To think that we’re just a few months from the third original Star Wars movie in the last three years is still pretty astounding. Between The Force Awakens and Rogue One – which have helped create a new generation of Star Wars geeks while providing quality, nostalgia-inducing stories for fans of the original films – we’re deep into a new era of galaxy-hopping adventures, starring Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, and, of course, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker.
There’s a lot that needs to be done in The Last Jedi to set us up for Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX (scheduled to be released in 2019). Is Luke actually the last Jedi? Is Rey his daughter? Will Han Solo’s plan to help Kylo retain some of his lightness result in some side-switching later on? Also, who are these cute little creatures jumping around?
Judging by the photos, which you can check out below, we can surmise that Finn does regain his ability to walk, but reports say that the pain of his attack is something that will stick with him throughout the rest of his life, both mentally and physically. The more interesting aspect of Finn’s role going forward is how he’ll be heralded as a hero of the Resistance in the new film, after being trained for his whole life as a storm trooper. Will this newfound acclaim bring out a darker side to him? Or will he be the agreeable, good-natured kid we met at the beginning of The Force Awakens?
“It got really real for him,” Boyega tells EW. “And he just wants to get away and not be involved. His intention in the first place was to go to the Outer Rim. He was always brought back [in The Force Awakens,], but this is his chance to get away and perhaps find Rey and go off together. He’s trying to do that at first.”
We also see an image of Finn next to a new character named Rose Tico, a mechanic for the Resistance played by Kelly Marie Tran. The character functions as both a further extension of the Resistance, but also as a way to illustrate Finn’s newfound fame after the events of The Force Awakens. “When Rose first meets Finn, that’s how she views him,” Tran says. “He is ‘a big deal.’” It’s also very possible that Finn and Rose are being set-up as love interests for this or future installments, after the first film wisely steered clear of forcing Finn and Rey into an unnecessary romance.
“Everyone in the space, throughout the galaxy, would have heard about the young Jedi who discovered her powers and defeated Kylo Ren and the young former Stormtrooper who helped save the day,” Boyega says. “He’s a hero to people like Rose, who fight for the Resistance because their homes have been destroyed by the First Order. He appreciates the adoration for a second, but when he meets her, Finn is trying to escape the whole war. He’s trying to leave, and she comes in and basically gives him a depiction of himself that wasn’t necessarily true.” In regards to how Rose has an impact on his life, the actor said, “It’s now an opportunity for him to be the best he can be. He has to make a decision, and Rose is there to help him make that choice.”
“Poe Dameron is super cool. Finn’s super cool. Even though [Rose] is good at what she does, she’s not known,” Tran says. “She’s not cool. She’s this nobody, this background player, which is what makes her interesting. She’s not the best. She’s not royalty. She’s someone who is just like everyone else.”
As far as the new creatures in the cast, there’s a photo of Chewie next to a hamster-like creature that creators are calling Porgs. Looking like something straight out of Brian K. Vaughan’s and Fiona Staples’ Saga series for Image Comics, Porgs are yet another adorable but potentially deadly creature in what is easily one of my favorite popular sci-fi trends right now: if something is cute and knows how to kill you a hundred different ways, I will watch it do things! In regards to director Rian Johnson’s decision to include the Porgs, he said he was inspired by the film’s production off the coast of Ireland, on an island called Skellig Michael, which we’re given a glimpse of at the end of The Force Awakens.
“If you go to Skellig at the right time of year, it’s just covered in puffins, and they’re the most adorable things in the world,” Johnson tells EW. “So when I was first scouting there, I saw these guys, and I was like, oh, these are part of the island. And so the Porgs are in that realm.”
Additionally, The Last Jedi plans to introduce The Caretakers, who can also be seen below. They seem to have been transplanted from some unfinished Jim Henson project, and “are slightly more anthropomorphic than the Porgs. They’re animated with a person inside (Daisy Ridley said a friend played one of them) and they wear clothes and speak in an alien tongue.”
“They’re kind of these sort of fish-bird type aliens who live on the island,” Johnson says. “They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island. They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery. Neal Scanlan’s crew designed them, and costume designer Michael Kaplan made these working clothes that also reflected sort of a nun-like, spartan sort of existence.
“You get the sense they did at some point or maybe they occasionally do [return to the sea,] but when we see them, they’re land creatures,” Johnson says. “They’re these big matronly creatures, but they have these little skinny little bird feet. They were really fun to work with on set.”
Director Rian Johnson has acknowledged the parallels between this film and The Empire Strikes Back, which puts him in a tough position after many claimed that The Force Awakens was just a carbon copy of A New Hope with some minor tweaks. Johnson admits that this has been weighing on him, but insists it was just the logical place for the story to go, promising a thoroughly original story when it comes down to the details of this latest installment.
“I just tried to kind of ignore that aspect of it and have the story take the shape that it needed to,” the filmmaker says. “But look, Rey is off in a remote location with a Jedi master, and the Resistance is in a tough spot, and we’re intercutting those stories. By its very nature, there are some structural parallels. But these are new characters, they’re dealing with new things, and that ultimately is what defines the movie. So I think that’s going to be unique.”
Johnson is a director who’s made an entire career out of taking seemingly stale ideas and giving audiences something they’ve never seen before. Whether he’s updating 1940s noir for a 21st century high school like in Brick, or a classic time travel story with a modern twist like Looper, or even how he came in at the end of Breaking Bad‘s legendary run and blew audiences away with the series’ best episode (“Ozymandias”), Johnson is, in his own way, a true original, and we can’t wait to see what he does with The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, hits theaters on December 15th, 2017.
Images: Disney, LucasFilm, EW
Source: Entertainment Weekly