Even though it was great to see familiar faces like Han Solo and Leia Organa when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in December 2015, the new Star Wars trilogy is mostly populated with brand-new characters, most notably its main protagonists: Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron. Needless to say moviegoers will be seeing a lot more of them at the end of the year in Star Wars: Episode VIII, and director Rian Johnson is determined to not just explore more about their personal lives, but also how they'll react to specific challenges. As he put it:
I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn't just mean information or backstory. Figure out what's the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now --- let's throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.
Rian Johnson provided the above comment to USA Today, saying that it's not enough to simply explore Rey, Finn and Poe's pasts to cut to the core of them. Moviegoers also need to see them challenged in new ways to see how they'll react to these situations. Since The Force Awakens handled the introductions, Episode VIII is the time to delve further into their psychologies.
In terms of backstory/history, Poe Dameron has received the most attention of the three so far, as he's currently starring in his own Marvel Comics ongoing series, which is set before The Force Awakens. His parents were also featured in the Shattered Empire comic miniseries. Undoubtedly Rey is the most enigmatic of the bunch, as fans continue to wonder who her parents are and where the young woman originally came from. As for Finn, he also has a peculiar background, because just like the other stormtroopers serving in The First Order, he was taken from his family when he was very young. Some of these mysteries will presumably be answered in Episode VIII, while others may be saved for Episode IX in 2019.
As for what these three heroes will be up to during Episode VIII, that varies across the board. Rey will be learning the ways of the Force from Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To, while Finn will reportedly be going on a top-secret mission for the Resistance after healing from his injuries. There's barely been any word on Poe's role in the movie, but we can at minimum expect him to continue his duties as the Resistance's best X-Wing pilot. So even though these three may not share that much screen time together, rest assured, there are a lot of challenges awaiting them individually.
Star Wars: Episode VIII hits theaters on December 15. Let us know which of these three protagonists you're most excited to see back on the big screen in the comments below.