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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi[5]) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The film is produced by Lucasfilm and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, and Gwendoline Christie in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars The Last Jedi.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rian Johnson
Produced by
Written by Rian Johnson
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by John Williams[1]
Cinematography Steve Yedlin[2]
Edited by Bob Ducsay[2]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2017 (2017-12-09) (Los Angeles)
  • December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15) (United States)
Running time
152 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English

The film was announced after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It is produced by Ram Bergman and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. John Williams, composer for the previous seven films, returns to compose the score. Scenes that required shooting at Skellig Michael in Ireland were filmed during pre-production in September 2015, with principal photography beginning at Pinewood Studios in England in February 2016 and ending in July 2016. Post-production wrapped up in September 2017.[6] The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017, and will be released in the United States on December 15, 2017.

A sequel, tentatively titled Star Wars: Episode IX, is scheduled for December 20, 2019.

Contents

Cast

Other cast members include Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo, both returning to portray Chewbacca,[8][19][20] Mike Quinn as Nien Nunb,[21] Timothy D. Rose as Admiral Ackbar,[20] Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix,[22] and Simon Pegg as Unkar Plutt, all of whom reprised their roles.[23][not in citation given] Jimmy Vee portays R2-D2.[24][25] Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Tom Hardy all have cameo appearances as stormtroopers.[26][27] Gary Barlow also has a cameo appearance in the film,[28] as does Gareth Edwards, director of the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One.[29] Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a voice cameo in the film.[30] Warwick Davis[31] and Noah Segan appear in yet unspecified roles.[32] Veronica Ngo portrays Paige Tico, a Resistance gunner and Rose's sister.[17] Justin Theroux plays a slicer, an individual who specializes in breaking encryption.[33]

Production

Development

 
Writer and director Rian Johnson

In October 2012, Star Wars creator George Lucas sold his production company Lucasfilm, and with it the Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company. Disney announced a new trilogy of Star Wars films.[34] J. J. Abrams was named director of the first episode in the trilogy, The Force Awakens, in January 2013.[35][36] In June 2014, director Rian Johnson was reported to be in talks to write and direct its sequel, dubbed Episode VIII, and to write a treatment for the third film, Episode IX, with Ram Bergman producing both films.[37][38] Johnson confirmed in August 2014 that he would direct Episode VIII.[39] In September, filmmaker Terry Gilliam asked Johnson about what it felt like to take over something that was made famous by another filmmaker, to which Johnson responded:

I'm just starting into it, but so far, honestly, it's the most fun I've ever had writing. It's just joyous. But also for me personally, I grew up not just watching those movies but playing with those toys, so as a little kid, the first movies I was making in my head were set in this world. A big part of it is that direct connection, almost like an automatic jacking back into childhood in a weird way. But I don't know, ask me again in a few years and we'll be able to talk about that.[40]

According to Johnson, the story begins immediately after the last scene of The Force Awakens.[29] He had his story group watch films such as Twelve O'Clock High, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gunga Din, Three Outlaw Samurai, Sahara, and Letter Never Sent for inspiration while developing ideas.[29][41] He felt it was difficult to work on the film while The Force Awakens was being finished.[29]

In December 2015, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated that "we haven't mapped out every single detail [of the sequel trilogy] yet". She said that Abrams was collaborating with Johnson and that Johnson would in turn work with (then) Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow to ensure a smooth transition.[42] Abrams is an executive producer along with Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski.[43]

Lucasfilm announced the film's title, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, on January 23, 2017.[44]

Casting

 
Carrie Fisher plays her iconic role as Princess Leia, in her final appearance before her death in 2016.

