February 23, 2016
Greetings and I hope everyone is enjoying the jEditor’s new design — and that this means I will be able to update regularly! Here is a little about Episode VIII to get things started:
We got excited a week ago when the official Youtube teased the beginning of filming (and the beginning of Episode 8?) with this tiny vid:
He looks as reluctant as ever. This “reluctant hero” characterization is quite popular in films even when it doesn’t match the source material (see Aragorn). If my read on Luke is correct, I am hoping that it works well for his character and the story.
The official site gave a cast list missing Harrison Ford but adding a few actors new to the saga: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-episode-viii-now-filming
“Paging Dr. Sattler” jokes aside, I was quite pleased to hear that American actress Laura Dern (from the first and third Jurassic Park, and the TV series Enlightened) was cast in Episode 8, but of course the question on everyone’s mind was “who is Kelly Marie Tran?” Entertainment Weekly explains in addition to conveniently gathering a few videos of her previous work: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/15/who-is-kelly-marie-tran-star-wars
My crazy speculation? Tran plays Luke’s REAL daughter.
And then there’s Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro (Traffic; Guardians of the Galaxy): http://www.etonline.com/movies/171971_benicio_del_toro_s_star_wars_might_not_be_what_you_think/ He has been ambiguous as to what kind of character he plays — that is, a villain or not — but I see no need for such black-and-white characterization. Kylo Ren was the “villain” in Episode 7 though Adam Driver didn’t see or play him that way, which helped make Kylo such a complex character. And I do love to see actors broaden their horizons and show us their range.
Lastly, I also agree with EW that if Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando Calrissian, it would be great as a surprise: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/15/star-wars-episode-viii
Episode VIII’s official release date is December 15, 2017, a Friday, but as usual this is the USA date and will vary by country. It will be preceded by Rogue One: a Star Wars Story a year earlier and followed by the untitled Han Solo movie on May 25, 2018.
(Edit, March 16, 2016: edited to add some italics and nationalities. Still tweaking things here and there.)