If the character combo of Luke, Rey, Chewbacca and R2-D2 felt oddly comfortable to some older fans at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it's because this character combo was directly influenced by the original Kenner Star Wars Early Bird action figure package from way back at Christmas 1977. That box set featured Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and Chewbacca for no discernible reason. But now a similar configuration will kick things off in Star Wars 8, adding a bit of pesky nostalgia that may be hard to pinpoint for some fans. Many have wondered exactly what Chewbacca and R2-D2 will be doing while Rey receives her Jedi training from Luke Skywalker on the planet of Ahch-To. Suffice it to say, there are Spoilers that follow, so continue on at your own risk.
There are numerous accounts from inside sources and curious onlookers alike who were in Ireland for the Star Wars: Episode VIII shoot. And they all claim to say the same thing. That Rey will fight Kylo Ren on a cliff while Luke Skywalker battles the Knights of Ren along the shoreline. This scene reveals a few new awesome Jedi powers that Luke has learned during his exile. And he is able to wipe out the Knights with a few quick Force shoves and lightsaber swings. But what are Chewbacca and R2-D2 doing during this time?
If you remember the very last scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it shows Rey being accompanied to Ahch-To by her new co-pilot Chewbacca and R2. There are persistent rumors that Rey will be getting her Jedi training from Luke Skywalker in the first act of Episode VIII, with the sequel confirmed to pick up where the last one left off, as Rey hands Luke Skywalker his old blue lightsaber, which used to belong to Anakin. ibtimes.com has a new rumor that claims to know what Chewbacca and R2 are doing during this period of time.
Apparently, they are going to be living in the Millennium Falcon, keeping guard as Luke Skywalker's location has been compromised. Luke is said to have found an important clue on Ahch-To and doesn't want to leave, despite Rey delivering Luke a hologram message from his sister General Leia asking for his help, which will be directly reminiscent of the opening scene on Tatooine in a New Hope, where Luke discovers Leia's message that has been hidden inside R2.
It is unclear how long Luke and Rey will be on Ahch-To, or how much actual training will be done. But it is said that Luke realizes Kylo Ren and his Knights have a lock on the Master Jedi's location and are heading his way. While we've heard about the land battle that soon ensues, Chewbacca and R2-D2 play an important role in this scene as well. And in true Star Wars fashion, the Luke and Rey vs Kylo and The Knights of Ren scene will be inter-cut along with Chewbacca's impromptu mission.
If we're to believe these new rumors, it is Chewbacca and R2-D2 who head off an invasion by the First Order as they approach the planet to attack. Chewbacca pilots the Millennium Falcon in a defense plan to keep more troops from landing on the ground. What isn't clear is whether or not R2-D2 is somehow able to fire the ship's blasters at the incoming army, which would be a first, since we've never seen C-3PO or R2-D2 engaged in this type of space battle before. This somewhat lines up with previous rumors that the Knights have been shot out of the sky, with many onlookers claiming to have seen the smoking wreckage of a First Order ship on the Ireland set.
Where this latest info sort of veers off into unbelievable territory is the speculation and claim that Star Wars: Episode VIII will be the end of the road for Chewbacca, who dies during this invasion. A couple of things point to this being false. There were never any reports of a crashed Millennium Falcon on set. Was it completely obliterated by a Star Destroyer? Unlikely. And Disney and LucasFilm probably aren't in a hurry to kill off Chewbacca anytime soon, having killed Han Solo in The Force Awakens. Chewy, like C-3PO and R2-D2, are evergreen characters. They are 100s of years old and can be used forever. And they keep old fans coming back. These characters aren't human, and aren't likely to be killed off (especially the droids), unless Disney and LucasFilm are looking to really upset fans.
The most likely scenario is that Luke sends Chewbacca back to be with Leia while keeping his old pal R2 with him. But none of this is confirmed at the moment. Earlier reports claimed that Chewbacca would be lending a hand during the Knights' big ground invasion on Ahch-To. We probably won't get many details leading into the reveal of the first trailer. Some speculate we'll get a Star Wars 8 trailer this Christmas, timed to the release of the first spin-off Rogue One. Episode VIII footage has already screened for vendors, so it's possible that a public sneak peek can't be too far behind.