Rian Johnson Talks About Star Wars Episode VIII

Director Rian Johnson speaks with USA Today about themes in Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Not much has been revealed so far for Star Wars: Episode VIII (not even the official title).  We’ll likely get a huge rush of info in the coming months after Rogue One had it’s fun in the sun, or at the very latest we’ll get details and probably a trailer at the Star Wars Celebration in April.  However, director Rian Johnson performed some interviews this week and provided insight about the general themes that will be explored this time around.

In an interview with USA Today (via Collider), Johnson spoke about The Force Awaken’s cliffhanger ending and how Episode VIII will begin right where that one left off.

“Remember that Star Wars: The Force Awakens cliffhanger with new heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) bringing Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) his old lightsaber on a remote intergalactic island? Writer/director Rian Johnson is picking up right where they left off in the beginning of the Star Wars saga’s still-untitled next chapter. “I don’t want to skip ahead two years,” Johnson says. “I want to see the very next moment of what happens.” How Rey and Luke relate to each other is the key relationship in Episode VIII, and Johnson says “a large part of the movie” will be spent addressing why Luke’s there and what he’ll do next. Like Luke, Rey has been pulled into a bigger world by connecting with the Force, “but part of what’s she’s dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift,” Johnson adds. “She’s taking her first step to coming to terms with this thing inside her that she never knew was there and is just starting to reveal its potential.” Another cliffhanger: How General Leia might figure in the film in light of Carrie Fisher’s death last month.”

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It’s expected that a major plot point of this film will be Rey’s relationship with Luke.  He went on to address Rey’s expectations as she approached Luke at the conclusion of TFA.

“Both not knowing what’s going to happen and also having a lot of expectations in her head about how this is going to go. It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives.”

While spending a full movie with the new bit trio of the Star Wars universe, Rey, Finn and Poe, we still don’t know much about their backstories.  Johnson went on to state that exploring who they are and what challenges them was particularly interesting to him in this film (USA Today via Variety).

“I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. Figure out what’s the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now — let’s throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.”

“I want it to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.”

The backstory that interests most fans following Episode VIII is Rey’s.  Who are her parents and how is she so ridiculously powerful with minimal training?  It was shown that she was abandoned at a young age so how is it that she managed to master the Jedi mind trick, could force grab a lightsaber, and was able to defeat a semi-experienced (albeit injured) Kylo Ren?  The most wide-held theory is she’s the daughter of Luke, but there has been speculation that she could be related to Obi-Wan, the reincarnation of Anakin or even the reincarnation of the very First Jedi.  Regardless of what direction they go in, this will be a significant reveal and a theme that director Johnson stated is “a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this.”

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Nothing groundbreaking, but at least it’s good to hear that we’re going to get some answers in Episode VIII.  I’ll keep you informed as soon as I learn any new information about the upcoming Star Wars films.

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