Oscar Isaac on 'Star Wars: Episode VIII': 'It feels like we're making an independent film'

From the moment it was announced Rian Johnson would be directing "Star Wars: Episode VIII," fans have been excitedly wondering what kind of special sauce the director of genre-bending films like "Looper" and "Brick" (not to mention a few of the best episodes of "Breaking Bad") will bring to the universe George Lucas created.

Speaking with The Times last year, Lawrence Kasdan – the co-writer of "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," "The Force Awakens" and one of the key keepers of the "Star Wars" flame – suggested that Johnson would be taking the franchise into heretofore uncharted creative territory.

"Rian Johnson is a friend of mine — he's going to make some weird thing," Kasdan said. "If you've seen Rian's work, you know it's not going be like anything that's ever been in 'Star Wars.' "

Now, in an interview with The Times to promote the upcoming superhero epic "X-Men: Apocalyse," opening May 27, actor Oscar Isaac – who played ace Resistance starfighter pilot Poe Dameron in "The Force Awakens" and will reprise the role in the series' next installment – is confirming that Johnson will indeed shake things up in "Episode VIII." 

"I would agree with [Kasdan]," said Isaac. "Rian is definitely going to places and investigating things that haven’t really been done in the 'Star Wars' universe. For me, it’s so fun getting to explore different things that I wouldn’t have expected in this universe.

"In some ways it feels like we’re making an independent film," added the actor, who has starred in critically acclaimed indies such as "Ex Machina," "A Most Violent Year" and "Inside Llewyn Davis." "Certain things we get to play with – this kind of intimacy that we get to find – it's special. It’s been really fun."

With production on "Episode VIII" currently underway in England, virtually nothing – not even so much as a title – has been revealed at this point about the film. About the only thing Johnson himself has said, in an answer to a fan on Twitter, is that BB-8 will be back in the film. ("Man, you'd have to admire my cojones if he wasn't," he joked.)

For now, if "Star Wars" fans want a better idea of what Kasdan and Isaac mean by a weirder, more intimate and indie-flavored "Star Wars," patience they must have.

Twitter: @joshrottenberg

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