What Will 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Really Be Called?

Force Awakens Luke Screengrab - H 2017.
Is 'Star Wars: The Shadow of the Master Rises' too unwieldy?

Director Rian Johnson has revealed that his Star Wars: Episode VIII has had a title for a few years now — since his first draft of the film. And with the upcoming installment less than a year away, surely we are getting close to learning its title. But in the meantime, Heat Vision's Aaron Couch and Graeme McMillan are ready to speculate as to what it could be. Be warned: This is very geeky, even for us. 

Graeme McMillan: There's a formula for Star Wars titles, isn't there? Short, sharp and with a noun and a verb in there somewhere, normally. The Empire Strikes Back! The Force Awakens! The Return of the Jedi! I mean, it's not always the case — Revenge of the Sith doesn't really fit into that formula, and both A New Hope and The Phantom Menace really don't — but as a guide, it's a pretty helpful one, I think. So maybe the trick is to guess what the particular noun and verb are this time around.

Aaron Couch: Johnson loves one-word titles, from big-screen work Brick and Looper to his Breaking Bad episodes "Fly," "Fifty-One and "Ozymandias." How weird would it be if Star Wars had just one word after the colon? Star Wars: Redemption? No. Star Wars: Legacies? No! This is harder than it sounds. Scrap the one-word idea.

McMillan:  I thought about one-word titles as well, for the same reason, but it just feels weird, doesn't it? It feels too modern for Star Wars, and too terse. Shouldn't Star Wars titles be over the top in some manner?

Couch: If we're looking for nouns to focus on, as you suggested, Johnson has said this movie is very much about Luke and Rey, but I like the idea of giving a nod to Kylo Ren or the Dark Side in this title. 

McMillan:  Well,  Episode VIII is a middle chapter in its particular trilogy, which traditionally means things get worse and are flagged as such in the title. Attack of the Clones launched the Clone Wars, which ultimately put the pieces in place for the downfall of the Republic, and The Empire Strikes Back is pretty clear with its theme. Given that the idea of putting "The First Order" in a title feels unnecessarily clunky and long, what are we left with? "Sith"? "Kylo Ren"? Maybe I'm being too closed-minded, though — what if it's another "Jedi" title? We're too late for Fall of the Jedi, right?

Couch: Has Hollywood taught you nothing, Graeme? Clearly, The Rise of the Jedi is what it'll be called. (I was joking about that, but Google reminds me that was the rumored title for Episode VII.)

McMillan: Damn you, Aaron. Now I'm looking up internet-rumored titles for Episode VIII. Apparently, ones in the running include Tales of the Jedi Temple, The Order of the Dark Side, Echoes of the Dark Side and Forces of Destiny, with that last one apparently relating to a trademark application from Disney. (If I worked at Disney and was looking to troll the internet, I'd make trademark registrations for lots of fake titles, I admit.)

Couch: As far as having words like "Jedi," "Sith" or "Force" — I think those have to be ruled out. We've had seven titles without repeating nouns, so I think we can make it two more without doing that. 

McMillan: There's every possibility that we're overthinking things, of course.

Couch: Oh, we are.

McMillan: I mean, noticing that The Force Awakens follows the opening chapters of previous trilogies by being three words beginning with a definite article, but doesn't follow them by verb title (The Phantom Menace and A New Hope are, instead, both character descriptions) is just one step away from starting an inboard that connects random things with red string. But what if Episode VIII gets the character description role that first chapters normal get? But with four words? Somewhere, Kylo Ren is upset The Dark Knight Rises has already been used.

Couch: I'm going with Shadow of the Master ... once again proving why I'm not an award-winning screenwriter. Waiting for a title reveal is an unusual experience. It's only the rare film that can get me invested in waiting to hear the title months (or years) before it's announced. Some are so perfect that I think, "Ah, of course!" when I hear them (Logan, The Dark Knight, even Revenge of the Sith); others make you go, "Hmm, OK … this could be good" (The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man). Then there are the those that make it hard to keep hope, no matter how much you want the movie to work (I willed myself to believe a movie called Terminator: Genisys could be good). I'm guessing since Johnson has had this title since his first draft, Episode VIII will be in that first category.