'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Round-Up: New Images, How Phasma Survived 'The Force Awakens', And More

While there aren't quite enough entries to make this one of our regular Star Wars Bits columns, enough scattered pieces of information about this year's Star Wars: The Last Jedi have surfaced recently that they're worth collecting in one place and talking about one by one. Let's dive into some new images featuring Finn and Rose, an X-Wing upgrade for Poe Dameron, learn how Captain Phasma escaped her trash compactor at the end of The Force Awakens, and read excerpts of a new interview with The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson.

SW Finn and Rose

Let's start with some photos. Empire Magazine is about to drop an eight page feature on The Last Jedi tomorrow, but as a precursor to the new images that will accompany that piece, they've released a couple of new ones a day early. First up, here's a photo of Finn (John Boyega) and a new character Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) at the gambling city of Canto Bight. Rian Johnson spoke briefly about crafting that environment for this movie:

"I wanted a new environment that was like dunking your head in a cool bath of water, right in the middle of movie. Apart from the prequels, all the touchstones that make something feel like Star Wars have to do with griminess and dirt. I wanted to do something completely different."

That's quite a staring contest Finn and Rose seem to be having in that image, and while I assumed their relationship would be friendly since they're on a mysterious mission together, it seems as if there may be some tension between them. We know that Rose sees Finn as a hero because of what he did in The Force Awakens, and that Finn is reluctant to get back into the action because of the injury he sustained in his fight with Kylo Ren. So maybe – and this is pure speculation – this conflict between them arises when a wrench is thrown in their mission, Finn wants to bail, and Rose inspires him to do what's right, regardless of how dangerous the situation may be.

The Last Jedi Empire X-Wing

Meanwhile, the same site posted this new photo of an X-Wing that belongs to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and this baby has received a major upgrade and a cool new nickname: Black One. I'll let Empire describe the big difference between how it appears in The Last Jedi versus how we saw it last:

The X-Wing (an Incom-FreiTek T-70, to be precise) has, according to Rian Johnson, been specially modified by Resistance engineers, with a temporary accelerator pod affixed to the aft section. According to The Last Jedidirector, the pod, when primed, increases Dameron's speed, allowing him to outrun First Order cannon emplacements.

rian johnson's the last jedi set photos

Elsewhere, Johnson spoke with The New York Times about making The Last Jedi. The whole interview is worth reading, but there are a few notable points worth separating. First, Johnson confirms what he's said before: Lucasfilm essentially let him have free reign over the sequel's story. When asked if he was instructed to hit certain plot points, or to make sure the movie ends in a certain way, he replied:

"Nothing like that. But it's the second film in a trilogy. The first film got these characters here. This second movie has to dig into and challenge these characters. I wanted this to be a satisfying experience unto itself. I didn't want it to end with a dot, dot, dot, question mark."

And Johnson also confirmed, again, that the voice we hear in the teaser trailer saying "It's time for the Jedi to end," is in fact Luke Skywalker's:

"That's him. It sounds pretty dire. That's something that we're definitely going to dig into. The heart of the movie is Luke and Rey. It follows all the other characters, but its real essence is the development of the two of them. And it's absolutely tied up in that question of, What is Luke's attitude toward the Jedi?"

Phasma comic saber battle

And while this may not necessarily be specifically related to The Last Jedi, it definitely concerns one of its characters: we finally know how Captain Phasma escaped the trash compactor at the end of The Force Awakens. Marvel's newest Star Wars comic, Captain Phasma #1, reveals that an explosion ripped a hole in Phasma's filthy temporary prison and she was able to escape through it. You can read a super spoilery breakdown of everything that happens in the comic over at io9, but there's one last detail I thought was cool enough to share: after busting out, Phasma witnesses the lightsaber battle between Kylo Ren and Rey in the snowy woods just before she escapes the exploding Starkiller base. I doubt that she'll actually be able to use that information in any meaningful way in The Last Jedi (since general audiences will have no idea that she witnessed it), but it's the type of connection Lucasfilm's story group has loved to include in its comic book gap fillers ever since they wiped out the Extended Universe.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.