Before Star Wars Celebration brings us the first trailer, title, and loads more information for Episode IX, we wanted to share with you our IX wants we desperately hope make it into Episode IX in some way, shape, or form. Read more to see if your want made the list. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know!
I – TIME JUMP.
This is the most obvious, rumored, and requested want I’ve heard for Episode IX. However, let’s get to some specifics within the time jump and why it is needed. For starters, it should be a significant jump with a minimum of 4 years later and a maximum of 9 years later. The time is needed to set up much of what I will get into sweaty detail about below, but in short: you need time to build the Resistance into a stable and larger Rebellion, form alliances, become a full fledged Jedi of a new order, train new Jedi of said order, embrace your dark side as Supreme Leader, instill your iron clad reign over the galaxy, and have years worth of adventures that can later be filled in or discussed and debated among hardcore fans. Those years in between the original movies and decades after the original trilogy and the discussions that sprung from them are what helped keep the spirit of Star Wars alive when there wasn’t novels, comics, games, shows, and being owned by Disney.
But the other main two reasons are this…
First, time opens the scope of the universe. It shows these characters have lives and that things have changed and moved in the years since. New clothes, haircuts, ships, relationships, and characters show growth and change while keeping the universe interesting. The worst mistake The Last Jedi made, and yes there is more than a few, is having no time gap. That is confining and closes off the epic space opera that we were first introduced to over 40 years ago with a giant spaceship being chased by an even bigger one. After Episode IV there was a 3 year gap, and after Episode V there was another year or so between Episode VI. Episode VIII has many things that happen within it, but no room to stretch its legs. It’s essentially the same as the beginning of Episode IV as described above, just stretched out for the whole movie instead of the opening minutes. The hypocrisy comes when you think of Episode V essentially being the same amount of time within the movie and also another chase, but there are great differences with these two films. That could lead to entire other editorial, but I’ll leave it be for now with this quote from, Roger Ebert: “It’s not what a movie is about, but how it is about it.”
The second reason is the storytelling opportunities. With years to fill in between movies it creates new content. New tv series’ for Disney+, new books, new games, new comics, new rides, new VR experiences, and more. Fans love the expanded universe. One of the nerdy joys of being a Star Wars fan is connecting the dots and slowly, and hopefully artistically, filling in those gaps.
One more thing…we need more than just a single year having passed as well. The Last Jedi set up a lot of things, almost as many as The Force Awakens did, and we need time to have some or any of those set ups be dealt with. Not necessarily on screen either. That’s why a time gap is so essential. Rumor is that there is a one year time jump. That’s not enough time. Use time to your advantage JJ.
II – KNIGHTS OF REN.
This one is so easy. It’s so right there in front of your face and is one of the many set ups that I mentioned above that has gone nowhere that I’m actually afraid it won’t happen. But it needs to happen. Supreme Leader (or is is just Emperor now?) Kylo Ren is joined by his Knights of Ren who are confirmed to be the other half of the Jedi students that left with him after destroying Luke’s training temple and murdering the other half. Hopefully two of the Knights will be played by Keri Russel and Dominic Monaghan. Matt Smith is also cast and despite being perfect for an Officer of the First Order he would be a great Knight of Ren. Russel being a Knight of Ren would also go against expectation. Most believe she will be a part of the Resistance, a bounty hunter, or a new Jedi or even Mara Jade which isn’t going to happen.
Can you imagine their names? Hopefully we get campy names like Vader, Maul, and Tyranus that proceeded the Knights. Names like Malus Ren, Heinous Ren, Perilous Ren, Crudus Ren, Nefari Ren, and Edax Ren just off the top. Evil Latin words are the easy go-to. Kylo is derived from the Latin word Caelo which means Sky in perhaps a nod to his family heritage. It also means Created Name which could be a nod to JJ’s sense of humor (see the island Ahch-To aka Act Two).
The Knights of Ren should be Supreme Leader Emperor Kylo Ren’s fist. His elite command unit like Vader’s Inquisitors were. He sends out his agents of evil to hunt down Rey and her allies as he is obsessed with finding her much like Vader was with Luke.
III – NEW JEDI ORDER.
Rey is a Jedi/Jedi Master training the New Jedi Order. (This point and many others are reliant on the time jump happening by the way). Rey has one or two full fledged Jedi and 3-4 others in training under those Jedi – whatever the equal amount of Knights of Ren there are so they can fight later. And we need one of these new Jedi to be Rey’s right hand girl or guy. Someone who kicks ass and we all love and will be talking about 20 years from now. A real ass kicker that takes on two Knights of Ren at the same time after they slaughter her/his Jedi apprentice in training. A character fans love like Boba Fett or Wedge Antilles that doesn’t have too much screen time, but enough that the fans go crazy over.
