Last week I wrote about my hopes for Star Wars Episode IX and this week I’ve got even more. The Last Jedi has been playing on my mind, it’s hard for it not to be with the constant barrage of opinions on the Internet, and now that I’ve seen it a second time my opinions have been more securely locked in place. I really enjoyed the movie, it has amazing heights but a couple of disappointing lows. Overall, I’m in the positive camp. If you’re in the more negative camp then that is absolutely okay and let’s discuss and debate, just don’t @ me will ridiculous statements like “Disney has ruined Star Wars” or “Rian Johnson has killed my childhood”. The following hopes for the next instalment in the Star Wars saga stem from both what I liked and didn’t like in The Last Jedi so without further ado let’s delve in.
The Galaxy in Chaos
In my last article I remarked on how I hope we get some galactic-level politics in Episode IX, particularly seeing which sectors of the galaxy are aligned with which factions. Now it is time to be more specific: I want to see the galaxy in chaos. The senate and therefore most of the New Republic has been destroyed and I hope we see the effects of this on the galaxy. Crime syndicates, whether it be the Hutts or Black Sun, could seize control of weak systems and the First Order could be in conflict with them or systems could reach out for the First Order for protection, allowing them to take control. The Resistance could be in turmoil, particularly after The Last Jedi, and Leia could have died in the interim pushing the not quite ready Poe into a command position and for all its resources the First Order could be in dire straits too. The Supremacy has been destroyed and Snoke is dead leaving Kylo as leader. He’s not right for leadership and unsuitable for the huge political workload the title of Supreme Leader demands. I would love to see infighting within the First Order as a coup breaks out, lead by General Hux, against Kylo which would leave the galaxy in complete chaos and in need of the Jedi.
For the past two years it’s as if millions of voices cried out Snoke theories and were suddenly silenced. Snoke, the big bad of the new trilogy, was shocking killed in The Last Jedi and I love it. His death (and mere existence) was to aid Kylo Ren’s character development from Darth Vader knock-off to something much more. Unlike Darth Maul, who suffered a similar fate only to survive and walk the galaxy with robot legs, I’m pretty sure Snoke is properly dead and while I love what Johnson did in The Last Jedi I am still curious to his rise to power. I’m sure we’ll get books explaining the backstory and I’ll definitely read them but I hold out hope that Episode IX will give us something. Maybe in the attempted coup against Kylo that I pitched in my last paragraph, one of the First Order generals (maybe Hux) could compare Kylo unfavourably to Snoke, particularly their rises to power. “You have no right to call yourself Supreme Leader! You merely grasped power and are unworthy to lead this order opposed to Snoke who raised us from the ashes of the Empire. Blah-blah-blah, backstory-backstory-backstory”. As you can tell I’m no screenwriter but it could go something like that and quench the thirst of nerdy theorists everywhere.
Part of me, the greedy part, was a little disappointed by the Yoda scene in The Last Jedi. Upon second viewing I enjoyed it more because my expectations were changed and I’ll accept Rian Johnson’s artistic vision over my own fandom-spewing thoughts but initially I had hoped that ghost Obi-Wan, Anakin and maybe even Qui-Gon would appear alongside Yoda. Johnson wanted to call back to The Empire Strikes Back specifically and just have a touching moment between Luke and Yoda and I do like the scene but going into Episode IX that greedy Force-ghost-filled thought sits quietly plotting in the back of my brain. While I think Force ghosts will be limited to Luke in Episode IX (maybe a Yoda cameo too), I would love to see a council of fallen Jedi appear to Rey and guide her attempts to start the Jedi again. Having said that, that could undermine Rey’s journey to create a less arrogant and stuffy Jedi Order so maybe she’s better off doing it her own way. Maybe the ghosts could band together and haunt Kylo or something.
What Happened at Luke’s Academy?
I really enjoyed the short Rashomon-style flashbacks to Luke’s fateful decision at his Jedi Academy in The Last Jedi. They were unlike anything seen in the film series before and focused very much on the characters, the scenes being limited to tight shots in one small room. I do have questions about Luke’s Academy however and while they don’t need to be answered in the film – a book will suffice – I do hope we get some more information in Episode IX. Who were Luke’s other students and how many left with Kylo? Did they become the Knights of Ren and why would they follow Kylo? Where are the Knights of Ren? Most of my questions are probably unnecessary but I’m curious nonetheless.
Cut the Unnecessary Characters
The term ‘trim the fat’ comes to mind when thinking about Episode IX. There is just one more movie to round out this trilogy and give everyone satisfying character arcs and at the moment I think there are a few too many characters. I’m glad Phasma was killed because it added to Finn’s development and means we can give more screen time to other characters in the next movie (not that she had much anyway). I didn’t like Maz Kanata’s cameo in The Last Jedi because it felt like they just needed to jam her in the film because Lupita Nyong’o was contracted to be in the film when the character didn’t fit. If you aren’t going to do the characters justice then don’t include them at all. If Maz doesn’t add anything then she doesn’t need to be in IX especially now that we have a new protagonist in Rose. Just because Benicio Del Toro’s character ‘DJ’ presumably survived The Last Jedi doesn’t mean he needs to show up again. The focus should be on the main characters and while in my previous article I talked about wanting Lando back, if he doesn’t fit then leave him out.
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.