Acting for Two: Mark Hamill is spotted credited as one of the long list of minor characters. Specifically, he voices Dobbu Scay, the diminutive alien who mistakes BB-8 for a slot machine in Canto Bight.
Rian Johnson stated that Rose Tico was originally written to be a "grumpy, Eeyore type", but when Kelly Marie Tran was cast, Johnson liked her upbeat, optimistic attitude and so reworked Rose's personality around Tran's own.
The criticism of the Jedi Order as an ineffective, hypocritical religious Order has long existed within the fandom and Star Wars Legends ever since the prequels. Here, Luke said as much about the Jedi and even Yoda admits their failures. Several of Luke's comments seem incredibly similar to Kreia's from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Specifically, that the Jedi don't have a monopoly on wisdom or understanding of the Force, and being able to use the Force doesn't automatically make one a superior being. This is shown in Kylo being one of the most unstable and psychotic Star Wars villains yet seen.
Kylo Ren's desperate attempt to look as cool as Vader in the first film was exaggerated to full on Emo Teen in the fandom, and he wears a Vader-like cape in his first scene in The Last Jedi. Here, Snoke refers to Kylo as "a child in a mask", on par with the fans, and overtly mocked him by saying he should "take that ridiculous thing off." Kylo, in a fit of rage, destroys the mask (along with part of the elevator he's in) and spends the remainder of the film without it, and doesn't wear the cape anymore until the very end of the film.
Erik Bauersfeld, the voice of Admiral Ackbar, died of natural causes in April 2016 during filming. Ackbar is thus voiced by Tom Kane, who has been voicing him for years in the cartoons, video games, and theme park attractions.
Jesús Barrero, the Latin American Spanish voice for Luke, was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2015 and subsequently died from complications caused by it on February 17, 2016, only a few months after completing his work on his final film, The Force Awakens. His nephew Víctor Covarrubias voiced Luke in the trailer, and Beto Castillo (who voiced the titular character in Doctor Strange (2016)) voiced him in the film proper.
Rather fittingly, the reveal of Rey's parentage was subject to this as a lot of people seem to remember Kylo telling it to her, when she actually says it herself when he prods her to say what she's always known. Probably not coincidentally, the first version would be a lot easier to retcon away with the viewer's preferred parents for her by just having him be lying about it (although vague recollections of her childhood aren't exactly ironclad either).
Contrary to what the various memes might tell you, Luke doesn't say "The sacred texts!" when Yoda seemingly destroys the ancient Jedi scriptures, but "The sacred Jedi texts!"
Zig Zagged with Mark Hamill. Before the film's release, he stated in multiple interviews that he had disagreed with Rian Johnson's take on Luke Skywalker, at one point telling him "I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you've made for this character". He later came around to appreciate the changes and the way they pushed him out of his comfort zone, and publicly regretted voicing these opinions due to how they were taken out of context. One specific example he gave was the scene where Luke stands over Ben with a lightsaber. He was initially uncomfortable with it, before realizing it was the equivalent of Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act.
Dear Negative Reviewer: Rian Johnson has had a less-than-stellar opinion of fans who didn't like The Last Jedi, frequently calling them "manbabies," and sharing a study that claimed most of the online backlash to the film came from said Russian bots.
Deleted Role: The much-ballyhooed cameos by Princes Harry and William ended up being cut from the theatrical release, as did another one from Tom Hardy (which, as a fully suited Stormtrooper, would have been yet another role where his face is covered up).
Finn was originally going to be introduced not in his bacta suit, but instead as one of Paige Tico's co-gunners, even re-enacting his opening scene from The Force Awakens, with her putting a bloody handprint over his heart. Johnson changed his mind in part because of the subtext and conflict it would introduce to Finn and Rose's relationship.
On Snoke's ship, Finn runs into a stormtrooper (Tom Hardy) he served with. However, the man assumes Finn has been promoted to an officer (due to his stolen uniform) and congratulates him. It shows how the First Order has hushed up Finn's defection for morale.
Following Rose and Finn's captures and DJ's betrayal, Hux walks up to and belittles Rose and her homeworld, taunting her for her futile struggle against the First Order. Rose simply answers by biting his finger. Taken aback, Hux angrily orders Rose and Finn's executions and leaves the scene.
An extended version of Finn's battle with Phasma would have had him be cornered on a ledge by stormtroopers after smashing her helmet. When she gloats that he was a fool for betraying the First Order, Finn reveals that she was the one who shut down Starkiller Base's defences to save her own life. Phasma kills the stormtroopers in a fit of paranoia, but gets her hand cut off before she can shoot Finn and is shot in the chest with a plasma cannon, sending her flying off the ledge.
During the Battle of Crait, the Millenium Falcon tries to fly back to the outpost's front gate following the Aerial Canyon Chase, but upon seeing [the fleet of AT-ATs and AT-M6s constantly firing on Luke, Rey decides it's better to land elsewhere.
