‘Star Wars’ Signals: ‘Episode VIII’ Updates, and ‘Rebels’ Returns

Welcome to our weekly Star Wars roundup! With Disney ramping up the franchise on all cylinders, there’s tons of exciting stuff in the way of news, rumors, and clips. We’ve picked out the best Star Wars stories the Internet has to offer, bringing you everything you need to know about the world’s favorite sci-fi series.

1. The latest updates (and delays) from Episode VIII

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Source: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

The Star Wars fandom was rocked this last week by the news of Episode VIII‘s seven-month delay. Originally slated to release in May 2017, we’ll now be getting the follow-up to The Force Awakens in December of that same year. Many point to the original five-month gap between Rogue One and Episode VIII as folly from the very beginning, while the delay now puts Star Wars on a yearly Christmas season release schedule.

The updates from Episode VIII weren’t just delay-related this week though. Pushing the release date wasn’t because Disney simply wanted a holiday release corridor for the franchise. THR’s Borys Kit cites rewrites for Rian Johnson’s script as one of the driving forces behind the delay, while The Popcorn Talk podcast points to a intriguing reason behind all this: “I said before there were two young female roles, now I actually heard that the rewrite will make these roles smaller. They want to get to know better the characters they already have. So the new rewrite is shrinking the new roles in order to spend more time with Rey, Poe and so on.”

2. The craziest theory about Rey’s true identity gets a convincing explanation

Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Source: Lucasfilm

The most talked-about facet of The Force Awakens has unequivocally been the identity of Rey (Daisy Ridley). We see her master the Force in a matter of hours, defeat a trained Force-user in Kylo Ren, and there seems to be little doubt about the fact that she’s someone important. Most theories seem to think she’s either the secret daughter of Luke or the wayward granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Recently though, a “so crazy it might just make sense” alternative has surfaced: Rey is the living reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker.

One 9GAG user breaks it down in a handy infographic, and to be honest, it all seems to follow logically. The CliffsNotes version: Rey was born directly after the Battle of Endor (and the death of Darth Vader), and living on a desert planet without her family is “Anakin’s” penance for the sins of his past life. The full graphic goes on to rattle off a whole list of compelling reasons that support the theory, all of which paint an intriguing picture of what could be for the future of Rey’s character.

3. Star Wars: Rebels returns, and soon will be chock full of Force Awakens tie-ins

Star Wars: Rebels kicked off the second half of its season this week, coming hot off the heels of a trailer packed with goodies for fans. In it, we see Jedi trainee Ezra Bridger handling a familiar cross-guard lightsaber design, talking with Yoda, and battling with Darth Vader. The showrunners have long promised a connection to The Force Awakens, and with Season 2 moving toward its conclusion, it seems only natural to have that connection take place soon. For our full breakdown of the midseason trailer, head over this way.

4. A massive twist in the “Where’s Rey?” toy controversy

Where's Rey? - Hasbro, Disney

Source: Hasbro

It seems as though Rey is at the center of most Force Awakens discussions, although this one is far more dubious than any other. Sweatpants and Coffee spoke with an anonymous insider concerning the omission of Rey from the initial run of Star Wars toys and came away with some stunning new information. According to the source, “product vendors were specifically directed to exclude the Rey character from all Star Wars-related merchandise,” citing the fact that “no boy wants to be given a product with a female character on it.” If true, this represents a massive misstep, as kids have proven time and again that they’re not nearly as concerned with the gender binary as Hasbro is.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

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