Luke Skywalker didn’t get to say much of anything when he made his return to the Star Wars franchise in The Force Awakens, but that will change in Episode 8.
Director Rian Johnson told USA Today he was planning to use Luke as an emotional entry point for the film. He added that “What’s going on with Luke Skywalker?” is the main question asked in the movie.
“I’m approaching it with a take that I hope feels honest and real and is going to be interesting to folks and make sense,” Johnson said.
The director also hinted at what Force Awakens fans should expect out of Rey’s continuing story. At the end of the last film, Rey had embarked on a mission to track down Skywalker and return his lightsaber to him. In Episode 8, Johnson said he really wants to focus on the familial themes that were introduced in The Force Awakens but never really investigated. He added it was an important part of her character’s setup and something that he wanted to explore more in-depth.
In terms of the film’s tone, Johnson’s comments seem to contradict what star Adam Driver said last year. Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, told Collider in September that Episode 8 felt like Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, but Johnson’s new comments seem to imply the film will have more in common with the original Star Wars and The Force Awakens.
“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,” Johnson said.
The director confirmed they have a name for the movie, one that he came up with while writing the first draft, but can’t reveal anything about it at this time. The official title for the movie is expected to be announced at Star Wars Celebration in April.
Star Wars: Episode 8 will be released on Dec. 15, 2017.