According to Mark Hamill, there was meant to be a scene of Luke grieving Han, but was cut. (And that while he was okay with it since scenes get cut all the time, he did question why the scene of Luke milking a Thala-siren made it in.)
Executive Meddling: The much-ridiculed "Leia Poppins" scene came about because Kathleen Kennedy told Rian Johnson that she wanted to see Leia use force powers other than her mental connection to those close to her.
Johnson was at first a fan of the Plinkett Reviews series, even mentioning that he was a fan of the reviews of the prequels. However after the review itself dropped and provided savage commentary on it, he was much colder and apathetic towards it, claiming he didn't care for it.
God Never Said That: Mark Hamill stated a few times that he had serious reservations about Luke's story upon reading the script, but quickly grew to embrace it once filming actually started. A good portion of the film's haters took to conveniently dropping the second part of that and claiming he hates the film, until Hamill was driven to say he regretted ever bringing the issue up and not mince any words in calling it an "all time great" film.
A few fans suspected that Kylo Ren would follow in his grandfather's footsteps and betray Snoke.
More than a few were skeptical when they heard Luke's intention to end the Jedi, given how much of a cornerstone they have been to the franchise. Sure enough, Luke's arc is completed when he learns that their previous failures aren't a reason to end the Jedi Order, but a chance to build a better one.
Some fans had hazarded that Rey isn't related to the Skywalkers, Solos, or anyone of significance, and were proven right.
Many fans had already guessed that Kylo and Rey had forged a Force Bond after the first film. Sure enough.... though it wasn't actually their doing.
Rey and Kylo Ren's relationship being developed more in this film, to the point of Kylo asking Rey to rule the galaxy with him, in a manner not too dissimilar to Vader's offer to Padmé in Revenge of the Sith.
There are at least few fans who believe that Rey's "I need someone to show my place in all this" isn't actually spoken to Kylo Ren. They were right, as it's spoken to Luke Skywalker when she asks him to teach the ways of the Force. The scene where Kylo extends his hand to Rey (which happens after the fight with Snoke's Praetorian Guards) still has the similar context that the trailer suggested, however.
Basically, check out anything in the "Confirmed" section of the Wild Mass Guesses tab for this movie, and you've got an example of this.
Mark Hamill's comments about the sense of importance Luke bestowed on Kylo Ren's training led some fans to speculate that Kylo was the real "chosen one" of Jedi prophecy and not his grandfather. Word of God later chimed in that Anakin/Vader was still The Chosen One of the prophecy of the Prequel Trilogy, and that Luke's line of thinking refers to an entirely different point of view altogether.
Rey isn't Luke's daughter, nor has she relation to any other main character like Obi-Wan or Palpatine. Kylo says that Rey's parents were "nobodies" who sold her off on Jakku for alcohol.
Combined with I Knew It!, because it depends on how you saw it: in the prequel trilogy, when Yoda absorbed and/or redirected lightning attacks, some believed it meant he could use lightning, which is typically considered a dark side power. Others believed he was just redirecting what was used against him. Well, whatever you believed before, the question of whether or not Yoda can conjure up lightning has been definitively answered!
Meme Acknowledgement: Shortly after The Force Awakens came out, webcomic artists thought it would be funny to have Luke train Rey by pretending to be Yoda (almost always by making Rey carry him on her back). Mark Hamill thought it was funny, too, judging by this tweet.
Milestone Celebration: The film marked the 40th Anniversary of the Star Wars Saga, though it was originally intended to premiere closer to the release date of the original film (see "What Could Have Been" below). The film logo is even red, fitting of a ruby jubilee. It was also released the year of the 85th birthday of franchise composer John Williams.
Missing Trailer Scene: The scene of Rey charging across Ahch-To, lightsaber ignited, is not in the film, being part of the deleted scene about the third lesson. She does attack Luke with the saber in a moment of rage, but her hair is down as opposed to in buns, and the angle is completely different.
Due to original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew's health issues, Joonas Suotamo already did all of Chewie's action scenes in The Force Awakens, and in this movie Suotamo fully replaces Mayhew.
Besides the already mentioned switch regarding Luke's voice in the Latin American dub, Yoda is voiced, bizarrely enough, by Guilherme Briggs, Yoda's Brazilian Portuguese voice actor, rather than Arturo Mercado, his voice actor since the very original trilogy.
The same example from above but for the European Spanish dub, Yoda was voiced by Ángel Amorós as in Rebels, as most of Yoda's actors have died including Ricardo Palmerola, the actor that voiced him in the prequel trilogy and other media such as The Clone Wars. Oddly enough Amorós served as the replacement for Jordi Royo, who also voices Mace Windu and was Palmerola's substitute in The Clone Wars, because Rebels was recorded in Madrid rather than in Barcelona where most Star Wars's main media were recorded.
In a similar way in the Japanese dub, Yoda is voiced by Yohei Tadano, replacing the late Ichirō Nagai and reprising that role from Star Wars Rebels.
