STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII Director Rian Johnson on the Luke/Rey Relationship
Star Wars: The Force Awakens caught up with the heroes of the original Star Wars trilogy more than 30 years later, with the beloved leads passing the torch to a trio of new adventurers: Force-sensitive scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), dissenting former First Order Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and skilled Resistance pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac). Grizzled space pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) got more screen time than Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who Rey tracked down just moments before film’s end.
Luke didn’t get to speak in The Force Awakens, but the director of Episode VIII, Rian Johnson, tells USA Today how Rey and Luke relate to each other is the key relationship in the saga’s eighth episode. “I don’t want to skip ahead two years. I want to see the very next moment of what happens,” says Johnson, reconfirming that Episode VIII starts where The Force Awakens left off. “A large part of the movie” will reportedly be spent addressing why Luke lives on the solitary planet of Ahch-to (real life filming location of Ireland’s Skellig Michael) and what the exiled Jedi will do next.
Mirroring Luke’s own journey of self (and Force) discovery, Rey has been pulled into a bigger world by establishing a bond with the all-surrounding Force, “but part of what she’s dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift,” Johnson shares. “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.”
Johnson’s film may have to – at least in part – address the loss of Leia Organa actress Carrie Fisher, who passed away last month. Fisher completed filming on Episode VIII last summer, but Leia was expected to have an even larger role come Episode IX, with director Colin Trevorrow meeting with Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm to work out the best means of moving forward in light of Fisher’s death. Star Wars: Episode VIII has yet to announce its subtitle, a revelation likely to come time of Star Wars Celebration in April. The next installment of the legendary Star Wars saga arrives December 15th.