Around this time last year, fans were still reeling from seeing a new Star Wars movie for the first time in a decade. Star Wars: The Force Awakens offered our first look at Mark Hamill's iconic Luke Skywalker in 32 years, since Return of the Jedi hit theaters. The latest sequel's final moments featured new hero Rey (Daisy Ridley) journeying to the hidden planet of Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker had been in exile for several years. Today we have new details about why Star Wars 8 picks up right from that exact moment, instead of jumping ahead in time.
There is often a large gap in time between many Star Wars movies, which allows for other movies like Rogue One to be developed and fill in part of that gap in this galaxy far, far away. When production began in earnest on Star Wars 8, a brief video was released that teased an earlier shoot on Skellig Michael Island, which was done before principal photography, since they only had a limited time to shoot on the Irish island. That video showed bits and pieces from the Skellig Michael Island shoot, which confirmed that the story of Star Wars 8 picks up immediately where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off. Director Rian Johnson spoke with USA Today for their 2017 movies preview, where he explains why he didn't want to jump forward in time with this story.
"I don't want to skip ahead two years. I want to see the very next moment of what happens... part of what's she's [Rey] dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift. She's taking her first step to coming to terms with this thing inside her that she never knew was there and is just starting to reveal its potential."
The director added that a "large part of the movie" will address why Luke Skywalker spent all those years in exile on Ahch-To, and what he'll do next. There have long been rumors that the story will somewhat mirror the tale told in The Empire Strikes Back, with Rey beginning her Jedi training on Ahch-to with Luke Skywalker, much in the same way that Luke started his training with master Yoda (Frank Oz) in The Empire Strikes Back. There have also been rumors that Rey abandons her training to save her friends Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), who have reportedly been captured by Kylo Ren as a trap to lure Rey out of hiding. If these rumors are true, then Star Wars 8 could follow The Empire Strikes Back's plot points perhaps even more closely than The Force Awakens followed A New Hope.
A few days ago, Mark Hamill teased that a huge Star Wars 8 "exclusive first look" will be happening soon on the actor's new TV series Pop Culture Quest, but it wasn't confirmed if this will be the new trailer. It's possible that this "exclusive first look" is actually the first poster and not the trailer, which has been rumored to debut at some point in the first few months of 2017. There has already been speculation that the trailer could debut during the Super Bowl next month, or that it may be released theatrically, attached to prints of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which is slated to arrive in theaters on March 17. Regardless of when it will happen, it seems the veil of secrecy swirling around Star Wars: Episode VIII will be lifted very soon.