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Disney has certainly brought a whole lot of firsts to the table with the Star Wars franchise since Lucasfilm’s acquisition a few years ago. The recent release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story saw the first non-saga Star Wars film hit theaters, and that’s only a small harbinger of things to come. Not only is Star Wars changing as a franchise, but there were bound to be some big changes to the saga films as well.

Perhaps the biggest impending change is set to come from director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Episode VIII. In the past, it was flat-out confirmed that unlike every other saga film, Episode VIII would, in fact, pick up exactly where the last film left off. In the past, there were at least months in between pictures, and in the prequel trilogy, there were years that spanned in between each movie, all of which helped to increase the epic scale of the tale being told. While this changeup is definitely a big deal — in that it sets quite a precedence for future flicks — it certainly makes sense.

If you’ll recall, Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw Rey holding out a lightsaber to a mute Luke Skywalker, who had likely spent years standing on that hilltop, waiting for Rey to show up. But what would he have to say? We didn’t get a chance to hear. Not to see the very next moment would be quite the kick in the balls to audience members, and Johnson seems to understand that. Speaking with USA Today, the director expressed why he wrote the film to pick up directly after The Force Awakens, and also gave us some key insight into the crux of Rey’s journey in the upcoming film:

“I don’t want to skip ahead two years. I want to see the very next moment of what happens.” How Rey and Luke relate to each other is the key relationship in Episode VIII, and Johnson says “a large part of the movie” will be spent addressing why Luke’s there and what he’ll do next. Like Luke, Rey has been pulled into a bigger world by connecting with the Force, “but part of what’s she’s dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift,” Johnson adds. “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.”

Given Johnson’s repertoire of work that boasts a much smaller scale, one has to wonder if we can expect a similarly more intimate film with Episode VIII, one that takes care to really delve into the characters. Admittedly, this would be another departure from the saga, which has a huge emphasis on spectacle, so I can imagine Disney wouldn’t allow this flick to become a typical talkie sci-fi film more in love with its ideas than its sense of fun, but there is a bit of a “wild card” element that Johnson brings to the mix.

What do you think of these first plot details? What other unexpected things do you think Johnson will bring to the table for this second leg in the sequel trilogy? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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SOURCE: USA Today (via /Film)