If Star Wars: The Force Awakens drew pointed comparisons to A New Hope, then it's only fitting that Rian Johnson's Episode VIII would take a few cues from the most beloved film in the Star Wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back. Will the next installment do for Kylo Ren what Empire did for Darth Vader? According to Adam Driver, he learned a lot about the man formerly known as Ben Solo though Johnson's Episode VIII script.
"[Rian] just took it to the next level in a really great way," Driver told Collider while promoting his film Paterson. "He wrote it, too, and Rian's writing is so clear. I learned a lot of things about my character through his writing."
As the broody apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order, Kylo Ren could have easily been the biggest fuckboy in the galaxy. But Driver and J.J. Abrams created a more nuanced bad guy for a new generation. Kylo's a conflicted kid, neither Jedi nor Sith, with puppy-dog eyes, plagued by self-doubt and insecurities. (Also, his shiny hair doesn't adhere to logic or gravity.) And in Episode VIII, we hopefully come to understand why Kylo Ren made the choices he did — a.k.a. why he betrayed Luke Skywalker and the Jedi Order. For that, expect a slightly more mature tone overall.
"It's similar to how The Empire Strikes Back has a different tone," Driver said. "People always go, Ooh, 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 added. "[Rian] 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."
Driver's sentiment seems to echo Daisy Ridley's tease back in April, when she told MTV News to expect a "darker" Episode VIII.