If you didn’t know, The Last Jedi, the 8th film in the Star Wars saga (Rogue One and The Clone Wars not withstanding) has been released. It’s proved controversial with some fans not accepting the versions of the characters and events explored in the film, which are different from the storylines they have developed in their minds for the last few years. That’s not to say there are no issues with the filmmaking because I believe there are, misjudged humour and pacing issues, but overall, I really enjoyed the film and the bold choices writer/director Rian Johnson made. The Last Jedi feels like it is setting up a whole new trilogy of possibilities rather than just one ‘final’ film to round out the sequel trilogy. JJ Abrams will return to helm Episode IX and what a task it will be and I’m sure in 2 years the Internet will once again be ablaze with polarising opinions. Below I’ve listed five hopes I have for the concluding chapter of the sequel trilogy after seeing, and enjoying, The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi became the first Star Wars sequel to pick up straight after the previous film, propelling us back to the evacuation of D’Qar and Rey meeting Luke on Ahch-To. I believe The Last Jedi is all the better for it but with Episode IX I think a time jump would be a wise decision. The jump forward in time, say 3 years (the same between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back), will allow Rey to discover the Jedi code, train herself in a more proper fashion and maybe even set up a new academy for other force-users. Maybe ‘Broom-Kid’ from the end of The Last Jedi but I think his character and the final scene was included to show hope is still alive in the galaxy rather than setting up a new character. The time jump could cement Finn as a hero of the Resistance, continuing his arc from the previous two movies and Poe could now be in more of a leadership position in the Resistance. Leia will be a difficult and sensitive issue for the film to manage but a time jump could help explain her absence whether they choose that the character died off-screen in the interim or something else. The time jump would also see Kylo in a different position as Supreme Leader and the First Order in a more politically stable position. Talking of politics…
Politics might be a dirty word to some Star Wars fans due to the prequels (which I will always argue have great stories and characters but were just poorly executed) but I feel politics are a very important part of the franchise. There wasn’t all that much need for politics on a galactic level in the original trilogy because the set up was very basic: the evil Empire rules the galaxy and the Rebellion tries to take it down which they succeed in doing in Return of the Jedi. The sequel trilogy is different however because in The Force Awakens the ruling galactic government was destroyed and the galaxy was thrown into chaos that the rising First Order will try to now control. This leaves many questions such as how much of the galaxy do the First Order control? How long will it take for them to seize full control? Who will oppose them? It will be easy to keep Episode IX character focused and for the most part it should be but I do want to get a sense of what is happening in the wider galaxy. I would be open to the politics being a big part but it doesn’t have to be. Just a couple of lines commenting on the state of the galaxy would be enough or even easier just show a map which details the parts of the galaxy that the First Order controls, the parts that the Resistance and its allies control and then what systems are independent or run by criminal or corporate factions.
R2-D2 is one of the most important characters in Star Wars. He saves our heroes more times than we can count throughout the original and prequel trilogies and is the protagonist of the first act of the very first Star Wars film. He’s iconic and a staple of the franchise and I feel the droid has been short-changed so far in the sequel trilogy. Sure, I’m fine with him being dormant for most of The Force Awakens but I expected more of him in The Last Jedi where he only really gets one scene. It’s a great scene, maybe my favourite of the film, but compared with BB-8 the old rust-bucket gets very little to do. I understand and support the shift towards newer characters in the franchise but I feel BB-8 is a little over-used, the AT-ST scene comes to mind, and I want Artoo to get at least one more moment to shine before the trilogy is over.
Knights of Ren
In The Force Awakens Snoke refers to Kylo as “the leader of the Knights of Ren” but other than that small mention, and a cameo in Rey’s force-vision, the Knights have not yet appeared and were not seen or mentioned in The Last Jedi at all. At one point in the film Luke says that when Kylo turned he took a handful of fellow students from Luke’s academy with him which is probably referring to these Knights of Ren but we can’t be sure. I hope these mysterious force-users make an appearance in Episode IX after seemingly being set up; maybe Kylo will use them like Snoke did his Praetorian Guards or maybe Kylo will use them to keep watch on First Order officers like Hux who may try to usurp his command. This is Star Wars and there does need to be action and Rey taking on the Knights of Ren before facing Kylo would be a cool way to fill that particular quota.
Lando has been suspiciously absent from the sequel-era canon and I’m getting a little worried. There has been a lot going on in the last two films to say the least so not reintroducing Lando was probably a wise move but now that none of the original big three characters of the original trilogy will be in Episode IX, Force-Ghost Luke notwithstanding, Lando could make his big return. Billy Dee Williams seems up for it having voiced the character relatively recently in Star Wars Rebels and with the danger of sounding like a petulant demanding fan I think we probably should get an update on Lando. It can easily be written in that he was off on his own adventure during episodes 7 and 8 because of the short time frame and him returning could give someone for Poe to interact with now that Leia is out of the picture or maybe he could help out Finn and Rose on a mission. Lando blew up the second Death Star, which was bigger and more important than the first, and therefore it could be argued that he did more for the galaxy than Luke ever did (sacrilege!) and I want to see the old swindler one last time.
What are your hopes for Star Wars Episode IX? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about TV, movies and videogames on Twitter @kylebrrtt.