Mark Hamill and Rian Johnson revealed at a BAFTA screening that Hamill asked to play a CG character, saying that he had done it before (He had previous done CGI work for the computer game "Star Citizen"). In the film he plays the character who puts money inside BB-8 in the Casino scenes.
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, and use Fisher's ideas without paying her. However, director Rian Johnson revealed that Fisher helped with the writing of the script for this film.
After first completing the arduous 600-foot climb on Ireland's Skellig Michael island, Mark Hamill had hoped that he could avoid having to repeat the trek for additional scenes if he could somehow remain on the summit overnight, thus forfeiting the luxury of room service at his hotel. He suggested sleeping in a tent and 'staying in character.' However, after some inquiries were made with the Irish authorities, he was told by producer Kathleen Kennedy that he was not permitted to pitch a tent because the location is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to director Rian Johnson, the Porgs were the result of puffins being native to Skellig Michael, the island where the Achto scenes were filmed. They were unable to move them as they are a protected species and it would've been too time consuming and expensive to edit them out of the shots, so Rian decided to create a new indigenous species and simply CGI over the puffins.
When filming, Laura Dern said "pew" every time she shot her blaster. Although not audible, one such instance even made it into the finished film. It can be noticed in the close-up shot when Holdo is stunning her opponents.
Daisy Ridley took her father to the set in Ireland, where the ending scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) was about to be recreated. When her father met Mark Hamill, he asked him, "Who do you play, then?" Ridley admitted she was not sure if her father was joking.
Although Disney decided not to use George Lucas's story outlines for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX after the purchase of his company, a couple of Lucas's ideas surfaced in this film, including Luke Skywalker living as a recluse and training a female Jedi (in Lucas's outline her name was Kira).
After the breakthrough CGI that was displayed in Rogue One (2016) for recreating long gone actors, the filmmakers of this film saw fit to issue statements ahead of release, shutting down any speculations (or worries) on the possibility of such a technology being used for the late Carrie Fisher. In short, all her scenes (barring the stunts) are categorically hers, including the dialogue.
Luke Skywalker bears a strong resemblance to Obi-Wan Kenobi's appearance in the original Star Wars trilogy. In fact, Mark Hamill reprised his role in 2015 at the age of 64, while Sir Alec Guinness was 63 when he was first cast as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Kelly Marie Tran did not tell anyone she was doing the movie and lied that she was doing an indie film in Canada. At one point, she got some maple syrup to bring back to her parents so they would believe she was actually in Canada.
As of 2017, this is the only film in the Star Wars universe to not feature the popular phrase "I have a bad feeling about this" spoken audibly. Obi Wan says it in Episode I, Anakin says it in Episode II, Obi Wan says it again in Episode III, Luke and Han say it in Episode IV, Leia says it in Episode V, Han says it again in Episodes VI and VII and K2SO starts to say it but is cut off in Rogue One. Director Rian Johnson has stated that the line is said by BB-8, but since he speaks in droid language, the line is not actually heard.
Carrie Fisher's dog Gary Fisher appears in the casino. When Rose and Finn are talking, he is visible on the left side of the screen beneath the man in the black fez. Rian Johnson confirmed this after a fan spotted the dog in a production still.
Rian Johnson was offered the chance to direct the next film in the saga, Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) based on executive reactions to early versions of this film. Johnson turned down the offer due to the film's tight production schedule. Lucasfilm then offered him a three picture deal to create his own trilogy set in the "Star Wars" universe.
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 lightsaber, 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 did not look right. Coincidentally, the placement of the scar matches a similar injury on Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
For the sequence where Kylo Ren connects with Leia Organa before choosing not to fire, editors used the same three frame dissolves used in The Empire Strikes Back between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
In keeping with a long-time series tradition, the opening shot after the text crawl shows a space vehicle flying either away from or toward the screen (in this case, several Resistance transport ships fly towards the screen).
The location filming in Ireland was intended to follow on from the dark Skellig ending of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). However, the weather was unseasonably good and shooting took longer than expected.
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, to which the producers consented, as Kasdan's outline no longer matched up with the finished storyline of the previous film.
Production designer Rick Heinrichs said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the original screenplay by writer-director Rian Johnson was so ambitious that it had double the number of sets you might expect on a film like this. "The original script had about 160 sets in it, a ridiculous amount of sets. I didn't say that to Rian, because I figured on something this big he'll find that out on his own. It's a 100-day shooting schedule," says Heinrichs. "So there's more than one set a day you have to prepare for." In the end, the production settled on 125 sets on 14 stages at Pinewood Studios. "The truth is we ended up combining things and trying to be smart about how we're going to do it," says Heinrichs. "He did do some trimming and cutting. It forced him to actually cut the shoe leather, as they say, and combine things in the script as well and reduce a number of things that way."