Their Jedi temple is on Yavin 4, Ahch-To, Dagobah, Endor, Jedha, or perhaps is mobile on a small freighter. Having another new ship that we identify with and think is cool like the Millennium Falcon is sorely needed. A mobile Jedi Training ship is a new concept for the films and one that makes sense if Rey is going to be seeking out Force sensitive potential Jedi.
We never saw Luke’s Jedi Order which would have been our New Jedi Order us fans thought countless hours about. It doesn’t sound like he really passed on what he learned to enough people in the 30 years after Yoda told him to so hopefully he can as a spirit of the Force in guiding Rey. Which leads to…
II and III connecting sub-note: They fight. With lightsabers. Against other lightsabers. LIGHTSABERS!
The New Jedi Order and Knights of Ren have a giant lightsaber duel that takes place in the final act. Simple as that. There needs to be a shorter fight somewhere early on in the second act that involves one or two of the Knights of Ren locating one of the New Jedi who then is taken captive as bait or something along those lines. We have a lot of lightsaber dueling to make up for. The main duel(s) at the end need to be the longest of any lightsaber fight in any of the saga. The New Jedi Order against the Knights of Ren. Casualties on both sides. Rey and Kylo have a final showdown naturally. Kylo loses or removes his helmet at the end of this, either in death, in the midst of a big blow, or by his own accord to show how the dark side has ravaged him.
What if the final battle takes place on Mustafar with the lava surrounding them, but then it starts to rain as we see in the vision from The Force Awakens, erupting steam that shoots out harshly?
IV – FORCE GHOST LUKE.
This is going to happen, but let me dive into specifics…
Luke would appear to Rey more than any spirit of the Force we’ve seen thus far. I’d like to see him have the same amount of screen time or close to the same as he did in The Last Jedi. Rey was by no means trained in much of anything in the Force, but she is strong in it. She needs guidance, even from beyond. And if The Last Jedi taught us anything, it’s that there is now space fuel in Star Wars…and that Force ghosts have some pretty incredible powers like calling down lighting and thunder to set fire to ancient Jedi trees. Regardless of how you personally feel about the events of Episode VIII and how they happened we can all agree even in this current age of the internet that we all wanted more of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.
Force ghost Luke would do more than guide. I see it more as guiding than training at this point however, but for the most part Rey would use the sacred Jedi texts to learn on her own and define her own path for the new Jedi Order. One of the better moments in The Last Jedi and all of the saga is Yoda’s discussion with Luke as they watch the tree burn (and also taking away the point about needing the texts at all by having Rey take them as we see for one second at the very end of the film…) saying, “We are what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all masters.”
Luke also appears to Kylo Ren. “See you around, kid.”
For one scene Luke actually haunts Kylo Ren. Kylo at first moves quickly towards the glimmer he saw of his Uncle’s ghost down a dark First Order corridor, but he’s not there. He’s confused at first, but then the dark side takes over and his anger turns into fear. Luke taunts him from all over, his voice displaced from multiple areas and then he appears fully visible in front of his lost nephew. Luke then prophecizes some wise stuff that turns Kylo’s fear into anger, then hate as he ignites his lightsaber and swings at Luke, then to suffering as Luke is once again gone. A very distant, “See you around, kid.” is heard. This is the one scene until the finale that Kylo Ren appears weak or in any way troubled.
Other details? Luke is sans beard.
V – CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE STATE OF THE GALAXY.
The Resistance is now a full fledged Rebellion and gaining numbers every day due to the legend of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and Jedi Master Rey, uh, just Rey (for now) gaining more and more strength in The Force and numbers of Jedi. At the Disney Parks their biggest expansion ever in both California and Florida is the Star Wars land called Galaxy’s Edge. When the land opens the timeframe is after The Last Jedi and before Episode IX. I think this is to do some heavy lifting to help move the story forward and of course also tie-in to the next movie in the saga. The featured ride opening later this year hopefully in time for Episode IX is Rise of the Resistance and I believe a key point that reinforces this idea of a growing Resistance. On that ride you are captured by a First Order Star Destroyer and the Resistance attacks the First Order fleet while you are onboard. In the brief clip we see of the ride the Resistance is shown dropping out of hyperspace with a legit fleet that looks more than capable of taking on the First Order unlike the mess they were in The Last Jedi. This works perfectly as supplemental material that adds to the mythos. Galaxy’s Edge is the key to clues for in-canon stories at where the state of the galaxy is before Episode IX opens. There is also a shop where you build a custom lightsaber called Savi’s Workshop that is really a covert store that’s run by a group known as the “Gatherers” that help you assemble your Jedi weapon. This could also tie-in to the possibility of the New Jedi Order being more than just Rey…or it could be to sell lightsabers. That I’m definitely going to buy. A few of. As someone who is basically planning their whole year around going to Galaxy’s Edge, I’m ecstatic about the amount of in-canon details happening within it.
