I've said it many times, but- to me- Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a table-setter. It introduced us to new characters, surrounded them with enough spectacle and "classic Star Wars" trappings to keep things moving, and it laid the groundwork for Episodes VIII and IX to really flesh things out. While certain impatient fans were unable to see all of the seeds that were planted in The Force Awakens, and instead have labeled Rey a "Mary Sue" and Kylo Ren a "whiny b*tch," a great many of us saw the potential for so much more from these characters.
Rian Johnson counts himself as a part of the latter group.
While discussing what he wanted to do with Star Wars: Episode VIII after seeing where The Force Awakens left its new protagonists, here's what the writer-director told Varity about his goals for the next film in the new trilogy:
"I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. 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."
He also says that he's "approaching it with a take that I hope feels honest and real and is going to be interesting to folks and make sense."
Johnson also opened up about the dynamic between one of our new heroes and the hero of the Original Trilogy: Luke Skywalker.
While discussing what the bond between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke (Mark Hamill) is like, he said they're going to form a special connection throughout the film with "both not knowing what’s going to happen and also [Rey] having a lot of expectations in her head about how this is going to go." Johnson added, "It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives." This echoes statements from yesterday's report, about Rey's arc.
As for the big mystery of Rey's parentage, Johnson says it's "a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this."
What's cool about that last statement is that it seemingly confirms that the mystery will be resolved within Episode VIII and won't be dragged on into Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars: Episode IX.