Characters you won't see in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

One of the best things about Disney's new Star Wars trilogy is catching up with our favorite characters, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi promises even more answers about what everyone in that galaxy far, far away has been up to. Leia played a small role in The Force Awakens, but The Last Jedi should delve deeper into the challenges she faces as the Resistance's top military officer. In Episode VIII, Luke Skywalker will speak for the first time in over 30 years, filling everyone in on what he's been doing during his self-imposed exile.

But the Star Wars galaxy is a big place, and The Last Jedi doesn't have room to include everyone. Still, there's always hope: if your favorite doesn't make it onscreen this December, they can still show up in Episode IX. This is Star Wars, after all. Anything can happen.

Han Solo

If you haven't seen The Force Awakens yet, here's a quick spoiler: Han Solo is dead. His son, Ben Solo—better known these days as the First Order's Kylo Ren—killed him. Kylo stabbed the galaxy's most lovable rogue with a lightsaber and tossed him off of a bridge. He's gone, and despite Harrison Ford's joking claims to the contrary, he's not coming back.

Of course, death hasn't stopped Star Wars characters from returning before. Poor Alec Guinness, who kind of hated Star Wars, had to return for two sequels despite Obi-Wan Kenobi's early demise. Peter Cushing reprised his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in 2016's Rogue One, even though the actor died in 1994. Darth Maul enjoyed a lengthy run on The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels after Obi-Wan chopped him in half. But most Star Wars characters who defy death have some sort of connection to the Force. Han Solo didn't. That's kind of his whole gimmick.

Don't expect to see Han via flashback, either. Not only is Harrison Ford notoriously ambivalent when it comes to Star Wars—Disney had to shell out a lot of cash to get him back for The Force Awakens—but Last Jedi director Rian Johnson took great pains to specify that Han's "figurative ghost" looms large over the other characters. Reading between the lines, that means that Han's legacy plays a big role in The Last Jedi, but Han himself? Not so much.

Jar Jar Binks

There's no way Disney is going to sully its $4 billion purchase by reviving Star Wars' most reviled character, but just in case you're still worried: no, Jar Jar Binks is not going to show up in The Last Jedi. In fact, he's probably never going to show up in a Star Wars feature ever again. You can breathe. It's going to be okay.

In an interview with WIRED, Ahmed Best, who provided both Jar Jar's voice and the physical performance that Lucasfilm's motion capture artists used as the basis for Jar Jar's CGI movements, detailed his grueling experience as the Star Wars franchise's biggest misstep. After The Phantom Menace premiered and Jar Jar became the walking, talking representation of the film's many flaws, fans hounded Best. "I had death threats through the internet," he said. "I had people come to me and say, 'You destroyed my childhood.'" When critics accused Lucas, Best, and Jar Jar of perpetuating racist stereotypes, Best was heartbroken, admitting, "There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of pain."

Best returned as Jar Jar for the remaining prequels, and voiced him in video game spinoffs and The Clone Wars animated series, but for now he's done with the character; as he put it, "I think I've done my damage." That doesn't mean he isn't proud of his work, however. As a Star Wars fan himself—The Empire Strikes Back is Best's favorite movie—the performer understands the backlash, but doesn't regret his performance. "George [Lucas] said do a thing, I did a thing," he explained. "The fact that you hate Jar Jar—I still did the job."

Lando Calrissian

The Force Awakens and its tie-in materials did a pretty good job of explaining what happened to the original trilogy's major characters—save one. While Lando's co-pilot, Nien Nunb, is still fighting fascism as a Resistance pilot, Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to reveal what happened to the galaxy's smoothest reformed criminal.

Don't expect any answers when The Last Jedi arrives in December 2017, either. According to actor Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Rebels, and a number of other Star Wars spinoffs, Han Solo's on-again off-again best bud is sitting the next adventure out. Williams broke the news at 2017's Star Wars Celebration, quashing a flurry of ill-founded rumors and leaving Lando fans heartbroken.