It is very important to show that the new Rebellion isn’t so inept. The Last Jedi portrays the Resistance as a Jack Russel puppy just ramming its head into a grizzly bear. The bombing run on the Dreadnaught is laughable (and disappointing) because the way their fleet falls apart so easily. It’s gorgeous to look at, but the Resistance Bombers exploded like glass bottles being shot with machine guns. I understand the point that was being made in that everything just fell apart and Poe needed a lesson, but we also need to establish that there is some semblance of hope and that our heroes aren’t just fighting for no reason. That would be like flying a bunch of decades old beaten up speeders that you found in an old military base straight at huge First Order AT-M6 walkers and TIE fighters without firing on them once (seriously, I don’t see one scene where they are firing back). It’s suicide. It’s a hopeless. It’s depressing. And more than anything it’s not smart and bad writing.
The First Order is now called the Galactic First Order as they are as powerful as the Galactic Empire in the height of its power.
The overall political state of the galaxy needs to be addressed as well. One of my many issues with there being no time gap between Episode VII and VIII is the neglect of what the First Order did to those billons of lives on the systems they wiped out. Episode VIII was too isolated after such a huge event. The one locale we visit that is populated in VIII is Canto Bite and it’s gambling as usual like nothing has happened at all. It would have padded out the galaxy and made it feel more connected and real if someone mentioned the destruction as they gambled. They could have said that now they don’t owe any money on Chandrilla in the investment property they had or something crass like that. Anything really. We needed that mentioned to show the power and more importantly the fear of the First Order rising to power like the Empire, but in an even more extreme way. “I thought blowing up a planet was crazy, but multiple systems? That’s insanity. There’s no more New Republic! No Populists! No Centrists! It’s all gone…and so is my debt. Hit me!”
The First Order is essentially the Empire on steroids. Their Death Star is bigger and called Starkiller. Their AT-AT’s are bigger and have MegaCaliber Six turbo lasers mounted on their back being called AT-M6 aka “Gorilla Walkers.” Their Resurgent-class Star Destroyers are almost twice the length of the old Empire’s Imperial-class Star Destroyers. I could go on. The First Order likes to flex, but are not nearly as organized as Palpatine’s Empire. Hopefully Hux and Ren are aware of this and the state of the Galactic First Order is one that is reigning over all instead of just pumping its chest out swinging its MegaCaliber Six turbo laser.
VI – GIVE ARTOO AND THREEPIO SOMETHING TO DO TOGETHER.
The sequel trilogy has been pretty ruthless with our beloved original characters, including the droids. Both have barely been in the the last two films and have also had next to no interaction. In Episode IX I would love for them to be side-by-side like they were as that escape pod jettisoned towards Tatooine or like they were as they approached Jabba’s palace. Their banter is classic Star Wars and we need that.
Don’t kill them. These characters are timeless. As much as fans want “new” in Star Wars despite also wanting what makes the original trilogy so memorable contradictorily of course, we need the familiarity. And yes, I would never be opposed to seeing these droids in future Star Wars films.
VII – RELATIONSHIPS.
Finn and Rose are not together…anymore. But they were! They have been broken up for some time and Rose is carrying a grudge about it. They make up along the way, but don’t get back together. Again, this shows that characters have been living lives and that time has passed. This is one of the first things I thought should happen when thinking of writing this piece. I like both of them, but don’t think the two share much chemistry and hopefully that isn’t forced together like their kiss (or subplot for that matter) of The Last Jedi. Let the past die and definitely kill that.
Rey and Poe are totally together. Kind of. It’s sort of alluded to, but nothing is cemented like them being married or anything. It’s more of them being like Leia and Han in The Empire Strikes Back, but softer. But the two do not share much screen time together other than in the beginning and the end of the film. Granted, it’s more than the previous two films easily. We don’t want to cement their relationship until the end of the trilogy because of the chemistry that Rey and Kylo share and how their relationship is one of the only consistent arcs throughout the sequel trilogy.
And Rey and Kylo will not end up together either. Not everything has to be perfect and happy in a social media falseness. More on that later.
