This is a subject I am extremely passionate about. I love "Star Wars." I have for as long as I can remember. I watched all of the original trilogies when I was extremely young, and one of the first movies I remember seeing in theaters was "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" with my dad (bit of a rough one for 5-year-olds, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly.)
Since then, most of my life I've been a pretty big Star Wars fan. I've seen all of the films at least three times (take out "Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones," and "The Last Jedi" and that minimum number jumps to five), I've seen most of the TV shows, read plenty of the comics, the books, etc. I've become extremely passionate about "Star Wars," and I have been for a long time.
That's why, when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and announced a new sequel trilogy, I, along with so many countless fans both younger and older than me, were ecstatic. Now, almost six years since that announcement, we are approaching the end of that trilogy. We've already gotten two films out of the deal, and while they have been divisive (especially in the case of the latter of the two), we still wait with baited breath for the final of the three films.
The story is coming to a close, and as it does, I'd like to just briefly take the time to give my two cents about what I think should (and shouldn't) be in "Episode IX." With that said, let's get on with the show!
Break away from "the"
The "Star Wars" franchise has a bit of an issue with creativity. That is to say, the stories are creative, but the names of the films, not so much. There's "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones," "Revenge of the Sith," "A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," "The Force Awakens," and "The Last Jedi."
Did you notice a pattern there? Of the eight titles, four of them feature the word "the" in them. Now, to be fair, it is the most commonly used word in the English language, but if "Episode IX" was to use "the" in the title, that would make five out of nine movies with it in the title, and all three in the sequel trilogy. It's a small issue, I know, but "Star Wars" can be so much more creative than "the" over half their films.
Incorporate a time jump
Every "Star Wars" film has had a time jump. Between "I" and "II" it was 10 years, three between "II" and "III," 19 between "III" and "IV," three between "IV" and "V," one between "V" and "VI," 30 between "VI" and "VII", but when it came to between "VII" and "VIII," the gap was... zero. Zero years, zero months, zero days, zero hours, zero minutes, zero seconds. The film opens with a scene running concurrently with the last scene of "VII," and then, once that scene is over, it takes us right back to where "VII" left off. While this worked with the story they told, it left many of us feeling a little cheated, to say the least.
So, to put it simply, there needs to be a gap in time here. Whether it's only a year, a couple of years, or even a decade, it doesn't matter. If the story they write demands a small jump, make it small. If it demands a big one, make it big. Either way, they need to make sure it's there for us to see. This also ties in to my next point...
Open with Princess Leia's funeral
Sorry if you hadn't seen "The Last Jedi" yet, but it shouldn't matter since this isn't a spoiler. As any movie lover or "Star Wars" fanatic should know by now, the great Carrie Fisher passed away not long after the release of "Rogue One," the anthology film that takes place right before "A New Hope." She had already finished her filming for "The Last Jedi," but production on "Episode IX" hadn't begun yet. Unfortunately, that means that, unless Lucasfilm takes the very unpopular path of editing her in using CGI, we're going to have to see what the galaxy far, far away looks like following the death of our beloved princess.
In my opinion, the best way to address this, tied in with my previous point, is to, using the time gap, say that Leia, after years of fighting for freedom, has passed away. Not killed, just died of old age. It would be a fitting end to one of our favorite heroines, not taken out by an evil army or a sneak attack. Instead, she made it so that her enemies could never get the satisfaction of killing her, meaning that for Kylo Ren there will always be that piece of him inside, unlike when he killed his father. To open on Leia's funeral, and maybe have it take place on Naboo, her mother's home planet, would not only be poignant but show the fans that things are serious here.
Tie it into the prequels
Now, the prequels are an extremely touchy subject for the "Star Wars" fan base. Whether you like them for their memeability, despise them for tainting the beauty that is the original trilogy, or enjoy them as the films they are, there is a very high chance that if you speak your mind about them there are at least four people within a very small radius of your current location that is willing to debate you.
What isn't debatable, though, is the fact that the prequels, in all of their memey glory, are part of the "Star Wars" canon. You cannot ignore them, and you shouldn't, either. The rumors coming out already say that "Episode IX" is going to have many more clear references to the prequels, and while this may create dread for some people, this leaves open a vast window of possibilities. Maybe we see Rey go to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and discover the Sith shrine it was built on top of. Maybe Kylo Ren goes to Mustafar to feed off of the Dark Side energy there. If they do decide to give the prequels a greater presence in "Episode IX," I just hope it turns out for the better.
Give us Anakin's Force ghost
At the end of "Return of the Jedi," following the redemption of Darth Vader and the rebirth of Anakin Skywalker, he dies in Luke's arms. Is that a spoiler? Can you even spoil a movie that's almost over a decade older than most of the people on this website? Whatever, I don't really care, so sorry if I spoiled it for you—it's not my fault you haven't seen it yet.
