As production continues on Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII, the famous Star Wars rumor mill is starting to heat up with new tidbits about the saga's latest chapter. Recently, a supposed breakdown of an action sequence involving the Knights of Ren made its way online, and it's becoming more and more likely that Jedi Master Yoda makes some kind of an appearance in Star Wars 8. Though one well-known theory about villain Supreme Leader Snoke has been debunked, there's still plenty to speculate over.
No matter what pops up about the sequel, it's obvious that the cast and crew are keeping their lips sealed. Johnson even joked on Twitter that if the New York Times ran a report that said the opening text crawl would be in yellow font, he'd deny it. While those involved with Star Wars 8 aren't sharing many details thus far, the one thing they are at liberty to discuss is the film's tone. John Boyega has described Episode VIII as something "darker" and "bigger" than its predecessor, and now his co-star Oscar Isaac has followed suit.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the actor discussed Star Wars 8 and how the narrative impacts his Poe Dameron and the other characters. Offering that "there's a lot more to do" this time around, Isaac teases high personal stakes for the new heroes:
“In the new film, there’s a lot more to do. What happens now is the heroes get tested. All three of them [Dameron, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn] get tested immensely…BB-8 gets tested too! Everybody gets tested! It’s the dark second chapter, but not really dark.”
Isaac has mentioned that Episode VIII will go off and explore new ideas that haven't been touched upon in the franchise before, but it sounds like there will be thematic similarities between this installment and The Empire Strikes Back. That film put Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia through the wringer as they dealt with a variety of challenges, ending on a somber note. Given where Rey, Finn, and Poe are at the end of Force Awakens, it would be a natural next step in their journeys to be "tested immensely." It looks like Rey will be undergoing Jedi training with Luke on Ahch-To, but what the future holds for new best friends Finn and Poe remains to be seen. The conflict between the Resistance and the First Order is in an interesting place.
It's also nice to hear that Star Wars 8 won't be "really dark" despite going for a more serious feel. The films traditionally have found a balance between a variety of tones, and even Empire (seen by many as the "darkest" one) has several comedic moments. Keeping that well-roundedness intact for Episode VIII will go a long way in ensuring its success. With Johnson at the helm, a focus on drama is expected, but fans should also have a chance to laugh and enjoy themselves as well. Some tentpoles over the past few years have been criticized for being too dour, a trapping Star Wars 8 will seemingly avoid. If BB-8 is running around, things can't be all that bleak.
All in all, it sounds as if Episode VIII will be a worthy continuation of the stage J.J. Abrams set with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The rumors that have come out hint at an intriguing story that pushes the protagonists in exciting directions as they take their next steps into a larger world. Everyone keeps raving about Johnson's screenplay, and the filmmaker has built a great reputation through his work in TV and movies. Chances are he can deliver a compelling tale in a galaxy far, far away.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in 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, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Rolling Stone