VIII – WHO IS REY?
Yeah, we’re going there. I recently rewatched all of the Star Wars films. All of them. The Clone Wars animated too. When rewatching The Force Awakens it is very clear that Rey is meant to be someone other than just a nobody. Han looks at her like he recognizes her and also like he can’t believe she doesn’t know him. But there’s also an understanding in him as to why she doesn’t notice. She doesn’t have to be his daughter or the twin of Ben, or even part of the Skywalker lineage for that matter, but she is most certainly not a nobody. “There’s only one of anybody.” Shout out to Gwildor from Masters of the Universe! Anybody? No?
She’s had training in the Force. Which would retroactively make her going toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren or doing other incredibly powerful things make some form of sense. I can’t explain why Luke doesn’t know her…or does he? Is he playing up his version of Old Man Kenobi? Perhaps. This is the biggest corner the sequel trilogy has backed itself into and also why there should have been a much more concise and planned out story arc, but I digress…
In The Last Jedi when Rey is called into the dark side cave, it shows her herself, that she’s a nobody…but it is said that the cave shows you your worst fears, much like the cave on Dagobah that showed Luke he could become like Vader. That doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s a dark side cave! I mean, it’s right there! And Kylo telling Rey that her parents were just junker traders that died is something that he could have said in spite or something that could have been planted by Snoke.
As for her outfit in Episode IX, it’s finally a new badass outfit. Even crazier, she has complete pants and sleeves instead of capris with boots and a jacket with no shoulders! That bugged me to have her in more or less the same outfit for the majority of the second film (same for Finn). Give her a dark gray Jedi cloak or a black one to rhyme with Luke in Return of the Jedi. Again, poetry. Or have her in a white outfit to honor Leia and Padme. Something to balance her look against the black of Kylo Ren and perhaps tie-in to the rumored name of Episode IX being Balance of the Force or another rumored title, Skywalkers.
(UPDATE: On 2/15/19 JJ Abrams shared a photo of Rey, Finn, and Poe hugging on a desert planet which is most likely Jakku (or Tatooine) sharing that they’ve wrapped shooting on Episode IX. Seen in the photo is Rey in white with a brown leather arm band… and no shirt sleeves. Poe is also wearing the same outfit that was recently seen in the leaked costume concept art where he’s labeled as “Adventure Poe.” Rey is wearing the same outfit in the concepts as she is here as well from the looks of it. Why does this bother me? Because it’s boring. Compare every Star Wars film Luke is in and his outfits. They’re all different and cool for various reasons. Finn is actually wearing something different, and sporting a new hair style even which more or less makes him the Leia of the sequel trilogy. It should also be pointed out that Rey still has her staff. Her staff! Isn’t she a Jedi?!? This is the exact danger of over-analyzation that many of us Star Wars fans suffer from. I’ll stop now.)
Regardless of whether or not she is actually a Skywalker, I believe that Rey should take on the name to honor the lineage of the Jedi and add to the mythos. Rey Skywalker just sounds good too. If this is really the end of the Skywalker Saga then live up to it.
IX – KYLO REN AND REDEMPTION?
Kylo Ren wears his mask again. Why? Because it’s cool. He doesn’t care what Snoke thought. Kylo dons the mask again because the dark side is consuming him at an accelerated rate. His skin is paler, his scar from Rey is eroding like Snoke, Palpatine, and Vaders bodies did. His eyes are turning to that evil yellow like his Grandfathers and The Emperors.
I think keeping his face hidden for the majority of the film would be smart as well. Only in the last act do we see Kylo/Ben again. Imagine a scene that is reminiscent of Vaders in The Empire Strikes Back as we see his mangled head as his helmet is lowered and sealed shut, but with Hux entering Kylo’s throne room chamber in Vaders castle that he has claimed as his own. Hux narrowly misses seeing his true face and the damage the dark side has caused him, but catches just enough to be shocked.
The mask returning works for the legacy of the character. Vader can appear in movies years later and still look and sound like Vader and not have to be portrayed by the same actor. If you’re at Disney and you see Vader or Kylo in their full masks it is an amazing experience. The myth of Kylo Ren and Darth Vader takes on a persona that is bigger than themselves and everlasting. The mask is iconic and therefore should be utilized and worn for that fact alone.
It tracks with the vision Rey had in The Force Awakens of him and the Knights of Ren in the rain. Having this arc connect to events that have been set up previously is what they call storytelling.
