Much like every other Hollywood sequel before it, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been billed as the dark second chapter in Lucasfilm’s rebooted trilogy.
But on the ground level, Rian Johnson’s follow-up also presents an exciting opportunity to delve deeper into many of our on-screen favorites, regardless of whether they find themselves on the dark side of the Force, or the light. Characters like Kylo Ren, Rey, Luke and Supreme Leader Snoke are all primed for major story arcs this December, and though Johnson inherited all of those key figures from J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens, Episode IX), the Looper director recently told USA Today that he fell in love with Rey and the gang in an instant.
By the looks of things, that new generation of heroes will spend most of The Last Jedi on opposite ends of the galaxy, as the war against the First Order begins to heat up. But here, after premiering a touching BTS featurette and an up-close peek at Luke’s abode, Rian Johnson warns of the dangers to come:
When I first read the script of The Force Awakens, I was like, ‘I feel like I know these characters instantly.’ And now we get to kind of put them through a meat grinder. [Laughs] And for me, part of that meant that we had to make things as hard on each of them as possible: At least part of the movie, they don’t have their friends around. They’ve got to figure things out for themselves. They’ve got to be faced with whatever the toughest thing each of them can be faced with, and they’re not going to have their buddy there next to them to get them out of it, necessarily.
Dark and difficult times lie ahead, then, and we’ll only learn the full extent of the Resistance’s plight once Star Wars: The Last Jedi zooms into theaters on December 15th.