Episode VIII, Luke Skywalker

Here we go again! It’s February 15, 2016, and principal photography for Star Wars Episode VIII has officially begun! Rejoice! And the good folks at Lucasfilm didn’t waste any time in letting us know the good news, releasing this short teaser, which looks to be picking up right where The Force Awakens leaves off:

Just one day in to principal photography and fans have already been given a better look at Luke Skywalker than during the entire lead-up to The Force Awakens. If we consider that Luke’s absence from The Force Awakens’ very closely mirrored his involvement in the film, then maybe this is the sign of a reversal of that tone. It seems a foregone conclusion that Luke is going to play a much larger role in Episode VIII but it remains to be seen just how large his role will be, lest he overshadow newcomers Rey, Poe, and Finn. Maybe that’s less of a consideration at this point since they’re all core characters now.

A bit of a retrospective: The three years between the time Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the release of The Force Awakens was a time that Star Wars fans won’t ever forget. Every release, leak and peek at the new movie fanned the flames of fandom and revived hope that Star Wars would once again be what many thought was lost during the prequel era. Some were supremely confident that Abrams had the ship steered in the right direction, while others were nervous. Whichever side you fell on, everyone wanted the same thing, and clung to every tidbit like a Smeagol clung to his precious. While we will never be able to re-create the anticipation we all felt in the lead up to Episode VII, we now know and love the characters that we were introduced to, and that makes the anticipation for Episode VIII just as exciting, but in a different way. We’re now emotionally invested in these characters and Star Wars is forever improved for having them.

By brilliantly introducing Luke in the film’s final scene, Luke’s absence in the galaxy far far away and in our world was relieved, but only just for a brief, silent moment. A look at a much older, and presumably much more damaged Luke was all we got, and made the wait to truly be re-introduced to Luke a bit more agonizingly long. We’ve been wondering ever since what happens next in Rey and Luke’s encounter; Who speaks first? What do they say? It certainly looks like we’re going to find out, as it appears that Episode VIII will pick up immediately after The Force Awakens ends, which is out of step from any other Star Wars movie, but certainly not unwelcome. After all, if Luke Skywalker turns out to be Rey’s father, then it would be awkward for any significant amount of time to pass without Luke revealing the truth about their relationship. Despite his ascension to Jedi Master, it’s clear in the events of The Force Awakens that the intervening years were not all good ones for Luke, and it appears as though he’s going to be forced to face whatever it was that drove him away in the first place.

Obviously we are at the beginning of a 667 day wait to find out what really happens, and it’s going to be another wildly fun ride – with Rogue One stuffed in between for good measure. If this tiny teaser is any indication, then Lucasfilm is going to treat its fans very well during the wait! With the level of activity on social media from the stars of the movie and Director Rian Johnson himself, fans have never had a taste of being this close to the production of the movie.

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