Even though Harrison Ford will be out nearly two months due to his ankle injury, Star Wars: Episode VII must go on — as must the rumor mill. Now, some possible details are surfacing as to who will be hassling Luke, Leia, Han, their new pals and, presumably, the galaxy.
The rumors come from Making Star Wars, who says they can't verify the rumors themselves, but that they do come from people actually working on the film in England's Pinewood Studios.
The villains are being called "Jedi Hunters."
The villains are said to be characterized by black and chrome with troopers in similar black and chrome uniforms. They're very imperial, but very new. My sense is these guys are like General Grievous' Magna Guards from Revenge of the Sith (my analogy not from a source).
Supposedly the "Jedi Hunters" or Inquisitors (from the sound of things) are the reason there is no New Republic after Return of the Jedi. That's right, they're saying there is no New Republic. Source #2 claims to have been on set for a sequence in which we learn the Jedi Hunters worship the Sith and want to resurrect them. Their mandate was to protect the Sith at all costs and insure their survival.
Supposedly Lupita Nyong'o, Adam Driver, and David Oyelowo will be playing these villains; Oyelowo is particularly noteworthy in that he's voicing the villain named the Inquisitor in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon, set between the two trilogies, and his character sounds a great deal like these Jedi Hunters. So will he be playing the same character he voices despite the time difference? Will the Rebels cartoon be that tied to the movies?
More importantly, it sounds like Episode VIII is going to try to match The Empire Strikes Back for bummer-ness:
This source also believes Luke Skywalker has been fighting to stop this for the last thirty years of his life, but he is outnumbered, tired, and in need of help. The bad guys have a goal: The resurrection of the Sith and it "sounds like it happens in the next film" meaning Episode VIII and "I guess they kill him (said resurrected Sith) in IX."
There's a lot more speculation — both well-reasoned and interesting — over at Making Star Wars, and well worth checking out. If this all happens to be true, I think that's fine, but I have to admit I'm less than thrilled about the idea of Luke dying. I don't really want to replace Luke's happy ending from RotJ with him getting old and pulling an Obi-Wan for the next generation. What do you all think?