Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) is a 2017 American epic space opera film written and directed by Rian Johnson.
It is the second instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015), and it is the eighth episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”.
The film’s ensemble cast includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Frank Oz in returning roles, with Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro joining the cast.
It features the first posthumous film performance by Fisher, who died in December 2016, and the film is dedicated to her memory.
Shortly after the destruction of Starkiller Base, General Leia Organa leads the evacuation of Resistance forces when a First Order fleet arrives. Against Leia’s orders, Poe Dameron leads a costly counterattack that destroys a First Order dreadnought. The remaining Resistance escapes into hyperspace, but the First Order uses a device to track them, and attacks again. Kylo Ren hesitates to fire on the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother Leia’s presence on board, but his wingmen destroy the bridge, killing most of the Resistance’s leaders. Leia is dragged into space, but survives by using the Force. While Leia recovers, Vice Admiral Holdo assumes command of the Resistance. Running low on fuel, the remaining fleet is pursued by the First Order.
On Ahch-To, Rey attempts to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Under self-imposed exile, Luke refuses to help and says that the Jedi should end. After encouragement from R2-D2, he agrees to give Rey three lessons in the ways of the Force. Rey and Kylo begin communicating through the Force, which puzzles them both. Kylo tells Rey that Luke feared his power; Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Snoke was corrupting him, which prompted Kylo to destroy Luke’s new Jedi Order. Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, Rey leaves Ahch-To. Luke prepares to burn the Jedi library, but hesitates. The spirit of Luke’s master Yoda appears and destroys the library by summoning a bolt of lightning. He encourages Luke to learn from his failure.
Meanwhile, Poe entrusts Finn, mechanic Rose, and BB-8 with a secret mission to deactivate the First Order’s tracking device. Maz Kanata directs them to the casino town of Canto Bight, where they meet the hacker DJ. Pursued by the local security, they escape the city with the help of stablehand children and racing animals they set free. Finn, Rose, and DJ infiltrate Snoke’s flagship, but are captured by Captain Phasma. Kylo brings Rey to Snoke, who reveals that he connected their minds to discover Luke’s whereabouts.
Holdo plans to evacuate the remaining members of the Resistance using small transport vessels. Believing her plan to be cowardly and futile, Poe leads a mutiny. Leia recovers and stuns Poe with a blaster, allowing the evacuation to proceed. Holdo remains aboard the ship as a decoy to mislead Snoke’s fleet as the others flee to an abandoned base on Crait. DJ buys his freedom by revealing the Resistance’s plan to General Hux, and the First Order fleet begins firing on the evacuation transports, destroying many.
Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and defeats his Praetorian Guard with her help. Rey hopes that Kylo has abandoned the dark side, but he instead asks her to rule the galaxy with him. Refusing, she battles him for control of Luke’s lightsaber, bisecting the weapon. Holdo sacrifices herself by slicing through Snoke’s flagship at lightspeed, crippling the First Order fleet. Rey escapes the destruction while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose; they defeat Phasma and join the survivors on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose attack with obsolete speeders. Rey and Chewbacca draw TIE fighters away in the Millennium Falcon, while Rose stops Finn from sacrificing himself. The First Order penetrates the Resistance fortress using a siege cannon.
Luke appears and confronts the First Order, allowing the surviving Resistance to escape. Kylo orders the First Order’s forces to fire on Luke, but they fail to harm him. He then engages Luke in a lightsaber duel; upon striking Luke, Kylo realizes that Luke is not physically present, but projecting his image through the Force. Rey helps the remaining Resistance escape on the Falcon. An exhausted Luke dies peacefully on Ahch-To, becoming one with the Force. Rey and Leia sense his death, and Leia tells Rey that the Resistance can rise again.
At Canto Bight, the stablehands recount the story of Luke Skywalker; afterwards, one of them moves a broom with the Force and gazes into space.
- Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker:
- A powerful Jedi Master who has been in self-imposed exile on the planet Ahch-To.
- Hamill voices Dobbu Scay, named after the film’s editor, Bob Ducsay.
- On Canto Bight, the character mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine.
- Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa:
- Twin sister to Luke, former princess of Alderaan, and a leading general in the Resistance.
- Adam Driver as Kylo Ren:
- Supreme Leader Snoke’s disciple, who is strong with the Force.
- He is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, and Luke’s nephew.
- Daisy Ridley as Rey:
- A highly Force-sensitive scavenger from the desert planet Jakku who joined the Resistance and goes to find Luke.
- John Boyega as Finn:
- A former stormtrooper of the First Order who defected to the Resistance
- Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron:
- A high-ranking X-wing fighter pilot in the Resistance.
- Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke:
- The leader of the First Order and Kylo Ren’s master.
- Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata:
- A pirate and ally of the Resistance.
- Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux:
- The former head of the First Order’s Starkiller Base.
- Anthony Daniels as C-3PO:
- A humanoid protocol droid in the service of Leia Organa.
- Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma:
- The commander of the First Order’s stormtroopers.
- Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico:
- A member of the Resistance who works in maintenance.
- Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo:
- An officer in the Resistance
- Frank Oz as Yoda:
- The deceased former Jedi Master and Luke’s wise mentor, who appears as a Force spirit.
