World Exclusive: Star Wars Episode VIII brings big character back from the dead

Spoiler alert: We can reveal all the major actors for the next instalment, including some new stars.

Star Wars Episode VIII could be bringing back Harrison Ford
Back from the dead? Nobody ever truly stays dead in science fiction. Image Picture Disney/Lucasfilm

There might be a shock twist in store for Star Wars Episode VIII, Loaded can reveal.

A beloved character who died in dramatic fashion in The Force Awakens will be coming back, if a casting call for the sequel is to be believed.

SPOILER ALERTS FOLLOW…

A call-out for extras and photo doubles for Episode 8, which begins shooting next month at London’s Pinewood Studios, lists Harrison Ford in the cast for the movie.

Ford’s scoundrel space smuggler Han Solo dies in The Force Awakens’ dramatic finale after being stabbed through the chest with a lightsaber by his Dark Side-leaning son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Could Solo be seen as some kind of Alec Guinness-style blue ghost? Through time-bending flashback (Episode 8 director Rian Johnson has form for that with Looper)? Or is he somehow going to be fully revived now that the Force-wielding Luke Skywalker is back on the scene?

If Han Solo is indeed returning, nobody will be more excited about it than Chewbacca.

Harrison Ford
Best pilot in the galaxy Could Harrison Ford be back for Episode VIII? Image Picture Disney/Lucasfilm

The new cast list also seemingly confirms that Benicio Del Toro will be playing the film’s villain, as the cast list has (Villain) in brackets next to his name.

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, also recently rumoured to be appearing, is apparently definitely on-board. Details of her character have yet to be revealed, with (TBA) appearing after Mbatha-Raw’s name.

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Gwendolyn Christie and John Boyega are all confirmed to return in the cast list.

Elsewhere, Disney and Lucasfilm are currently putting together a spin-off movie revolving around the adventures of a young Han Solo.

The Lego Movie directors Pjil Lord and Chris Miller are behind the 2018 film, and their casting shortlist reportedly includes Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Logan Lerman, Jack Reynor, Ansel Elgort, Scott Eastwood, Emory Cohen and Blake Jenner.

Ford himself seems non-plussed about the project, saying last year: “I’m sure whoever is responsible for that film, and I’m not, will think through the issues and problems of doing such a thing.

“Let’s make them responsible for those questions you might think to ask me about the Han Solo movie, because I’m not involved.”

Star Wars Episode VIII will hit cinemas on December 15, 2017. Before that, you can get a Star Wars fix with spinoff movie Rogue One on December 16 this year.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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