Adam Driver Says 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Is Like 'Empire Strikes Back' — But Not How You'd Expect

Writer-director Rian Johnson is "not dumbing anything down," says the actor.
Courtesy of Lucasfilms 2015/Walt Disney Studios

For those looking for clues about what to expect from the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver, wants you to know that it's just like The Empire Strikes Back, except not in the ways that you'd expect.

Calling the screenplay for Episode VIII "great" during a recent interview with Collider, Driver explained, "it’s similar to how The Empire Strikes Back has a different tone [to the original movie]. 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. [Writer-director Rian Johnson] 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."

The actor also praised Johnson for the way in which he stepped in to take over writing for Driver's character, Kylo Ren, immediately after his introduction in 2015's The Force Awakens, written by director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.

"Rian is coming into something that we kind of set up and he just took it to the next level in a really great way," Driver said. "He wrote it, too, and Rian’s writing is so clear. I learned a lot of things about my character through his writing. … To understand what J.J. was doing and take ownership from there is kind of a remarkable thing."

As to what kinds of things Driver learned about Kylo during the production of the movie — or whether the audience will learn them too while watching — the actor was suitably tight-lipped. More will undoubtedly be revealed between now and Dec. 15, 2017, when Star Wars: Episode VIII is released.

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