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Even though this new Star Wars trilogy launched by J.J. Abrams in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is shining a spotlight on classic characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the emphasis of the story will remain on Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her journey from peasant girl to galaxy-saving Jedi warrior. And Rian Johnson's upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII will continue that difficult journey for the actress and character, putting her in Skywalker's orbit so the exiled Jedi master can mentor yet another student... even though Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) turned on him. As Johnson recently said about Rey in his Star Wars sequel:
Part of what's she's dealing with is the realization that she has this power and this gift. She's taking her first step to coming to terms with this thing inside her that she never knew was there, and is just starting to reveal its potential.
You might say that there was... an awakening. And that awakening had to do with The Force coming to light in Rey in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What does Rey do with this newfound power? We know, from previous stories, that the challenge for any Force-sensitive being is to use that power for good, and to resist the temptations to turn to the Dark Side. That decision consumed everyone from Kylo Ren to Darth Vader. Knowing what Rey will experience, I'm willing to gamble that forces that want her power will come calling, and Luke may have to protect her with whatever he has left.
As for Luke Skywalker, Star Wars: Episode VIII director Rian Johnson also told USA Today that his movie will take place immediately after The Force Awakens specifically because he didn't want to "skip ahead two years. I want to see the very next moment of what happens." And he explained that Episode VIII will ,go a long way toward answering WHY Luke has chosen a life of isolation on the island chunk known as Ahch-to.
Now we just need a title. And a trailer! Or do we, really? Adam Driver told us exclusively that he's LOVE for Star Wars: Episode VIII to come to theaters without a teaser trailer. But we don't know how feasible that is. My guess is that we start learning a lot more about the next new Star Wars movie when Star Wars Celebration hits Orlando in April. Until then, it's all guesses, so drop them in the comments below.