Star Wars Episode IX is kind of a blank slate. Whereas The Force Awakens ended with the First Order relentlessly pursuing the Resistance, forcing The Last Jedi to pick up where it left off, The Last Jedi didn’t end with much of a cliffhanger. Episode IX doesn’t have a specific point to pick up from. So, newly appointed director J.J. Abrams can pretty start the movie wherever he likes and take it wherever he likes from there. But still, he can’t just do anything. There are certain things that we’ll need to see in Episode IX to be satisfied by it as the closer of the new trilogy. It can’t just meander aimlessly like The Last Jedi – this is the end! Here are 10 things that need to happen in Star Wars Episode IX.
10. We find out who that kid at Canto Bight is
You remember the kid, right? The one who helped Finn and Rose escape from Canto Bight and then used the Force to pick up a broom at the end of The Last Jedi. Well, in Episode IX, our million and one questions about him need to be answered. Rian Johnson had to keep the importance of the character who has come to be known as “the broom boy” in the back of his mind throughout the whole editing process of The Last Jedi, because he wanted to give us an ending that we weren’t expecting. He said, “It would have been very easy to iris out on the shot of everyone on the Falcon. In some ways, that’s the more obvious ending.” So, he wanted to end with the significant shot of a seemingly insignificant character using the Force and looking out into space. Johnson elaborated, “The kid scene is showing that his act was about more than saving twenty lives – twenty people in a cave – [and] that this is now going to resonate throughout the galaxy and create hope. And the fact that the kids are retelling his story, the fact that they’re being inspired by it, the fact that they’re playing with these toys that inspired me when I was a little kid playing with them, to want to grow up and have an adventure and be…I don’t know, it all ties directly back into why Luke Skywalker inspired me growing up, I suppose.” But it can’t just be left as a symbolic thing. We need to actually meet this kid, because he has the Force!
9. Luke returns as a Force ghost
We got Force ghost Yoda needlessly shoehorned into The Last Jedi in order to give the fans nerd boners, so the least the makers of Episode IX can do is give us some closure on Luke Skywalker’s story. Han Solo got a big ceremonious death scene that was talked about for months. All Luke got was a brief moment where he flops off a rock. Most viewers weren’t even sure if he was dead or if he just fell over. So, we need to get some closure from that. And Rey’s relationship with him didn’t get wrapped up. She doesn’t have all of his wisdom yet. And maybe in death, he’ll stop being such a mopey jerk and start being the Luke that we know and love. Mark Hamill himself has commented on this as a possibility in an interview with IGN: “People are saying, ‘Are you going to be a Force Ghost in [Episode IX]?’ I said, ‘I really don’t know. No one’s really talked to me about it.’ To me, I feel I had a beginning, middle, and an end in the original trilogy. On [The Last Jedi], the first thing I said was, ‘Can’t we push my death to [Episode IX]?’ Because now I don’t have a beginning, middle, and an end – I have a beginning and an end.”
8. The return of Lando Calrissian
We’ve seen the return of so many of our favorite characters from the old movies: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca Admiral Ackbar, R2-D2, C-3PO, even Yoda. But we haven’t yet been reintroduced to Lando Calrissian – and the timing is perfect to bring him back for Episode IX. The movies in the sequel trilogy so far have been dedicated each to one of the three members of the core group of original trilogy heroes. The Force Awakens could be seen as Han’s movie as it’s all about his struggles with old flame Leia and estranged son Kylo Ren and then it culminates in his death. The Last Jedi could be seen as Luke’s movie as he grapples with his thoughts about the Jedi and the Force and takes on his old padawan Kylo Ren and then it culminates in his death. The third movie was being geared up to be Leia’s movie, but with the tragic and untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, Leia won’t be in this movie anymore, leaving a huge gap for the redevelopment of an old fan favorite character to then culminate in their death. That could be Lando! And we’ve all got Lando fever right now, since Donald Glover’s performance as his younger self has reminded us how cool he is. Billy Dee Williams has already been tipped to return, so this could be a reality.
