The 'Star Wars' saga continues in 'The Last Jedi': What we know

By Wade Sheridan  |  Updated Dec. 13, 2017 at 6:38 AM
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Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The Star Wars saga continues on Friday with The Last Jedi, the eighth installment in the sci-fi series that first began with 1977's A New Hope.

Characters from that original film, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa -- now a general, appear in The Last Jedi and are joined by newer heroes first introduced in 2015's The Force Awakens such as Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

The film will continue to depict the struggle between the Light and the Dark Side of the Force as a galactic conflict engulfs the universe once again. Star Wars: The Last Jedi promises stunning revelations, high drama and epic battle sequences, making it one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Here is what is known about The Last Jedi, which is expected to dominate the box-office and continue to move the story forward for another batch of planned sequels.

The Last Jedi takes place right after The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens ended with lightsaber wielding heroine Rey finally reaching Luke Skywalker who had been living in hiding for years.

As seen in trailers for the film, Luke has changed over the years and is not exactly the brave hero the audience once knew him as.

As Rey seeks to further her Jedi training, Luke reluctantly begins to mentor her, but is soon turned off from the idea after sensing her true power and potential.

"I know only one truth, it's time for the Jedi to end," Luke says to Rey while stationed on their remote island.

Rey will be tempted by the Dark Side

Luke's reluctance to train Rey stems from his past attempt to mentor Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the son of Leia and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who turned to the Dark Side despite his uncle's best efforts.

While only hinted at in trailers and in The Force Awakens, the traumatic experience of losing Kylo Ren to the Dark Side seemingly haunts Luke who fears the same might happen to Rey as she familiarizes herself with the Force.

"I've seen this raw strength only once before. It didn't scare me enough then, it does now," Luke says of Rey's power.

Perhaps due to Luke pushing her away, when Rey comes into contact with Kylo Ren again -- as seen in the first full-length trailer released in October -- the heroine talks to her adversary of needing guidance.

"I need someone to show me my place in all of this," Rey says to Kylo Ren, who extends his hand, teasing that perhaps she will join the villain in embracing the Dark Side.

Finn will be going undercover to infiltrate the First Order

Finn has healed from his battle with Kylo Ren and is without his friend Rey who has left to train with Luke.

Experiencing a newfound fame in the Resistance, due to this heroic efforts in the previous film, the former Stormtropper gets back into action and takes on a mission that involves him dressing up as a First Order officer, Gizmodo reported.

Finn will also be joined on his mission by series newcomer Rose, a Resistance mechanic portrayed by Kelly Marie Tran.

The Last Jedi will introduce even more new characters

Outside of Rose, the film is set to introduce other new characters to the saga including Luara Dern as a Resistance Leader named Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and a computer hacker known as DJ played by Benicio Del Toro.

Dern's character is said to be the new boss of Poe Dameron while Del Toro's role is shrouded in mystery and is described as being enigmatic, Time reported.

Director Rian Johnson has explained, however, that the new faces will not be overshadowing the trilogy's major players.

"I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn't just mean information or backstory," the filmmaker said to USA Today. "Figure out what's the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now -- let's throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that."

The Last Jedi will be an 'amazing' send-off for Carrie Fisher

The Last Jedi marks the last time Fisher will be portraying General Leia in the series as the actress died at the age of 60 in December 2016 following a heart attack.

Fisher was able to complete her scenes for The Last Jedi before her death, but will not appear in the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode IX.

"We finished everything in [Star Wars: The Last Jedi] and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said. "Unfortunately ... we were well underway in Episode IX in our thoughts, [but] we had not written the script yet. But we've regrouped, we started over again in January. Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode] IX."

Boyega, when discussing Fisher in the film, has said that her final appearance will be a proper farewell to the character.

"It sends her off in a very amazing, amazing way," he said. "And she's still kept alive in this franchise. That's the beauty of it -- she lives forever in a sense."

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