After the incredible success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the follow-up Star Wars: Episode VIII has now become perhaps the most anticipated movie of all time, continuing this new trilogy set in a galaxy far, far away. Production has already wrapped, with director Rian Johnson starting work on editing the first cut last month. Today we have some new details from star Adam Driver. The actor had nothing but high praise for directors J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, comparing this next advanture to the classic Empire Strikes Back, perhaps the most beloved installment in the entire franchise.
Before starring as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Adam Driver was best known for his role on HBO's Girls and indie films like Inside Llewyn Davis and Frances Ha. While promoting his latest indie Paterson at the Toronto Film Festival, Adam Driver spoke with The Toronto Sun, where he revealed how lucky he was to land a franchise like Star Wars with these directors. Here's what he had to say.
"I'd much rather do movies with great directors for nothing, but I also feel in the franchise world I lucked out. On the first one, J.J. Abrams was directing, and on the most recent one, Rian Johson was directing. So, the type of horror stories I've heard about typical Hollywood blockbuster franchises, I can't relate to any of that, because the people in charge, the directors I've been lucky enough to work with at this point, have a very specific vision. They're all about breaking it into moments, and solving those moments, and that leads to the next moment. So even though the scale of it is bigger, it's not really different from working on anything smaller. Other than, maybe the catering is better. The amenities are better. But that doesn't work its way into the movie. No one is going to watch Star Wars and think, 'Oh! those guys got to stay in better trailers.'"
Despite its immense success, some fans have chastised Star Wars: The Force Awakens for being too similar to Star Wars: A New Hope, the film that started it all in 1977. There have been rumors that these similarities will continue, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) rumored to begin her Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), similar to how Luke started his training with Yoda in the second film of the original trilogy, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. In a separate interview with Collider, Adam Driver briefly discussed how Rian Johnson's script for Star Wars 8 is different than The Force Awakens, while comparing it to how Empire changed things following A New Hope.
"It's great. It's similar to how The Empire Strikes Back has a different tone. For that people always go 'oooh, it's dark' but I don't know that it necessarily is. It's just different in tone in a way that I think is great and necessary but also very clear. He trusts [that] his audience is ready for nuance and ambiguity. He's not dumbing anything down for someone and that's really fun to play."
While nothing has been confirmed about the story, there have been rumors that Rey wants to abandon her training with Luke Skywalker for now, so she can save her friends Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), who have reportedly been captured by Kylo Ren, in an effort to lure Rey out of hiding. That report was never confirmed, but it essentially does follow the same story line as Empire Strikes Back, where Luke himsef leaves his training with Yoda. When asked about working with Rian Johnson on this sequel, the actor had this to say.
"Maybe this is just me thinking of myself, but I'm surprised [because] in their shoes I'd be way more stressed out than [J.J. and Rian] seem to be. Rian is coming into something that we kind of set up and he just took it to the next level in a really great way. He wrote it, too, and Rian's writing is so clear. I learned a lot of things about my character through his writing. Some things we talked about before and some things we didn't. He was working on [the script] while we were still working on the first one. To understand what J.J. was doing and take ownership from there is kind of a remarkable thing. And he's the most polite, unassuming guy and he was appropriately territorial about some things but would still be the first to admit when something's not working. A lot of times you need to rise to understand what the script is, and perhaps I'm beginning to be unclear, but he's a great person to work with."
Star Wars: Episode VIII is set for release on December 15, 2017, where, unsurprisingly, it won't face any direct competition. With the post-production process well under way, it remains to be seen when the first trailer may arrive. The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived in late November 2014, more than a year before the movie hit theaters, so perhaps we'll see the first trailer for Star Wars 8 this November.