As tempting as it might have been to turn Star Wars: The Force Awakens into a nostalgia trip giving Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia another adventure to go on together, director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan decided to focus on the new generation of heroes and villains that would carry the franchise moving forward. Episode VII introduced a collection of fresh faces, many of whom quickly became fan-favorites. One of the film's strongest characters was the villain Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver.
A Dark Side user feeling the "pull of the light," Kylo's inner turmoil and conflict made him one of the most compelling figures in the entire franchise. His arc in The Force Awakens was dark and emotional, capped off by him murdering his father, Han Solo. Fans can't wait to see Kylo return in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, and Driver remains very gracious for being part of something so substantial.
The actor was at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he was interviewed by the Toronto Sun. Of course, the topic of the galaxy far, far away came up, and Driver explained why he felt like he "lucked out" with Star Wars:
“I’d much rather do movies with great directors for nothing, but I also feel in the franchise world I lucked out. On the first one, J.J. [Abrams] was directing, and on the most recent one, Rian Johnson was directing. So, the type of horror stories I’ve heard about typical Hollywood blockbuster franchises, I can’t relate to any of that, because the people in charge, the directors I’ve been lucky enough to work with at this point, have a very specific vision.
“They’re all about breaking it into moments, and solving those moments, and that leads to the next moment. So even though the scale of it is bigger, it’s not really different from working on anything smaller. Other than, maybe the catering is better."
The Star Wars movies are obviously well-known for their extensive visual effects work, but one of the reasons why the series has been a touchstone of popular culture for nearly 40 years is the smaller character moments that stick with the audience. Kylo had several of his own in Force Awakens, such as communing with Darth Vader's helmet. Even Han's death scene, while a monumental sequence, felt intimate due to it being an interaction between father and son. The Resistance's assault on Starkiller base made for fun genre thrills, but most people walking away remembering Ben Solo being torn apart or Rey calling Luke's lightsaber with the Force. Those moments make Star Wars what it is today.
That Driver is praising the work of Abrams and Johnson is no surprise, but the wording of his quote is rather interesting. Since he doesn't elaborate, viewers are left to debate what "horror stories" he's heard from people who work on other Hollywood tentpoles. This year, Suicide Squad was plagued with reports of studio interference as Warner Bros. dealt with the fallout of Batman V Superman's mixed reception. From the sound of it, Lucasfilm irons out a clear cut plan before the cameras start rolling and allows the filmmakers to carry it out to the best of their ability. Granted, the flurry of rumors regarding the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story reshoots caused some to be alarmed, but Driver is talking about his own experiences on the saga films.
For all intents and purposes, Episode VII was a monumental success, earning much critical praise and shattering multiple box office records. From the get-go, the bar for Star Wars 8 was set very high, and Johnson is under a tremendous amount of pressure to keep the forward momentum rolling. Fans still have a ways to wait, but based on what everyone is saying, there's certainly reason to be encouraged. Chances are, next December will mark another memorable journey to the famed Star Wars galaxy.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Toronto Sun