In September 2015, Disney shortlisted the female cast members to Gina Rodriguez, Tatiana Maslany, and Olivia Cooke.[45] Later that month, Benicio del Toro confirmed that he will play the villain in the film,[46] and Mark Hamill was also confirmed.[7] In October 2015, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was rumored to have been cast in the film.[47] In November, Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2.[24] In November, Kennedy announced at the London premiere for The Force Awakens that the entire cast would return for Episode VIII, along with "a handful" of new cast members.[8] In February 2016, at the start of filming, it was confirmed that Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran had been cast in unspecified roles.[2] In April 2017, at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, Lucasfilm announced that Tran plays Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico, which Johnson described as the film's largest new role.[15][16]

Filming

 
Skellig Michael, one of the film's locations

Second unit photography began during pre-production at Skellig Michael in Ireland on September 14, 2015, due to the difficulties of filming at that location during other seasons. It would have lasted four days,[48][49][50] but filming was canceled for the first day due to poor weather and rough conditions.[51] In November 2014, Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Studios, confirmed that the film would be shot at Pinewood,[52] with filming also occurring in Mexico.[12] In September 2015, del Toro revealed that principal photography would begin in March 2016;[46] however, Kennedy later stated that filming would begin in January 2016.[8] The production began work on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios on November 15, 2015.[53] Rick Heinrichs served as production designer.[54]

In January 2016, production of Episode VIII was delayed until February 2016, due to script rewrites.[55] Additionally, filming was potentially in danger of being delayed further due to an upcoming strike between the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union.[56] On February 10, 2016, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that principal photography had begun,[57] under the working title Space Bear.[29] Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik from March 9 to 16, 2016,[58][59] as well as in Ireland in May.[60] Malin Head in County Donegal and a mountain headland, Ceann Sibeal in County Kerry, served as additional filming locations.[61] Principal photography wrapped on July 22, 2016,[62] though as of early September 2016, Nyong'o had not filmed her scenes.[63] In February 2017, it was announced that sequences from the film were shot in IMAX.[64]

Music

In July 2013, Kennedy announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe that John Williams would return to score the Star Wars sequel trilogy.[1][65] At a Tanglewood concert in August 2016, Williams confirmed he was scheduled to start scoring Episode VIII.[66] Williams said he would begin recording the score "off and on" in December 2016 until March or April 2017.[67] On February 21, 2017, it was confirmed that recording was underway, with Williams conducting.[68]

Release

In January 2015, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that Episode VIII would be released in 2017,[69] and in March, Lucasfilm announced a release date of May 26, 2017.[70][71] In January 2016, The Last Jedi was rescheduled for December 15, 2017 in 3D and IMAX 3D.[43][72] On January 23, 2017, the film's title was announced as Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[44] Similarly to The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, "Episode VIII" will be included in the film's opening crawl, although not in its official title.[73]

Pre-sale tickets went on sale in the United States on October 9, 2017, and as with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, ticket service sites such as Fandango had their servers crash due to heavy traffic and demand.[74] The Last Jedi had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017.[75] The European premiere will be held at London's Royal Albert Hall on December 12, 2017, with a red carpet event.[76]

Marketing

A set of eight promotional postage stamps were released on October 12, 2017 in the UK by the Royal Mail with artwork by Malcolm Tween.[77] On September 19, 2017, Australia Post released a set of stamp packs.[78]

Box office predictions

In the United States and Canada, industry tracking has the film grossing around $200 million from about 4,000 theaters in its opening weekend.[79]

Sequel

Episode IX, the final installment of the sequel trilogy, is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019.[80] Prior to her death in December 2016, Carrie Fisher had been expected to appear in Episode IX.[81][82] Though Fisher's family granted the rights to use recent footage of Fisher for Star Wars: Episode IX,[83] Fisher will not appear in the film[84][85] and Lucasfilm will not digitally generate new footage of her.[86] Principal photography of Star Wars: Episode IX is set to begin in June 2018.[87] Although Colin Trevorrow had initially been attached to direct the film, on September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that Trevorrow had stepped down as director.[88] A week later, Lucasfilm announced that J. J. Abrams would return to direct Episode IX and co-write it with Chris Terrio.[89]

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External links