Star Wars: Episode VIII release date, trailers and rumors

The story so far...

If you're new to the page then read on for everything we know so far about Star Wars Episode VIII, but if you're familiar with the latest news then scroll down for some recently released set photos which we've just updated the page with.

We might be two years away from the release of Star Wars Episode VIII, but as The Force Awakens taught us, that time can fly past very quickly.

Production has already started on the eighth episode, which will pick up the story where Episode VI ended. Principal photography started at London Pinewood Studios on February 15, which was marked with the film's first official teaser (although we're not sure you can really call it that).

So, what do we expect to see from Episode VIII? If you haven't yet seen The Force Awakens, a) what is wrong with you? and b) spoilers will lie ahead. Big ones. We're talking massive, planet-destroying spoilers. Got it? Good.

Episode VIII title and release date

Star Wars: Episode VIII will hit cinemas on December 15 2017, after being pushed back from its initial release date of May 26 the same year. It means waiting an extra seven months, but we did think that the original timeframe was a bit ambitious for a film of this scale.

What we still don't know is the title, so start your guesses. To follow the pattern of prior mid-trilogy episodes (if we're taking this as a new trilogy), maybe we can expect a suitably ominous title like 'Revenge of the Third Order', 'Kylo Ren's Bad Day', or 'Chewie Gets Even'.

Earlier this year, a movie casting call site apparently revealed the film's working title: Space Bear.

Perhaps 'Chewie Gets Even' isn't such a ludicrous prediction after all.

Episode VIII casting

JJ Abrams will be hopping off the director's chair and handing over the reins to Rhian Johnson, best known for writing and directing Brick and Looper (and a few episodes of Breaking Bad). Abrams will stay as executive producer, however.

It's been confirmed that all of the original cast members (bar Harrison Ford) will be making a return. Joining them this time is Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

SW

Episode VIII: what we know of the story so far

Little is known about what VIII's story will hold, but we do know that it will pick up straight after The Force Awakens, with Rey having discovered Luke Skywalker's whereabouts, as confirmed by the teaser trailer.

The Force Awakens left many questions unanswered. Who is Rey really? Is Finn Force sensitive? What's with C-3PO's red arm? Why is R2-D2, the bearer of all knowledge who refuses to tell anyone anything, such a dick?

Colin Trevorrow, who will be directing Episode IX, has already promised us a "profoundly satisfying" answer to the mystery surrounding Rey's parents.

"Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of The Force Awakens, but in the entire galaxy," he said. "She deserves it. We'll make sure that that answer is something that feels like it was something that happened a long time ago, far away, and we're just telling you what happened."

One theory is that Luke is Rey's father, but… surely it's got to be something more interesting than that, right?

The Force Awakens ended with a wounded Kylo Ren being taken to Supreme Leader Snoke to complete his training - but what does that mean? And more importantly, who is Snoke? One theory that has been floating about, courtesy of this tweet, is that Snoke is actually Vader, who didn't really die. We don't buy it for a second, but the scar is admittedly convincing.

We expect some of the film will show Luke training Rey, harking back to his own training from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. It will also be interesting to see how Kylo Ren's character develops. He just murdered his own father, but he's still conflicted between the dark side and the light - or was Han's death the final part of his transition to Sith?

Either way, it's a script that's been well received by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver. Speaking to Collider, he's compared the next entry to the hallowed Empire Strikes Back.

Episode VIII set photos

On April 28 director Rian Johnson celebrated hitting the halfway point in the Episode 8's filming schedule by releasing a couple of set photos.

Episode 8 Set Photo

The photos don't shed much new light on the film, but it's nice to see confirmation that Episode 8 will indeed contain the ships and shiny helmets that the series is known for.

Episode 8 Set Photo

Episode VIII teaser

As we mentioned, we already have a (very) short teaser for Episode 8, which is more about signalling the start of production than to show us anything meaty.

Well, we probably see more of Luke than we did in the entirety of The Force Awakens, so there's that.