If you're still jonesing for your Calrissian fix, however, Williams did have some good news: actor and hip-hop artist Donald Glover, who's playing Lando in the upcoming Han Solo spinoff film, has Williams' stamp of approval. "He's a very talented young man," Williams said. "In fact, I was listening to some of his music and it's pretty good stuff" (given that Williams is an accomplished musician on his own, that means a lot). Meanwhile, there's still hope that we'll see Lando in Episode IX. When asked if he'd appear in any upcoming Star Wars projects, even if it's just a cameo, Williams said, "If they asked me, I wouldn't say no."

Mara Jade

Before Disney bought Lucasfilm and started cranking out yearly Star Wars films, Luke Skywalker's story went in a very different direction. Like in The Force Awakens, he established an ill-fated Jedi Academy and watched as one of his students turned to the dark side. Unlike The Force Awakens, however, his life wasn't all bad. He married the red-headed special agent-turned-smuggler-turned-Jedi Mara Jade and had a kid named Ben (eventually she died, of course, but things were pretty good for Luke for a while).

But we're going to be very surprised if Mara Jade makes her big-screen debut in The Last Jedi—or, frankly, if she ever returns to Star Wars canon. While Jade remains one of the most popular characters in Star Wars' Expanded Universe, Disney threw out the entire EU when it bought Lucasfilm, and Mara disappeared with it. In The Last Jedi, Luke's life has taken a very different turn. He's spent part of his post-Return of the Jedi life in exile on Ahch-To, surrounded by nuns and Porgs. That leaves little time for romance. Given that Mara Jade is so closely connected to Luke, it doesn't make sense to bring her back unless he's involved—meaning that Mrs. Skywalker is probably stuck in Disney's "Legends" line for good. That's what Jade's creator, author Timothy Zahn, thinks, anyway. If anyone knows, it's probably him.

Darth Plagueis

If you're a serious Star Wars fan, you know the theory: Supreme Leader Snoke, the mysterious head of the First Order, is actually Darth Plagueis, the former master of the first Star Wars trilogy's big bad, Emperor "Darth Sidious" Palpatine. As Palpatine explains in Revenge of the Sith, Plagueis was so strong in the Force that he could manipulate midi-chlorians—remember those?—in order to "create life" and keep his loved ones alive. Naturally, he taught what he knew to his apprentice, who repaid the favor by murdering Plagueis in his sleep.

As a result, many fans connected the dots and decided that, since Plagueis unlocked the secret to immortality, he never died, but has simply been biding his time until he could rise again. Not so fast, says Lucasfilm's lore guru, Pablo Hidalgo. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine notes that Plagueis "could save others from death, but not himself." Hidalgo says we should take Palpatine at his word. "Sidious killed Plagueis. He killed him. Killed. As in 'to kill.' Like, there was killing," Hildalgo posted on Twitter, bluntly shutting down the popular theory.

That hasn't stopped conspiracy-minded Star Wars diehards from continuing to speculate on the Plagueis-Snoke connection, but even if Plageuis and Snoke are the same person, we probably won't find out in Episode VIII. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson admitted that Snoke's history won't be fleshed out in the upcoming film; as he put it, "We'll learn exactly as much about Snoke as we need to."

Emperor Palpatine

While we're talking about good old Sheev Palpatine—yes, that's actually his real name—don't expect to see his wrinkled visage gracing the silver screen this December, either. Thanks to a LEGO set, of all things, we know the truth, and it's not good for all the Darth Sidious fans out there.

In September 2017, when The Last Jedi's merchandise started to appear in the wild, shoppers noticed that a Last Jedi LEGO set on Walmart.com allegedly came with a Supreme Leader Snoke figure and a "Palpatine hologram," implying that the Emperor would be making his triumphant return—or that he lives on as a pre-recorded video. Unfortunately, neither option seems to be true. Walmart got the description from a third-party retailer, not Lucasfilm or LEGO. Further, the actual packaging just calls the translucent toy "a mini hologram figure," without specifying which character it is (Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo assumes it's supposed to be a tiny blue Kylo Ren).

