In a short video offering fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, franchise icon Mark Hamill praised the highly-anticipated sequel for being very “different” from its predecessors. After keeping Episode VIII largely in the dark while spinoff Rogue One had its moment in the spotlight, the floodgates are now open for promotion on the upcoming blockbuster. Last month saw the debut of a teaser trailer that set up the tone, and today viewers are basking in the unveiling of a photo shoot of the cast, getting their first looks at new characters and locations.

The cornucopia of information arrived courtesy of Vanity Fair, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Star Wars by dropping details on Luke Skywalker, the mysterious figures played by Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro, the planet Canto Bight, and much more. It’s been a lot for moviegoers to take in, and now there’s a brief video detailing the outlet’s trip to the set. In it, the actors discuss the project, hinting at all the excitement that’s still to come. You can watch it in the space above.

Many of the quotes from the talent featured bear strong similarities to what’s been said before; Oscar Isaac basically does a new iteration of saying the characters will be tested during Episode VIII. However, the comments made by Hamill are sure to be intriguing for viewers, as he implies The Last Jedi is a departure when compared to what’s come before:

“It’s so much different in many ways from the other episodes. And yet, I think it’s very satisfying in delivering what the fans want to see.”
“Different” seems to be the buzzword of the moment for Star Wars 8, considering that adjective was also used to describe an early cut of the movie. After The Force Awakens was criticized for paralleling A New Hope a little too closely for some moviegoers, a fear was Last Jedi was simply going to offer new riffs on familiar beats from The Empire Strikes Back. While there will probably be some similarities between the two (the young protagonist will receive Force training from a wise old Jedi), writer/director Rian Johnson has assured people he’s going to mix up the formula a bit. This can be illustrated via dynamic character designs like Dern’s Admiral Holdo and planets such as Crait and Canto Bight (which have no original trilogy precedent like Jakku, for instance). Johnson is also expanding upon the mythology and lore, having Luke search for the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To when he’s not under the care of the world’s indigenous creatures.

Like any franchise film, Star Wars 8 is definitely going to contain some of the hallmarks that fans know and love (including the classic opening text crawl), but even those who enjoyed Episode VII would be in favor of a story that takes the property in new directions. Tonally, The Last Jedi may be darker than its predecessor (a term that accurately describes Empire), but the narrative looks to be unlike anything we’ve seen in the saga before. Right now, Lucasfilm is unsure if the numbered episodes will continue past Star Wars 9, so they’d be smart to throw fans some curveballs and show there’s still a lot left to be done with those movies. Rogue One was a strong success at $1 billion, but The Force Awakens made $2 billion, so maybe this middle chapter is just a new beginning.

[Screen Rant]