Anyways, it ends with the celebration on Endor and, while Luke is looking away, he sees the Force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-wan, and his father, Anakin, looking on. Now, whether or not you use the original actor who played Anakin's ghost, Sebastian Shaw, or bring back Hayden Christensen of the prequels, it's up to the writers—though I think, at least for the younger audience, Christensen would make more sense.
Anyways, the reason I mention this as a point is the image above. During the lead-up to "Episode VII" we heard rumors that Anakin's Force ghost would be in the film, and then again during the lead-up to "Episode VIII," which was accompanied with the above concept art of Anakin fighting for control with Vader, showing how even in his redemption he wasn't pure and showing just how strong the Dark Side can be. This could be a valuable catalyst for Kylo's redemption, should they choose to do that, or be a massive well for Rey if they decide to have her be torn between the Dark and the Light, or even if they decide to have her learn more than the previous Jedi and have her dabble in the Dark Side, a move I think would be amazing to watch play out.
Don't focus on the boy
So, the boy. His role in "The Last Jedi," while small, is still significant. He represents how the galaxy is still filled with those who need help, those who still have hope. Also, after learning in the last scene of the film that he has the Force, he also represents the future of the Jedi and the galaxy. Now, like many of us, I left the theater after seeing "The Last Jedi" wondering why we focused on this particular boy so much. Then I remembered the news that Disney had already hired Rian Johnson, the director of "The Last Jedi," to direct another trilogy of films following the sequels.
What this trilogy was going to be about, or when it was going to take place, was unknown at the time, but I put two and two together and inferred that it would most likely focus on this boy and his adventures. While that might be fun for an anthology film like "Rogue One" or "Solo," the main story of "Star Wars" should only be these nine films (or not, see next point.) To have a whole new trilogy based on him wouldn't make much sense.
My fears of this being an issue were calmed recently, though, when it was announced that all "Star Wars films," outside of the rumored Obi-wan anthology film and "Episode IX," were being placed on hold. This announcement came just a few days after it was leaked that there were approximately eight "Star Wars" movies in some form of production and three television shows. Now, two of those movies (Obi-wan, "Episode IX") and 2 of those shows ("Star Wars: Resistance," revival of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars") have been discussed and are, to the best of our knowledge, still in production.
However, that other television show and those six movies, three of which were likely the Rian Johnson trilogy, have either been put on hold until they see how well the other projects work out or have been outright canceled. For those of you that are curious as to why this was done, it's believed that Disney decided to pull these plugs after "Solo" spectacularly failed at the box office, becoming the first "Star Wars" film theatrically released to do so. Fearing that this would happen again, Disney halted production on these and other projects, not to mention they also considered ending work on the then-unannounced Obi-wan film and at least delaying "Episode IX."
With all that said, though, I was somewhat relieved. Now I wouldn't have to worry about the boy being thrown at us so Disney could sell more action figures and Lego sets. But then a dark, evil thought crept into my mind: what if, instead of making him the main character of another trilogy, he became a lead character in "Episode IX."
"That's impossible to do, though," I thought to myself. "He's but a young boy, how could he be so pivotal in the next film?" Then I remembered point number two on this list. You remember, don't you? If you don't, I hope you didn't just scroll up to see what it was, because the time jump I'm thinking about could be just what's needed to make this boy old enough to be relevant. Sure, the boy's a symbol, but we don't want to focus on him. Don't you dare use the main series of films to advertise more movies!
Don't make it the end
So a lot of people had gripes with "The Last Jedi." I don't blame them; by no means is it a perfect movie. I personally enjoyed the film but that's beside the point. In the way of character progression, "The Last Jedi" was a bit lacking. It more-or-less just reiterated what "The Force Awakens" had told us—Rey looks to the horizon, Kylo Ren is obsessed with the Dark Side, Finn is passionate in his hate for the First Order, and Poe is strong-headed. There wasn't anything new other than taking their already-established personalities to a further extreme. So, how do you fix it?
It's actually a fairly simple repair. Don't finish with "Episode IX." In "Episode IX," have their character traits challenged and defeated, have them grow larger as characters, not reintroduce us to basic tropes. Then, in "Episode X," finish things off with a big bang. It'll make the finale better since we are more emotionally attached to these characters, not to mention two "Star Wars" movies get twice as many ticket sales as one.
With all of that said, that's where I'll leave it for today. Let me know what you think of my ideas. What things did I leave out, what things should they stay away from, and what things did I include that has no business being included? Let me know, and thanks for reading!