After working on the film for a long time now, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” director Rian Johnson is finally speaking about the next installment in the franchise’s main saga. The film is now in post-production for its December release, and Johnson has taken some time out to talk about his massive project. Johnson spoke with USA Today about “Episode VIII” — a film that does have a subtitle, one that’s been there since the very first draft, Johnson says. The title’s just not ready to be shared yet.
The filmmaker, known for his feature films “Brick” and “Looper,” says work on the film has “felt lie play” and that it feels “resonant and meaningful because it meant so much to me as a kid.” That sense of play has also purposefully made its way into the film itself. “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,” said Johnson.
The film will also dig deeper into the new trilogy’s trio of heroes, Rey, Poe and Finn. “I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory,” said Johnson. “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.”
When it comes to Rey, specifically, Johnson teased what lies ahead for her in the film. We already know that the film will pick up right where “The Force Awakens” left off, and that Rey is going into her meeting with Luke “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.” Johnson added that Rey’s journey will play into the saga’s theme of family, calling that “a huge part of especially Rey’s character, something that was a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this.”
This is the latest in a line of interviews with Johnson that have been released so far this week. In another USA Today interview, Johnson spoke about the time gap in-between “Force Awakens” and “Episode VIII.”
“I don’t want to skip ahead two years,” said Johnson. “I want to see the very next moment of what happens.” Additionally, Rey and Luke’s relationship will be “a large part of the movie” and the film will reveal why Luke’s there — and what he plans to do next.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and more, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” hits theaters December 15, 2017.