The heroes of The Force Awakens are going to be pushed to their limits in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With Rey on a remote planet training under the guidance of Luke Skywalker and Finn and Poe aiding the Resistance against the First Order, things never seemed like they were going to come easily in the highly-anticipated sequel. Though Episode VIII promises to be a very different kind of episode for the classic saga, there are some obvious parallels to The Empire Strikes Back. As the middle chapter in the original trilogy, Empire presented the protagonists with a wide variety of challenges, allowing the filmmakers to flesh them out further as they dealt with their situations.

Fans recently got their first look at The Last Jedi, which only hinted at what’s in store for the future. Through the brief glimpses of footage and remarks by writer/director Rian Johnson, it’s clear that the main characters’ backs are going to be up against the wall as they deal with a vengeful First Order and a mythical figure who doesn’t quite live up to preconceived notions. Just like in Empire, audiences are going to learn more about the new generation’s big three along the way, as Johnson peels back some extra layers.

In an interview with The Guardian, Oscar Isaac explained the approach to the returning players, revealing that their various shortcomings will be highlighted over the course of the new movie:

“The characters that you know already: their specific character flaws or their weaknesses get tested. And out of that, I think, you get to see a bit more of who they are. The best way to learn about somebody is to see them in a crisis.”

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These statements echo similar comments Isaac made last year, when he said that everyone will “get tested immensely,” so it will be interesting to see how that all comes to be. Specific details are of course being kept under wraps, but some aspects have been revealed thus far. In particular, Finn is going to have to decide “what side he’s on,” meaning his loyalties could be called into question. Granted, John Boyega mentioned the bromance between the former FN-2187 and Poe Dameron continues to bloom, so Finn could be torn between two factions within the Resistance, as opposed to reconsidering the First Order. As for Rey, she should have some fascinating experiences of her own as Luke teaches her the ways of the Force and she struggles to find the proper balance. Skywalker’s methods aren’t going to be the same as Yoda’s (the Force is “so much bigger” now), so time will tell what the young scavenger has to learn.

Between this and Isaac’s tease of a “pretty intense” scene featuring Carrie Fisher, it sounds like The Last Jedi is going to be a character-driven piece that contains as much compelling drama as it does big-budget spectacle. With someone like Johnson at the helm, this isn’t surprising, since the director has made a name for himself crafting hard-hitting works that place the characters in uncompromising and difficult places. His handling of the material is shaping up to be surprising (in a good way), and ideally it will continue the hot streak Star Wars has been on since the Disney acquisition.

MORE: Why the First Order Will Win The Last Jedi

Source: The Guardian

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