But what about redemption? No. Not quite. Look, Kylo killed Han and tried killing Luke, twice. He’s had his points of no return and moved past them. He struggles with a call to the light and that is where this gets tricky…
I believe that Kylo Ren should die. The mask is destroyed, for good this time and Kylo even loses a limb in his climactic battle, a Star Wars staple that has been missing for the last two films. Kylo is thought dead by everyone besides Rey. She allows him to live, sparing his life like only a true Jedi could, always believing that good can prevail.
Ben Solo then chooses to go into exile.
Rey and Ben know that he could never be trusted by the Jedi or rest of the Rebellion. Fool me once Vader, fool me twice Kylo, and all that. One of the final scenes of the film, if not the final scene, is Ben Solo getting onboard a ship (the Falcon? with Artoo?), pulling a glove tight over his robotic hand much like his Uncle once did. From there he prepares to disappear into deep space to rediscover the light side of the Force and to do good wherever that may lead him, wherever the Force may lead him. Just before he pushes the levers forward to go into hyperspace he hears Luke say, “The Force will be with you.” And Ben says, “Always.” As the stars peel back and the saga ends. I know I wrote that, but damn…I have chills.
Honorable Mentions –
Lando. Chewie. Nien Nunb. L3. The Falcon.
Lando once again leads the fighter assault in the Falcon. This time he has the Falcon’s permanent copilot Chewbacca at his side with Nien Nunb back as well. Maybe a droid like Threepio or Artoo is there. They’ve been greatly underutilized so far. This group leads into…
A giant space battle. In space.
Happening concurrently with the Rebellions strike against the First Order fleet/base/shipyard/not super weapon on the ground and also the New Jedi Order who is in combat with the Knights of Ren. Imagine the third act of Rogue One x10. We haven’t had too much space battle in the sequel trilogy, or we haven’t had much good space battle. The most thrilling sequence so far has been Rey and Finn stealing the Falcon and flying through Jakku and through that crashed Super Star Destroyer. Speaking of Star Detroyers…we need more of them in greater detail. They’ve been elusive so far and always seen from a distance for the most part. The opening scene in The Force Awakens is the shadowy underside of a new First Order Star Destroyer. I think we genuinely get more of the Fist Order Star Destroyers in one of the Star Tours scenes than we do in the movies. This giant space battle could easily rectify this.
Don’t you dare destroy the Falcon.
Leia’s send off. Leia’s send off could be that Star Wars rhyming poetry that we’ve mentioned a three trilogies worth of times already. Imagine that she appears in a holo message in a droid (R2 or BB-8) and says, “Help us Rey, you’re our only hope.” Poetry! And it may be easier to work with the footage they have in this way as well without it looking too uncanny valley.
Acknowledge the bigger universe canon/Surprise cameo from…
Kazuda Xiono from Star Wars Resistance! It makes sense that Poe has his Rebel spy in his squadron along with Snap Wexley, Nien Nunb, Jessika Pava, or anyone else who wasn’t instantly killed in The Last Jedi. Kaz should be played by his voice actor Christopher Sean as they look similar and obviously sound similar. This would be a nice nod to hardcore fans and you wouldn’t have to make it glaringly eye rolling obvious either.
I’d also accept Thane Kyrell from Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars novel, and Ransolm Casterfo, Greer Sonnel, and Joph Seastriker also from Gray’s Bloodline novel. And by accept, I mean that I would jump out of my seat in excitement. It’s time to start acknowledging the canon of the Star Wars universe. Having characters appear like this that are part of the Resistance and featured in books and shows makes sense and makes the universe seem bigger and like everything matters. It’s good marketing that is easy and costs nothing, which is also the best type of marketing.
More than just a, “Where’s Han?” question too where you don’t see the emotional reaction from a character unless you watch a deleted scene that really really should have been in the film.
As in Palpatine. If they can organically work it in, then yes please. Do I think that they can? Not at the moment, no.
More Force Ghosts.
Perhaps another closing shot of the spirits of the Force (Episode IX: Spirits of The Force!!!) that would include: Luke sans beard, Yoda, Obi-Wan McGregor, Anakin Christensen, Leia (??? Boy, this could be as poignant as it could be bad…) and not Ben Solo because he’s still alive.
And on that note…
No matter what happens, this is Star Wars and we love it for many reasons. The wants listed here are not all likely to happen and whatever wants you also wish for remember to have an open mind, but also remember that open and constructive discussion is what makes us fans. Be a good fan. Enjoy the time that is leading up to the end of the Skywalker Saga. May the Force be with you. Always.
His love of most things in entertainment can be summed up by having an English Bulldog named Spielberg and consistently asking if it’s Halloween yet.