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Star Wars: The Force Awakens certainly had a great deal in common with the original Star Wars film, in terms of plot and structure. It turns out that the sequel, Star Wars: Episode VIII will also have some things in common with that film's sequel, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, though not necessarily in the same way. According to Adam Driver, the thing that makes Episode VIII similar to Empire is the way it makes a complete tonal shift away from its predecessor.
It's similar to how The Empire Strikes Back has a different tone. For that people always go 'oooh, it's dark,' but I don't know that it necessarily is. It's just different in tone in a way that I think is great and necessary but also very clear. He trusts [that] his audience is ready for nuance and ambiguity. He's not dumbing anything down for someone and that's really fun to play.
While most viewers seemed to love Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was certainly a vocal contingent that felt the movie was simply too close to the original and didn't try anything new. Adam Driver's comments to Collider are probably good news, regardless of which side of this fence you fall on. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is generally viewed as the best of the original Star Wars trilogy. While the Kylo Ren actor seems to discount the idea that Star Wars: Episode VIII will go dark in the same way that Empire did, fans who didn't care for The Force Awakens will likely be glad to hear that the new film will make a significant shift in tone away from that movie. This also isn't bad news if you liked The Force Awakens. Even if the tonal shift isn't the same as the one between A New Hope and Empire, a sequel that was too close in tone to Force Awakens wouldn't be true to the original films either.
Director Rian Johnson is known for being a writer as much, if not more so, than he is known for being a director. As the man responsible for the screenplay to Star Wars: Episode VIII, many movie fans are very interested to see what the man behind Looper has in store for the Star Wars franchise. Nuance isn't exactly something that Star Wars is known for, and yet, we're very interested to see what that means for the galaxy far, far away.
However, if you were specifically looking for a "darker" take on Star Wars, it sounds like that might not be happening. Is a story with "nuance and ambiguity" an acceptable replacement, or is a darker Episode VIII the movie we all need? Let us know what this does to your excitement level for more Star Wars in the comments below.