According to Rian Johnson, Luke Skywalker's rationale for exiling himself on the island was that the Jedi were not helping and were instead perpetuating the cycle of the Jedi and Sith. They needed to go away so a new light could rise from a more worthy source.
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.
In December 2015, the production team of this film and Rogue One (2016) went to Mexico City, Mexico 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.
The Stormtrooper armor is slightly different from the one seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The most striking difference can be noticed on the helmet, which has sharper contours and resembles the design of the classic Stormtroopers.
In the original trilogy, Mark Hamill received top billing for all three films. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Harrison Ford received top billing while Hamill received second billing. Hamill received top billing once more in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).
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 picked 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.
The title of "Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi" was first published in Spain and translated to "Los Últimos Jedi," meaning the title is plural. In Italy too it has been translated as "Gli Ultimi Jedi" (plural)
In late 2017, director Rian Johnson shot down Internet rumors that Billy Dee Williams would reprise his role of Lando Calrissian in this film, stating, "He's not in the film, and it was never really something that came up. I mean, I loved that character. It would have been fun to see him, but it's just not something that ever really had a place in the story."
According to Rian Johnson, Laura Dern could not resist saying "pew pew pew!" when she was required to fire a blaster. This is similar to Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in the prequels: both had a habit of making lightsaber noises while they dueled.
Rian Johnson and Cinematographer Steve Yedlin needed a way to distinguish the Dreadnought bridge from the Star Destroyer bridge. While on set, they came up with the idea of adding a red light, like a submarine.
Many fans were disappointed by how this film continued several of the plot threads started in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and how it answered some of its lingering questions. Writer/director Rian Johnson stated in interviews that he had read J.J. Abrams' script for The Force Awakens, but Abrams never shared any long-term plans he had for the next two films. In fact, there was never an overarching story outline for the trilogy that he had to adhere to; both Abrams and Lucasfilm gave Johnson almost full creative freedom to develop the story as he saw fit, and they were reportedly enthusiastic about some of his more controversial choices.
Laura Dern plays a high-ranking Rebel officer in this movie, but is probably best-known as Dr. Ellie Sattler from the Jurassic Park franchise. A rippling cup of tea is shown in The Last Jedi, a direct nod to the iconic cup of water from Jurassic Park.
The Aurebesh lettering on Rose Tico's Resistance coveralls reads "GLD" and "landing officer." The same words were printed on the background alien Vober Dand's clothing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and according to the Visual Guide published for that movie, "GLD" stands for "Ground Logistics Division."
In the brief moment that you can see Luke's robotic hand, if you look towards the bottom, near the wrist, you can see the formation of a blaster hole. This is the mark that was left there from when Luke was shot in his hand while on Jabba's barge during Return of the Jedi.
After the text crawl at the beginning of the movie, the camera tilts downward. This is the 7th of the 8 movies to do this. Only Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) does not tilt down, but rather tilts upwards.
The fourth Star Wars film to be released in IMAX, being the second film in the franchise to be filmed partially in the format with more IMAX footage than The Force Awakens, but unlike the predecessor, the footage is cropped at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio.
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). Like Fisher, Ferrer ended up returning to that role decades later in Twin Peaks (2017), 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.
Second unit photography began during pre-production at Skellig Michael in Ireland on September 14, 2015, due to the difficulties of filming at that location during other seasons. It would have lasted four days, but filming was canceled for the first day due to poor weather and rough conditions.
Features the first Star Wars soundtrack to incorporate songs from outside the Star Wars universe: "Aquarela do Brasil," better known in English as "Brazil," by Ary Barroso, and "The Long Goodbye," by John Williams and Johnny Mercer. "The Long Goodbye" was the title song from the Robert Altman film, which was written by Leigh Brackett, who wrote the original draft of the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). (In the first Star Wars film, George Lucas used "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller as a temporary track during the Mos Eisley Cantina scene, which John Williams reworked to the familiar "Cantina Band" theme.)
Although plenty of his original sound effects are used, this is the first main Star Wars film where Ben Burtt is not credited as Supervising Sound Designer/Sound Editor. Series veteran Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce take over these duties.
The scene where Finn meets Rose was rewritten during production. Originally, Rose was very suspicious of Finn. Kelly Marie Tran's energy convinced Rian Johnson that the scene would be better if Rose admired Finn.
