes III and IV may be seen as a safer bet, while they push the second sequel trilogy down the road a bit and hold that in their back pocket as a saviour for when they start seeing diminish returns on stand-alone films."

According to notes he made in the 1970s, Lucas originally planned for 12 Star Wars films, not just nine. Confusingly, he appears to have had three trilogies in mind, linked with three bridging films.

Regardless, it seems apparent that Disney has no intention of wrapping up its lucrative franchise.

Once the next trilogies and spin-offs are out of the way, "it's likely Disney will simply keep the ball rolling", Yahoo Tech says.

Reports say chief executive Bob Iger's thoughts are now extending into 2021 and beyond.

"We have a great system in place," he said.

The next Star Wars film in line is Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi, due out at the end of 2017.

Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi – What will Luke's first line be?

March 3

What will Luke Skywalker's first line in Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi be? That was the question asked by mega-fans of the sci-fi series on Reddit this week.

The last instalment of the Star Wars saga ended on a cliffhanger, with the series' new star Rey (Daisy Ridley) coming face to face with the hero of the original trilogy of films, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The two stared longingly at one another as Rey held out Luke's old lightsaber, but neither said a word. 

So how will the dialogue in the next film begin?

"You shouldn't have come back," suggests a Reddit user who goes by the name of alx924.

Words to this effect are a popular theme among fans. Another commenter, LukeLia, predicts the film will open with the following exchange:

Luke: You've come back.

Rey: Yes.

Luke: That lightsaber belongs to you.

Rey: I know.

Others have less serious ideas on how the film will open. One Reddit User suggests Luke will tell Rey: "Wow, I can't wait to see Han again."

Another offers the following exchange:

Luke: "You're like a ray of sunshine."

Rey: "You make me feel lukewarm."

One thing fans will be keen to see is how Mark Hamill has matured as an actor since he first picked up a lightsaber as Luke Skywalker.

Hamill landed the role of a lifetime when he was cast as the hero of Star Wars aged 25, but his performance was poorly received by critics and his career has been relatively limited since the release of the Return of the Jedi.

However, Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams says he won't be surprised if the actor isn't at next year's Academy Awards for his portrayal of Luke in The Last Jedi.

"I think we are all going to be very upset if he doesn't win an Oscar - and no one more upset than Mark," Abrams said at the Oscar Wilde Awards in London last month.

"That may be a bit of hyperbole," says MovieWeb, "but it also isn't out of the realm of possibility. Back when the first Star Wars came out, Alec Guinness was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Obi-Wan Kenobi."

The Last Jedi's December release certainly puts it head to head with Hollywood's main Oscar contenders, which tend to get their cinematic debut towards the beginning and end of each calendar year, so watch this space.

Star Wars 8: Could Rey's parentage remain a mystery?

24 February

After months of speculation about the origins of Rey, the orphan at the centre of the latest Star Wars trilogy, fans are beginning to wonder whether the writers might choose to keep her backstory a secret to underline the fact that "anyone can be a hero."

One of the most appealing aspects of the original Star Wars films, released in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was the idea that the universe was governed by a great power, known in Star Wars mythology as the Force, which could be tapped into by any individual to achieve great things. The simplicity of the concept inspired a generation of wannabe Jedi Knights.

The second trilogy of films, however, undermined the original by introducing a new notion that some people were genetically predisposed to being able to use the Force, due to having been born with a high percentage of "midichlorians" in their blood.

Fans were aghast. "All of a sudden, instead of there being an energy field that 'binds the galaxy together,' there are little microscopic life forms inside of the Jedi, allowing them to… do what? What was a fairly clear-cut explanation suddenly becomes incredibly muddled," Charlie Jane Anders says on Gizmodo.

The prequel trilogy as a whole was received poorly by fans and critics alike. Consequently Disney, the saga's new owner, has pretty much written out unpopular characters, species and even concepts, such as midichlorians.

Now, fans on Reddit are wondering whether the writing team behind Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi will choose to keep Rey's backstory a secret so viewers can continue to believe that "you can have that power too."

Reddit user Bobolife writes: "I really dislike the fan focus on arguing about who her parents are. I think it takes away from the fact that what she did and what she may do in future is what makes her great. And reduces her to being an add-on to Luke. She is the new holder of the chosen one's saber whatever genes she has."

Heisenfgt agrees, saying: "The fans made it into a big deal, not the movie. Rey's birth family is ultimately disregarded as Rey accepts that they're never coming back and moves on with her life."

Not everyone thinks Rey's parentage will remain mysterious, though. Robotical712 says it is important to know her origin because "who her parents are determines the type of story we get".

All will be revealed when Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi is released in December this year.

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