Early filming took place with Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley on Skellig Michael off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, in late September 2015. On February 15, 2016, LucasFilm posted a short production-announcement video, which included some footage and behind-the-scenes shots, and which picks up immediately after the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Main photography was scheduled to begin in early January 2016, but was delayed a month reportedly due to script revisions, and began on February 15.
On December 2015 the production team of this film and Rogue One (2016) went to Mexico City looking for filming locations, specifically at Iztapalapa and Tlahuac boroughs. It was later confirmed that some scenes for both films would be filmed in Mexico City, but due to some trouble with the local government the filming was cancelled.
Carrie Fisher was also a well-known writer, whose services were often called upon to act as script doctor for other films. She later began declining such assignments when producers would solicit her story ideas, then hire someone else to actually change the script, using her ideas without paying her. However, Rian Johnson revealed that Fisher helped with the writing of the script for this film.
Lawrence Kasdan initially wrote a story outline for the film, but was called away to work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) when problems arose with that film's initial script. When Rian Johnson signed on as director he requested to be allowed to scrap Kasdan's story and write his own script from scratch, which the producers consented to, as Kasdan's outline no longer matched up with the finished storyline of the previous film.
Kelly Marie Tran didn't tell anyone that she was doing the movie and lied that she was doing an indie movie in Canada. At one point, she actually got some maple syrup to bring back to her parents, so they actually thought she was in Canada.
During the trailer, there is a shot of what appears to be several books old on a shelf. We then see a shot of a gloved hand running over a faded tome with the symbol of the jedi on it. In the Force Awakens we are told Luke was searching for the first Jedi Temple. It is possible in the caves of the planet Ahch-to, he found the ancient texts of those first force users. A parallel may be drawn in real life to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the founding documents of Christianity (through which, Lucas drew inspiration for the original Star Wars) being found in caves in Israel and the Middle East
Carrie Fisher credited Miguel Ferrer for preparing her for her original audition for the role of Leia. Ferrer later became known for playing Agent Albert Rosenfeld in 'Twin Peaks (1990)(TV)'. Like Fisher, Ferrer ended up returning to that role decades later in 'Twin Peaks (2017)(TV)', but also died before its premiere. Laura Dern appears in both Twin Peaks and The Last Jedi.
The title of this film, "The Last Jedi," was revealed on January 23, 2017. The phrase appears in the opening crawl of "The Force Awakens", making this the first time the title of a Star Wars film appeared in an opening crawl.
Mark Hamill told Rian Johnson after reading the script for the film, "I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you've made for this character [Luke Skywalker]. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you've created and do my best to realize your vision."
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The previous films in the series all took place at least a year after the previous film. This film takes up right where Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) left off, including a re-creation of the final scene and a funeral for Han Solo.
The original release date was May 26, 2017. However, in January of 2016, the film's release was rescheduled for December 15, 2017, based on how successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) was releasing in December.
An image of the toy box layout for Episode 8 toys leaked in early February. Poe and Finn look much the same, however Rey's hair is down, and it appears as if she has a scar above her left eye. It is unclear if the scar was a result of training, or if it is meant to be reminiscent of Anakin Skywalker's scar from episode 3.
Mark Hamill let it slip that it was a great experience to play Luke Skywalker once again and how emotional it was during the films wrapping. This speculated that Luke would most likely die in the film as he (Hamill) did not say he would reprise the role for Episode IX. Hamill did later comment that it was not what he meant.
Director Rian Johnson admits that he moved Kylo Ren's facial injury. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rey slices his face with her light saber, giving him a laceration that goes across the bridge of his nose. In this film, the injury has scabbed over, but is now over his right eye. Johnson says a scab over his nose didn't look right. Ironically, the placement of the scar matches a similar injury on Ren's grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005).
It has been speculated by fans that Rey is actually the long lost daughter of Luke Skywalker. Being the prankster that he is, Mark Hamill made a comment during Star Wars celebration 2017, accidentally referring to Daisy Ridley as "my dau... I mean my colleague."
The first Star Wars film which does not take place 3 - 4 years, not even a decade after the previous film. The film is a direct continuation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and takes place shortly after Rey arrives on the island on the oceanic planet and finds Luke Skywalker and presents to him his old lightsaber.
As with Episode VII, "script leaks" abound. So far the most prominent theory is that VIII will have some similarities to Episode V, the first sequel, but none as close as Episode VII had to Episode IV.