We're 503 days from May 26, 2017, the day we'll find out what happens after [redacted] finds [redacted] and hands [redacted] that [redacted] at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Solace: Rogue One, the first non-trilogy flick, subtitled A Star Wars Story, hits on December 16 this year.) Since the credits rolled on our first-of-an-undisclosed-amount-of-viewings of Episode VII, we've been scheming about the next one. (And rifling through all the awesome theories.)
Here are the things that will definitely, no questions asked, happen in/around/because of Star Wars: Episode VIII. This is going to spoil some of The Force Awakens.
1. It will ring in the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the one that started it all.
2. Lots more kids will immediately leave the theater and play pretend-lightsabers because it'll be a seasonable May evening not a cold-ass December night.
3. Kylo Ren will use two lightsabers. Nowhere to go but up.
4. BB-8 and R2-D2 will feud.
5. But BB-8 and R2-D2 will be the most adorable droid couple.
6. C-3PO will be jealous.
7. Luke will say "I am your father" to Rey.
8. Or Luke will say some clever variation of "I am your father" to Rey.
9. 142.9 million other people will predict #7 and/or #8.
10. Due to all that, and to The Force Awakens' cliffhanger, it'll feature a more Luke Skywalker/Mark Hamill–centric promotional buildup.
11. It'll have a dark ending because this is the Empire Strikes Back of the third trilogy, placement-wise.
12. It will be the Empire of the third trilogy, quality-wise; Rian Johnson is, from what we've seen, the most talented and original director of this trio. Colin Trevorrow's Episode IX already feels, for some totally negative and irrational reason, like it might be a "Return of the Jedi right after Empire Strikes Back" situation. He might do Ewoks.
13. Finn will keep wearing that leather jacket.
14. Finn will still be very handsome, dashing and adorably funny.
15. Poe Dameron will still be very handsome, dashing and Springsteenishly lovable.
16. Forty-four percent of adults who see Episode VIII will have been driven to read a Star Wars book, play or purchase a Star Wars game, get a Star Wars app, read a book worth of Star Wars Wikipedia and/or Wookiepedia pages in the time since seeing The Force Awakens.
17. Ditto for kids, but boost it to 82 percent and add stuff like Legos, Pop! Dolls, art kits, lollipops, branded fruit and special edition versions of Monopoly that at first stupidly didn't feature The Force Awaken's main character. (Because who wants to play as a girl, right?!!)
18. For the fifth straight movie, Leia won't have a big-enough role.
19. Leia will/damn well better use the Force in a more visible manner. She's a Skywalker, bro.
20. Han Solo will not prove to be miraculously alive.
21. Han Solo will not appear as a ghost.
22. Our heroes will remember Han in some poignant fashion.
23. An allusion to Han's history will be made so as to pave the way for the Han Solo origin movie, hitting theaters 364 days later.
24. Post-Han, Chewbacca will make a new bestie, possibly Rey.
25. Someone from the old movies will appear that did not appear in The Force Awakens. Lando Calrissian? A dead Jedi or Sith in ghost format... perhaps Yoda? Obi-Wan? Emperor Palpatine? Qui-Gon Jinn? Anakin? Mace Windu??!
26. Benicio del Toro will be in it, reportedly as a bad guy.
27. It'll birth another beautiful press tour, headlined by John Boyega and vibrantly supported by Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.
28. We'll see more of Emperor Snoke and/or hear some back story.
29. Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux will play a significant role; yay.
30. Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma will play a more significant role; double yay.
31. Lupita Nyong'o will not be in it. (IMDb says she will, but odds are that Maz Kanata was killed off before she could serve a larger purpose and continue to just be a cool, weird character that I guess for some fills the Yoda-shaped hole in these new movies. Whatever, though; having the still-not-in-enough-movies Lupita do a motion-capture-only role is foolish, anyway.)
32. Everyone who nostalgia-cried or regular-cried during The Force Awakens will nostalgia-cry or regular-cry again.
33. No Jar Jar. Seriously, none.