Due to the death of Erik Bauersfield in early 2016, Admiral Ackbar is voiced by Tom Kane, cementing Kane's place as the de facto voice of Ackbar (Kane had been voicing Ackbar in media such as the Battlefront reboot series and the LEGO spin-offs).
Playing Against Type: Adrian Edmondson, most famous for spending most of The '80s kicking Rik Mayall in the goolies to great comedic effect, appears as General Hux's competent, understated and strait-laced adjutant. Granted, the man has immense acting chops (while The Last Jedi is screening, he is playing Malvolio in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Twelfth Night), but the contrast is still jarring.
Reality Subtext: The fact that Rey was just a nobody up until this point also reminds us of the fact that Daisy Ridley was just a Hollywood nobody until this franchise.
Recycled Premise: Finn's storyline, on paper, is the same one that he had in The Force Awakens — he's someone that wants to run away from the war and gets sucked into a mission before he can do that. The key difference is that it has a separate function in each movie; while in the previous film, Finn was learning to fight for someone else, The Last Jedi gives him reason to fight for a higher cause.
Serendipity Writes the Plot: The Porgs were created because the puffins on Skellig Michael (where the scenes on Ach-To were filmed) kept getting in the shots, and because puffins were an indigenous, endangered species the crew were forbidden from removing them. Rian Johnson came up with the idea of digitally replacing them with a science-fictional equivalent because he liked the idea that the island would have its own native species.
When Finn tells him he's wrong after DJ betrays the Resistance, DJ's response was written as something like "wrong and rich". Instead, Benicio Del Toro enigmatically replied "Maybe", which was kept because it in perfectly with the amoral and ambiguous nature of DJ's character. It was also his idea that DJ would take Rose's necklace as collateral but return it to her later, helping to convince the audience that maybe he wasn't all that bad.
Some sources have reported that the gag when General Hux pulls out his sidearm on an unconscious Kylo Ren, only to put it back in his coat when Ren wakes up was an ad-lib by Domnhall Gleeson. Gleeson has confirmed that it was at least his idea.
Mark Hamill has stated that Luke kissing Leia's forehead was spontaneous and unscripted.
Early script ideas involved Luke being blind, but this was ultimately decided against. It should be noted that this was before Rogue One decided to use a similar concept with Chirrut. And funnily enough, Mark Hamill plays a blind character in Season 2 of Trollhunters, which was released the very same day.
Gugu Mbatha Raw and Tatiana Maslany were both in the running for roles in the film, but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts (or the roles in question being excised from the film altogether). This is actually not the first time that Maslany ran into this issue with a Star Wars movie.
Lando Calrissian was going to be Finn and Rose's contact at the casino (note Maz talking up the guy without giving his name like it's going to be some big reveal), until the crew considered that having Billy Dee Williams return just to completely fail in his mission would be an insult to the character, and that Lando would never betray the Rebellion a second time after his character development in The Empire Strikes Back.
Obi-Wan was considered to appear as a Force ghost. This was removed as the only version of Obi-Wan Luke has interacted with is Alec Guinness', who is long dead by now, and Johnson felt that having Luke interact with Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan would have felt too weird.
The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi details a few variations of the laundry room scene where Finn, Rose, and DJ get their disguises. In one, the trio encounter a group of Stormtroopers only to realize they are empty suits of armor on a clothing conveyor belt. Another would have had them follow a lint trail to the laundry room.
According to the art book, Finn and Rose were going to break into a store in Canto Bight and steal a tux and gown, with a She Cleans Up Nicely effect for Rose in her dress and Finn having his tux on backwards. That idea was scrapped in favor of the two sticking with their Resistance gear. In early drafts, they were also going to meet the Master Codebreaker in the cabaret room, be taken along for a quest to retrieve a MacGuffin from a warlord, and be arrested on the casino's rooftop.
Also in the art book, Luke was going to be visited by a Sith Force Ghost while meditating in his hut on Ahch-To with the Sith being described as an "all-powerful Sith Lord who ruled over the Dark Side of the Force from the Afterlife" and was also described to be "pulling Snoke's strings" from behind the scenes.
At the start of the writing process, the crew laid out a spreadsheet of absolutely every possible answer to Rey's parentage they could think of, no matter how likely it was to actually be used. This included her actually being some kind of super advanced droid.
Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Zig-Zagged. Rian Johnson has admitted there were no payoffs planned for the setups in The Force Awakens, that he had to resolve them, and that his payoffs could be undone by J. J. Abrams next film; however, the plot line of Luke training Rey at the first Jedi temple comes from one of George Lucas' ideas for Episode VII, Johnson consulted the Lucasfilm Story Group to ensure his story fit within the canon, and Daisy Ridley says that as far as she knows, there actually is a general consensus on the main lines of the trilogy, each author just realizes it in his own way. She also adds that Johnson and Abrams did meet to discuss things and that Abrams expressedenthusiasm towards Johnson's script.