With returning characters Leia, Rey, Phasma, Maz Kanata, and Lieutenant Connix, as well as newcomers Rose, Holdo, Paige, Tallie, and Commander D'Arcy, this movie features more female characters than the original Star Wars trilogy, in which the only notable female characters are Leia, Aunt Beru, and Mon Mothma.
There is a scene were Kylo Ren's costume is being ironed by an ironing robot, and the iron is shown from below blowing steam as if it were a spaceship coming in for a landing. The spaceship made from an iron also appears in Hardware Wars, which itself was a spoof of the original Star Wars.
In January 2016, production of Episode VIII was delayed until February 2016, due to script rewrites. Additionally, filming was potentially in danger of being delayed further due to an upcoming strike between the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union.
During filming, John Boyega went into a strict workout and diet regime. One day, when he was hungry, he went to Carrie Fisher's trailer. When he told her that he was sick of eating healthy, she offered him chocolate bars and candy she had stashed inside her fridge. Since then, he occasionally went to her trailer whenever he wanted a "cheat day" from his diet. He later said "I failed my diet because Carrie Fisher told me to. And it felt great".
When Poe Dameron says the line, "If they move...stun 'em", this may be a direct homage to Sam Peckinpah's classic 1969 western The Wild Bunch. William Holden's character Pike famously says, "If they move, kill 'em."
Tom Hardy, who makes a cameo appearance as a storm trooper (which was deleted in the final cut and appears in the DVD version), made one of his earliest film appearances in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). He also appeared in Black Hawk Down (2001) with Ewan McGregor. He and Mark Hamill have also both appeared in the Batman franchise. Hardy played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), while Hamill voiced the Joker in the animated series.
Whilst the film was in production. Disney announced the 2nd Star Wars anthology film - Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and that it would be released between Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017) and Star Wars: Episode IX (2019). Taking place years before Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (2017), the film follows a young Han Solo, revealing how he first meets Chewbacca and becomes captain of the Milennium Falcon. Alden Ehrenriech succeeds Harrison Ford as Han Solo, while Donald Glover has been cast as young Lando Calrissian. Peter Mayhew's stunt double Joonas Suotoma returns as Chewbacca. Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Thandie Newton are announced to co-star. Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were hired to direct, but have been fired and replaced by Ron Howard.
This is the only sequel in a Star Wars trilogy to not have a four word subtitle (ex. Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) while the first in each trilogy have three word subtitles (ex. The Phantom Menace, A New Hope, The Force Awakens) thus breaking tradition.
Daisy Ridley turned down the role of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (2018) due to her commitment to Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). In Tomb Raider (2018) Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) travels to a mythical island off the coast of Japan to find her missing father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West). In this film, Rey (Daisy Ridley) arrives on the Temple island on Ahch-To to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern appear together in this film. The original Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Annie Hall, which featured an ex-boyfriend of each actress: Paul Simon and Jeff Goldblum.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
After reading the script for the film, Mark Hamill told director Rian Johnson, "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." Hamill later stated that he had the utmost respect for Johnson and Episode VII and Episode IX director J.J. Abrams, and is pleased with how both films have turned out.
Another giveaway that Luke Skywalker's presence on Crait is an illusion is that unlike every other creature on the planet, his steps do not stir up the red soil just under the salty surface of the planet, nor can you hear them, as foley was not used.
This is the first film since the original release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) to feature Yoda realized with a puppet rather than via computer animation, as well as the first film to feature Yoda as a puppet since Frank Oz retired from puppetry in the Early 2000s.
Rian Johnson stated in an interview that the puppet of Yoda used in The Last Jedi was made by going to the archives from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). They used the original mold, then next they went to the woman who painted the original puppet and then lastly went to Frank Oz to complete a customized puppet of Yoda to recreate the model from the Empire Strikes Back.
At one point Rose fires her blaster at Captain Phasma but the shot harmlessly glances off her armour, marking the first time in a Star Wars film that stormtrooper armour has successfully kept the person wearing it safe. This is because (according to The Force Awakens novel) Phasma's armor is not Standard Issue, but, rather, custom made by the character out the hull of a Naboo ship.
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."
News of Yoda's return in this film leaked out after reporters asked Frank Oz if he had any plans to return to the "Star Wars" series. Oz remarked that he had signed legal documents barring him from confirming or denying the answer to their questions which confirmed his involvement.
It was understood in the script, though not necessarily in the final film, that General Leia Organa had begun training as a Jedi shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Motherhood, and later, discord in the Galactic Senate caused her to cut short her tutoring. This explains how she is able to use the Force to create a bubble of air around her and return to her ship after the bridge of the Raddus is destroyed. An entry in the canonical tie-in Visual Dictionary confirmed this as well.