- Benicio del Toro as DJ:
- An underworld codebreaker.
Joonas Suotamo appears as Chewbacca, taking over the role from Peter Mayhew after previously serving as his body double in The Force Awakens. Mayhew, who was 73 years old and suffering from chronic knee and back pain, is credited as “Chewbacca consultant”. Billie Lourd, Mike Quinn, and Timothy D. Rose reprise their roles as Lieutenant Connix, Nien Nunb, and Admiral Ackbar respectively. Due to the death of Erik Bauersfeld, Admiral Ackbar is now voiced by Tom Kane. Amanda Lawrence appears as Commander D’Acy, and Mark Lewis Jones and Adrian Edmondson play Captains Canady and Peavey respectively. BB-8 is controlled by puppeteers Dave Chapman and Brian Herring, with initial voice work by Ben Schwartz and final sound effects voiced by Bill Hader modulated through a synthesizer. Jimmy Vee portrays R2-D2, taking over the role from Kenny Baker, who died on 13 August 2016. Veronica Ngo portrays Rose’s sister Paige Tico, a Resistance gunner who sacrifices her life to destroy a First Order dreadnought.
Justin Theroux plays the master codebreaker. Lily Cole plays his companion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a voice cameo as Slowen Lo. Warwick Davis plays Wodibin. Gareth Edwards, director of the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One, has a cameo appearance as a Resistance Soldier, as does Gary Barlow. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish also cameo in the film. Hermione Corfield appears as Tallissan “Tallie” Lintra, a Resistance A-Wing pilot and squadron leader. Noah Segan and Jamie Christopher appear as Resistance pilots Starck and Tubbs. Hugh Skinner cameos as a Resistance Officer. Hamill’s children, Griffin, Nathan, and Chelsea, cameo as Resistance soldiers. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry filmed cameo appearances as stormtroopers. Tom Hardy also filmed an appearance as a stormtrooper, but his cameo was dropped from the final cut.
Second unit photography began during pre-production at Skellig Michael in Ireland on 14 September 2015, due to the difficulties of filming at that location during other seasons. It would have lasted four days, but filming was cancelled for the first day due to poor weather and rough conditions. In November 2014, Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Studios, confirmed that the film would be shot at Pinewood, with additional filming in Mexico. In September 2015, del Toro revealed that principal photography would begin in March 2016; Kennedy later said filming would begin in January 2016. The production began work on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios on 15 November 2015. Rick Heinrichs served as production designer.
In January 2016, production of Episode VIII was delayed until February due to script rewrites. Filming was in danger of being delayed further due to an upcoming strike between the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union. On 10 February 2016, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that principal photography had begun under the working title Space Bear. Additional filming took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from 09 to 16 March, as well as in Ireland in May. Malin Head in County Donegal and a mountain headland, Ceann Sibeal in County Kerry, served as additional filming locations. To increase the scenes’ intimacy Driver and Ridley were both present when filming Kylo and Rey’s Force visions. Location filming for the battle scenes on the planet Crait took place in July at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.
Principal photography wrapped on 22 July 2016, though as of early September, Nyong’o had not filmed her scenes. In February 2017, it was announced that sequences from the film were shot in IMAX. Production designer Rick Heinrichs said the original script called for 160 sets, double what might be expected, but that Johnson did some “trimming and cutting”. Ultimately, 125 sets were created on 14 sound stages at Pinewood Studios.
According to creature designer Neal Scanlan, The Last Jedi has more practical effects than any Star Wars film, with 180 to 200 creatures created with practical effects, some cut from the final edit. For Yoda’s appearance in the film as a Force ghost, the character was created using puppetry, as was done in the original trilogy (as opposed to computer-generated imagery, which was used to create Yoda in most of the prequel trilogy).
The film contains a reference to the 1985 Terry Gilliam film Brazil in its Canto Bight sequence, in which Finn and Rose are arrested for committing parking violation “27B/6”.
- The film grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2017, the seventh-highest-grossing film in North America, and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time during its theatrical run.
- It is also the second-highest-grossing Star Wars film and turned a net profit of over $417 million.
- The film received positive reviews, with praise for its ensemble cast, musical score, visual effects, action sequences, and emotional weight.
- The film received four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects, as well as two nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards.
Star Wars Series
- Overview of the Star Wars Franchise.
- Overview of Star Wars Films.
- Prequel Trilogy Overview (1999-2005).
- Original Trilogy Overview (1977-1983).
- Sequel Trilogy Overview (2015-2019).
- Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015).
- Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017).
- Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
- Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).
- Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984).
- Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985).
- The Clone Wars (2008).
- Rouge One: A Star Wars Story (2016).
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
- Overview of Star Wars Parodies.
- Overview of Star Wars TV Series.
- Overview of Star Wars Documentary Series.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Rian Johnson.
- Producer(s): Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman.
- Writer(s): Rian Johnson.
- Music: John Williams.
- Cinematography: Steve Yedlin.
- Editor(s): Bob Ducsay.
- Production: Lucasfilm Ltd.
- Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
- Release Date: 09 December 2017 (Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles) and 15 December 2017 (US general release).
- Running time: 152 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.