In the confusion, Slashfilm reached out to a source close to The Last Jedi's production for clarification. "While there are holograms in The Last Jedi," they reported, "Palpatine is not in the current cut of the film." Slashfilm published its story on September 21. That same day, Rian Johnson announced that post-production on The Last Jedi was finished. That doesn't leave very much (or, really, any) time for Palpatine to sneak into the final cut, making it incredibly unlikely that he's going to appear.

Darth Vader

Darth Vader is bound to play a big role in The Last Jedi. His son, Luke Skywalker, is featured heavily in the latest installment—heck, the movie is named after him. His grandson, Kylo Ren, is the biggest Vader fanboy in the universe, and even adopts the former Sith Lord's personal sense of style. His daughter, Leia, is the head of the Resistance—and we know from some of the spinoff material, like Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Bloodline, that Leia's connection to Palpatine's right-hand man is an ongoing source of major concern for the princess-turned-politician.

However, while internet rumormongers claim that Vader and his legacy are going to be common topics of conversation among The Last Jedi's cast, so far, it doesn't sound like he'll show up onscreen, although his burned and mangled helmet may make an appearance. Outside of psychic visions, Star Wars doesn't really do flashbacks, and Darth's been dead for 30 years. Rumors suggest that Vader's pre-Dark Side alter-ego Anakin Skywalker might make a Force ghost appearance courtesy of actor Hayden Christensen. Otherwise, it looks like Darth Vader will be relegated to a single cameo in The Last Jedi's poster—and even that's a bit of a stretch.

Jessika Pava

If you're not sure who Jessika Pava is, don't worry. You're not alone. While actress Jessica Henwick is one of the hottest rising stars in geek-friendly media—you probably know her as  Nymeria Sand, one of Game of Thrones' fearsome Sand Snakes, or as Colleen Wing on Netflix and Marvel's Iron Fist—she plays a very small role as a Resistance fighter pilot during The Force Awakens' spacebound climax.

Despite Pava's limited screentime, she's become something of a cult hero among diehard Star Wars fans, but that doesn't mean that she'll return for The Last Jedi. According to Henwick herself, the fighter pilot won't appear. "No, I'm not in Episode VIII," she told Moviepilot. "Hopefully [I'm] back for more in the future, but as of now, if you want to catch up with Jessika Pava you have to read the comic books." (Pava plays a major role in Marvel's ongoing Poe Dameron comic, and also figures into the Force Awakens prequel novels The Weapon of a Jedi and Before the Awakening).

Kanan Jarrus

For four seasons, former Jedi Padawan and self-appointed Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus (real name Caleb Dume) has travelled the galaxy on Star Wars Rebels, fighting the Empire's forces and training his feisty apprentice Ezra Bridger. It hasn't been easy. As one of the few members of the Jedi order to survive Order 66, which wiped out the Jedi and paved the way for the Emperor's rise to power, Kanan's somehow managed to stay out of the Empire's crosshairs while helping turn a band of disorganized freedom fighters into the core of the fledgling Rebel Alliance.

But as Rebels heads into its fourth and final season, it looks like Kanan's time might be running out. Not that fans would be too surprised. Kanan's fate has been a question since the very beginning—a Jedi would be a big boon to the struggling Rebels, after all, but Kanan doesn't appear in the original Star Wars trilogy or its immediate prequel, Rogue One, making his chances of survival slim.

With The Last Jedi, they're even worse. Director Rian Johnson confirmed multiple times that Luke Skywalker is the titular last Jedi (not a spoiler, Johnson says, since it says so in The Force Awakens' opening crawl). That doesn't leave much room for poor Kanan, who's been associated with the Jedi since he was a kid. Fans won't know what exactly what happened to Kanan until Star Wars Rebels' final credits roll, but don't get too attached. He's likely out of the picture well before Episode VIII takes place.