When Snoke interrogates Rey using the force, the Emperor's theme can be heard playing in the background, with the camera panning to Ren as this happens. This is reminiscent of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) when the Emperor is shocking Luke with force lightning and the camera pans to Vader, with the same theme playing. There is an obscure rumor that detailed how Snoke might've been Emperor Palpatine possessed by the force Ghost of Darth Plagueis.
When Rose, Finn, and BB-8 are sneaking through Snoke's ship disguised as Imperials, BB-8, hidden under a bucket, imitates the chirping of a mouse droid (the tiny black droids seen in Imperial corridors).
This is the first live-action movie in the franchise to break with the tradition to have a member of the Skywalker family in the closing shot. All previous movies included either Anakin, Luke and/or Leia in the final shot. Although Luke and Leia feature in the final scene, the closing shot only shows one of the young slave boys on the casino planet Canto Bight.
On the ITV Good Morning show, Holly Willoughby accidently confirmed Yoda to be in the film while doing a video interview with John Boyega. He instantly looked shocked and Holly tried to cover her mistake by saying the news was "out there"
When Luke appears on Crait he has a shorter, darker beard and hair. He looks like he did when he last saw Ben Solo (later; Kylo Ren) in the tent. No one, in the present time, knows what he actually looks like now, so they don't realise he is a force projection.
Mark Hamill claimed in interviews that he had discussed ideas for Luke Skywalker with Colin Trevorrow, the originally assigned director of the third movie in the trilogy. Hamill claimed that Trevorrow's ideas for Luke were more on similar to his own than they were with Rian Johnson's, and that more would be revealed about Luke in the third picture. However, Trevorrow was replaced as director by J.J. Abrams.
According to Rian Johnson, DJ stands for Don't Join, a phrase he got from an early record advertisement for Elvis Costello. DJ explains his neutral stance to Finn by saying "Don't Join" is his philosophy in life.
Only the second time in a live action Star Wars film where guns are set to stun. The first time is in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) where Leia is stunned after recording her message in R2D2. This time it's Leia who fires on Poe after his mutiny.
This is the first movie of the Star Wars main series that doesn't include the infamous Wilhelm scream, which was used since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). This was confirmed by sound editor Matthew Wood. Despite this, Luke and Kylo's showdown contains a very similar noise when Kylo's lightsaber slices the air.
Not including Rogue One (2016), this is the first Star Wars Film that has a character from the film saying the title, as Luke Skywalker says the line "I will not be The Last Jedi." Some of the titles were referenced in other films of the series but none specifically stated the title in their direct films.
In true Star Wars tradition, once again the Millenium Falcon is disparaged, this time by Kylo Ren. At around 2 hours 2 mins, during the attack on the Resistance base on Crait, the Millenium Falcon flies in to assist the Resistance. After taking out several TIE fighters Kylo Ren angrily decrees, "Blow that piece of junk, out of the sky!" His uncle Luke Skywalker also refers to the Falcon as a piece of junk in "A New Hope" when he first sees it in Mos Eisley. In "The Empire Strikes Back" Leia calls it a bucket of bolts and Lando Calrissian says "she's the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy". Rey calls it garbage in "The Force Awakens".
The Last Jedi includes several direct call backs to the second film in the original trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). 1) There is a hasty emergency evacuation of a rebel base. 2) There is an extended space chase - of the Millenium Falcon by TIE fighters in Empire and of the Resistance capital ship in The Last Jedi. 3) The two main protagonists meet and discuss parentage. 4) There is a ground battle involving AT-AT walkers, planet-bound speeders and Resistance/Rebel troops in trenches. 5) An untrained youth is rapidly trained in the ways of the force by an older teacher, despite Prequels establishing that Jedi should be trained from childhood and take 15-20 years to reach Force proficiency. 6) A Dark-side villain character, during a fight with a Light-side Force user, tried to join forces to "rule the Galaxy side by side."
On Crait, the salt flakes interact with Kylo Ren and his lightsaber but never interact with Luke Skywalker or his lightsaber. This is because Luke is using the force to project his image and is not physically present on Crait.
On a visit to Pinewood Studios, Star Wars fans, British Princes Harry and William, were given cameo appearances as two of the massed Storm Troopers in the scene where DJ was given his payment for his betrayal of the resistance movement.
The boy seen at the very end of the film does not grab his broom with his hand. If you look closely you'll notice that it moves into his hand. He echoes Anakin Skywalker, who was also a slave who could use the Force and dreams of adventure out in the galaxy. This shows that Rey isn't the last of the Jedi either.
