The Force is strong with the internet this week as a whole bunch of Last Jedi news hits the web. Here's your round-up.
New images released
Entertainment Weekly landed a major Star Wars scoop with a whole batch of eye-grabbing new shots. These include main players Rey (Daisy Ridley), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), Finn (John Boyega), new character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
The cover story was teased via Twitter...
... And can be viewed here.
Rose's role is revealed
A resistance mechanic and one of the key characters in The Last Jedi, Rose becomes central to the redemptive arc undertaken by former stormtrooper Finn.
After all The Force Awakens saw him transition from First Order underling into valued ally, and actor John Boyega says Marie Tran's character plays a key role in guiding him on the journey.
"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 tells EW. "He’s a hero to people like Rose, who fight for the Resistance because their homes have been destroyed by the First Order."
Mark Hamill discusses Luke's backstory
Ever since the opening crawl of The Force Awakens, one that alluded to the disappearance of the legendary Luke Skywalker, the internet has been aflame with rumour.
Has he turned to the Dark Side? Is Rey his daughter? The final shot of Awakens was heavy with possibility and suggestion as the aspiring Jedi handed over his lightsaber, the transition to the end credits leaving us hanging in the best possible way.
Even so, we're about to get some answers in The Last Jedi, as Hamill himself explains. In fact, Luke is about to head down some seriously dark routes...
"The fact that Luke says, 'I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end…' I mean, that’s a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films," he tells EW. "When I first read it, my jaw dropped. What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That’s not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing."
Director Rian Johnson adds: "The very first step in the writing of this was figuring out why he’s on that island. We know that he is not a coward. He’s not just hiding because he’s scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he’s sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he’s doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey."
Rey's relationship with Luke
As mentioned The Force Awakens climaxes with Rey travelling to the remote island planet of Ahch-To, where she finds the isolated Luke. However if she's expecting anything like the warmly paternal relationship with the dearly departed Han Solo (Harrison Ford), she's going to be sorely disappointed.
"She’s so hopeful to everything," Ridley explains. "And obviously there’s a hint of, 'What the hell?'"
Well what do you expect from a Jedi who has been in hiding for so long? Even so, given Rey has long been in search of answers and seeks resolution to her burgeoning Jedi powers, Luke's apathy is set to come as quite a shock.
"'Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure,'" says Ridley of Rey's mindset. "'Now he’s gone, and instead I’m with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn’t want me here.'"
Even so, are we being blindsided to a deeper family connection between the two characters? Only time will tell.
Kylo Ren's betrayal of Luke
We know that Luke's disappearance was hastened by his disastrous training of Kylo Ren, aka the son of Han and Leia. That in turn prompted Ren's rise into the all-powerful leader of the First Order – and Hamill says this dark development has wounded Luke deeply.
"He invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character," says Hamill. "And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late."
All about the Porgs
If all this is sounding a bit gloomy, rest assured that The Last Jedi will still deliver on the adorable creatures front. One of the key new arrivals are the Porgs, Penguin-like creatures that adorn Luke's adopted home of Ahch-To.
Rian Johnson says their development was inspired by a visit to the Irish island of Skellig, which doubles as the fictional Star Wars location.
"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. 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."
Still, as we can see from the following Twitter image they're set to play an prominent role alongside Chewie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives on 15th December.