Doctor Aphra

Of all of the characters introduced to Star Wars canon since Disney took the reins in 2012, very few have been as popular as Chelli Lona Aphra, who debuted in Marvel's ongoing Darth Vader comic book series. Dr. Aphra, an archeologist with a rather flexible moral code, serves as a kind of anti-Luke Skywalker. She didn't earn her doctorate as much as she stole. She searches for lost Jedi artifacts, but seems more interested in cash than actual knowledge.  She's even got her own R2-D2 and C-3PO called BT-1 and 0-0-0, who are almost exactly like Luke's companions, except that they're also complete sociopaths who hate all humans.

In other words, Doctor Aphra is a lot of fun, and fans love her. In 2017, Aphra won a fan poll on StarWars.com, earning the right to be immortalized as one of Hasbro's high-end "vintage collection" action figures. When Marvel's first Darth Vader comic came to an end, Aphra's adventures continued in her own solo series, which is still running. The good doctor might be showing her age by the time The Last Jedi rolls around, but there's no denying that she'd be a great addition to the Star Wars cinematic universe.

It doesn't look like it's going to happen. With BB-9E, an evil version of BB-8, set to make his debut in Episode VIII, it feels like The Last Jedi is adapting some of the best parts of Aphra's story—the murderous droids, the long-lost Jedi temples, and her sense of reckless, chaotic adventure—while leaving the criminal researcher behind. That's a shame, but at least we'll still have the comics.

Boba Fett

Boba Fett is dead and he's never coming back. Deal with it.

Yes, we know that in the old Expanded Universe, Boba survived the Sarlacc's stomach—twice—but that stuff doesn't count anymore. Disney threw it out when they decided to make a batch of new Star Wars movies, meaning that as far as we know, Boba Fett is still rotting away in the Sarlaac's belly. His armor might've survived. By all indications, the man inside did not.

That hasn't stopped Disney and Lucasfilm from adding to Boba Fett's story, of course. In Marvel's Star Wars comic books, it's Fett who informs Darth Vader that the boy who destroyed the first Death Star is named Skywalker, setting Vader on the path to redemption at his son's hands. The Clone Wars animated series tracks Boba's development from an angry child to a feared and fearsome bounty hunter. Jonathan Rinzler, a Lucasfilm employee and self-proclaimed Star Wars scholar, claims that George Lucas thinks that Boba Fett is still alive, but George isn't calling the shots any more.

Ultimately, however, while there's no evidence that Boba Fett won't appear in The Last Jedi, there's no evidence that he will, either. The Last Jedi is full of new characters to focus on, in addition to Rey, Finn, Poe, Luke, Leia, and all the others. Adding Fett would make things even more complicated, and we're confidently betting against his unexpected return.

Rotta 'Stinky' the Hutt

The Clone Wars animated series ended up being a compelling, complex, and exciting addition to the Star Wars universe, but boy did it get off to a rough start. The show ultimately took a deep dive into the titular conflict, offering a very Star Wars-esque look at the complex morality and heroic sacrifices that take place on the battlefield. Its big debut—a theatrical film called Star Wars: The Clone Wars—didn't have any of that. It's a simple action-adventure cartoon, and not a very good one.

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker, his new apprentice Ahsoka Tano, and a squad of Clone Troopers must rescue Jabba the Hutt's son, Rotta, from Jabba's twisted uncle Ziro. It's bad all around. Ziro is a poorly-conceived and borderline offensive gay stereotype who's modeled after Truman Capote (allegedly, that was George Lucas' idea). Rotta provides some basic comedic relief, which relies mostly on nicknames—Ahsoka quickly dubs him "Stinky"—and "cute" noises.

You'd think that the son of one of the galaxy's most ruthless and notorious crime lords would be an important character in Star Wars canon, but he and his great-uncle pretty much disappeared after The Clone Wars movie, making only a couple more appearances in the TV show before vanishing entirely. That's the right decision, and Disney won't reverse it for The Last Jedi. Some things are simply better left forgotten.