Star Wars Episode VIII: Rian Johnson on the film’s story

Spoiler for the ending of Star Wars: The Force Awakens lies ahead

It’s finally started – a slow trickle of Star Wars Episode VIII details leading to the first trailer this spring. The next installment in the saga films arrives in December, which means that director Rian Johnson can start opening up a bit about the movie and the many questions it has to answer, namely Rey’s relationship to the hermitic Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Speaking to USA Today, Johnson shared some details about how Episode VIII will explore Luke and Rey’s relationship. He didn’t reveal anything groundbreaking, nothing we couldn’t have guessed ourselves, but it’s still great to hear that Rey and Luke will be the main focus of the film.

Johnson confirmed that the movie will start right where The Force Awakens left off – that is, at the moment Rey offers Luke his old lightsaber.

“I don’t want to skip ahead two years,” Johnson told USA Today. “I want to see the very next moment of what happens.”

It makes sense that such a massive cliffhanger needs a satisying payoff, which Johnson will hopefully provide by showing us what happens next instead of making a time jump – as is the Star Wars tradition.

Johnson also said that “a large part of the movie” will be spent exploring why Luke exiled himself on Ahch-To prior to the events of The Force Awakens. We already know that the Jedi Master had begun training a new Jedi Order before the Knights of Ren slaughtered all of his students. It is unclear if Luke went into exile right after his new Jedi Order fell or if he made an attempt to fight back. It’s also unclear if Ahch-To, where the first temple of the Jedi is located, serves some kind of ulterior motive for Luke beyond just exile.

Rey’s new Force abilities will also be addressed:

“[Rey is] 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 said.

Nothing too groundbreaking, but this does mark the beginning of more story details to come.