After the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rey's parentage became a hotly debated topic. Luke Skywalker was frequently named as a family member, possibly even her father, until this film revealed that her parents were just a couple of anonymous Jakku junk traders. According to Simon Pegg who worked on The Force Awakens, writer/director J.J. Abrams originally had very different plans, intending for Rey to have a "relevant lineage". However, director Rian Johnson stated that Abrams never shared these plans with him, leaving him free to come up with his own ideas.
In a very, very brief lounge scene during the escape sequence on Canto Bight, a few notes of the theme song to The Long Goodbye (1973) can be heard on a piano in the background. (It's the notes that go with the lyrics "... and it happens every day" in the song.) John Williams scored both that film as well as this episode of Star Wars.
As mentioned in the film at one point, Admiral Ackbar, famous for his "It's a Trap!" line in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), was among those killed in the explosion on the frigate when Kylo Ren's Tie Fighter squadron bombed the bridge.
Director Rian Johnson stated that he would have loved to feature more of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), but the movie was already quite full, and there was no more place for her in the story other than a brief appearance near the end.
When asked what happened to Luke's mechanical hand at the point of his transition to a Force Ghost, Mark Hamill did not have a good answer. Director, Rian Johnson later said that having the hand clank onto the rock below would have "undercut the moment".
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker becomes the third top-billed actor, and fourth top-billed character, to die on screen. Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford both died by being impaled on a lightsaber. Ewan McGregor received top billing for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Sir Alec Guinness played out his death. Luke and Obi-Wan both vanish, becoming one with the Force.
This marks the third time where John Williams reprised the "TIE Fighter Attack" theme from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)]. It was first heard when the Millennium Falcon is chased by TIE Fighters after Obi Wan's death, and was later reprised in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) when Lando pilots the Falcon into the second Death Star, while also being chased by TIE Fighters. In The Last Jedi, the theme returns when Chewbacca flies the Falcon in the caverns underneath Crait, while also being chased by TIE Fighters.
Although not shown in the movie, the book "Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary" reveals that, to honor Han Solo, members of the Resistance wrote down messages on the proton bombs used in the opening battle against the First Order. The messages included phrases like "Han says hi" and "Hi Snoke"
In the previous trilogies, there is a trend in the second film of each trilogy to have a character lose a limb by a lightsaber. Most people believe that this was excluded from The Last Jedi, but it was actually included. When Kylo Ren turns against Snoke and ignites the lightsaber that kills Snoke, the lightsaber cuts throughout Snokes torso and arms. Thusly, Snoke encounters the "limb loss" in a less than noticeable way, keeping in the tradition.
In May 2018, it was rumored that one of the characters from the original expanded universe Mara Jade would be in Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) and that she would be revealed as Rey's mother and that JJ Abrams was looking for an actress 40 - 45 years old for the role. In this film, Kylo Ren tells Rey that her parents were junkers and they sold Rey to Unkar Plutt for drinking money. However, it could be possible Kylo Ren may had lied to Rey and that there's something else about Rey's parents Kylo Ren is hiding from her. In the original expanded universe, Mara Jade was a Force sensitive loyal agent and assassin of Emperor Palpatine who swore vengeance upon Luke Skywalker, whom she blamed for the Emperor's death, now aware that it was Darth Vader who killed the Emperor. But, Mara Jade fell in love with him and married him and became a Jedi master.
The climax, in which Rey and Kylo Ren are brought before Snoke, parallels both the climax of Return of the Jedi and the beginning of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). In the latter, Kylo Ren's grandfather Anakin Skywalker kills Count Dooku, while in this film, Ren kills Snoke. Dooku and Snoke were played by Christopher Lee and Andy Serkis, who appeared together in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films.
The first main saga Star Wars film to rely on flashbacks (in the case of Luke's attempt on Ben Solo's life.) The Force Awakens contains visions of the past but no actual flashbacks of characters' memories.
When Luke Skywalker flashes back to his attempt to kill Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) it harkens back to Star Wars: Rebels S2 E17 "Shroud of Darkness." In that episode, Kanan Jarrus has a vision in the Jedi Temple in Lothal. He encounters a temple guard who tells him that Ezra Bridger is too powerful, will be enticed by the dark side, and must be destroyed.
When Finn and Rose run away by the Canto Bight's beach mounted on a fathier, can be seen on the night horizon a big white moon and a smaller red moon. It's a nod for the short-lived TV series Otherworld (1985) about a family lost in another dimension, where at the end of the opening credits can be seen a big white moon and a smaller red moon.