As Johnson points out in the Entertainment Weekly cover story from last week, there are already some structural similarities between The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi that are unavoidable. Rey in a remote location for training. The Resistance, despite having scored a major victory, are vulnerable and on the run. That’s what J.J. Abrams dropped into Johnson’s hands on his way out the door.
And there are more similarities developing. The First Order trying to crush the Resistance while it’s weak, and while it doesn’t have the support (tacit or not) of a government. The walkers on Crait that are coming toward the speeders. The idea that Snoke’s presence will have a greater effect than in the previous movie, like Palpatine’s presence did. A shady character in DJ, which could be TLJ’s Lando equivalent.
But there are a lot of differences, too. Yoda wanted to train Luke, but Luke doesn’t seem like he’s happy to be teaching Rey. Finn may not want to fight the First Order, unlike the main characters in ESB. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that Leia’s working relationship with Vice Admiral Holdo isn’t nearly as good as it was with General Rieekan.
Also, the action split into two groups in ESB, but it splits into three for TLJ. And in each of those scenarios, someone is being asked to step up in a way the characters of ESB never were. The ESB main characters were all experienced fighters going into that movie. And Luke had time to self-train to some degree in the three years between the two movies. So there wasn’t much in the way of growth in that regard. Meanwhile, Rey hasn’t been trained or learned anything about the Force at all; Poe is being groomed by Leia for a bigger leadership role; and Rose is coming from a very unglamorous background to join the fight in a significant way.
Amazing how much we can already see about the similarities and differences with just a little bit of footage and a few interviews!