7. The fall of the First Order
This one’s obvious. We’ve been watching a series of movies where forces of good that call themselves the Resistance fighting against forces of evil that call themselves the First Order in an intergalactic struggle, so of course in the final chapter of that story, we’re going to need to see the Resistance beat the First Order once and for all. It’s the same thing as the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. In fact, it’s almost the exact same thing, it’s just that the names themselves have been changed. We watched the whole Star Wars original trilogy wanting to see the Rebels triumph over the Empire. If the Resistance doesn’t triumph over the First Order in Episode IX, then it won’t feel like the trilogy is complete. The whole thing will have felt like a waste of time. Luke Skywalker’s premonition has to be fulfilled. Kylo Ren told him (or rather, his Force projection), “The Resistance is dead! The war is over, and when I kill you, I will have killed the last Jedi!” Then Luke quipped, “Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. The rebellion is reborn today, the war is just beginning, and I will not be the last Jedi.” We need to see that play out!
6. Finn implements his new ethical philosophy
At the end of The Last Jedi, Rose Tico taught Finn a very important lesson: you should fight for what you love instead of fighting against what you hate, because that’s the only way to create a positive change in the world. In Episode IX, we need to see him actually implement that and grow as a person – they can’t just sweep that under the rug, even though that would be easier and open the film up to more fight scenes. From a character and narrative point of view, that’s what needs to happen. One theory has it that after the good guys bring down the First Order, Finn will begin rehabilitating Stormtroopers who are just like him. They’re not necessarily the bad guys – they just don’t know any other life besides being a Stormtrooper. So, after they can no longer be a Stormtrooper, Finn will bring them all together (the ones that are still alive, that is) and teach them that they can bring positive change to the world. There are tons of guys just like Finn who didn’t get the opportunity to escape with Poe and explore the galaxy, but still, they deserve that chance, and it would only be right if Finn is the one to give it to them when peace is restored (at least for now) in the galaxy.
5. Rey and Poe’s relationship is expanded
Rey and Poe have barely spoken one word to each other throughout this whole trilogy. Considering they’re two of the main trio of characters in these new movies, you’d think they’d have met prior to the end of the second film. So, Episode IX can’t screw around in developing what their relationship is. Is it romantic? One theory suggests a Poe/Rey romance. But then another theory suggests that Poe is gay. Rey seemed to be having some kind of romantic entanglement with Kylo Ren during The Last Jedi as they were using the Force to Skype each other all the time (when Kylo was topless, at one point) and fought Snoke together at the end before their relationship turned to animosity again. It seemed to be a classic case of a good girl falling for the dark, brooding bad boy because she thinks she can ‘fix’ him. But if it ends up happening, or even becoming a love triangle (although now, it seems like we’re getting too far away from Star Wars and too close to Twilight), then it’s pretty obvious that the cool, collected, roguish straight arrow Poe Dameron would be so much better for Rey. John Boyega seems to want Finn to become a love interest for Rey, but the boat seems to have sailed on that one, and there’s too much sexual tension between everyone else for there to be room for him. And anyway, he already had a romance in The Last Jedi – it’s Poe’s turn!
4. Kylo Ren’s redemption
The story arc for Darth Vader in the original movie trilogy of the Star Wars saga was that he started off in the first movie as a ruthless villain, progressed throughout the second movie by getting closer to the good guys (who happened to be his family), and then eventually ended up redeeming himself at the end of the third movie by throwing his master down a Death Star shaft, saving Luke from his relentless thrashings of Force lightning. Throughout the sequel trilogy, our main villain Kylo Ren has been even more emotionally complex and conflicted than Vader was. In The Force Awakens, he did one of the worst things ever by killing his father, who happened to be the great Han Solo, but throughout The Last Jedi, we saw him doubting the Dark Side of the Force and questioning if he was on the right side of the battle. It took Vader until the very end to kill his master, whereas Kylo teamed up with Rey to do it halfway through the second movie of his trilogy. He’ll still be the bad guy when we reconvene with him at the beginning of Episode IX, but hopefully he will get his redemption in the end.
3. A definitive answer about Rey’s parents
After The Force Awakens, everyone wanted to know who Rey’s parents were. Daisy Ridley teased that The Force Awakens had actually given away more answers in its flashback scenes than the fans were picking up on, but even after she said that, no one could figure out anything conclusive. Then when Rian Johnson made The Last Jedi, he decided to mess with fans, which only served to infuriate them more. There was that scene with Rey and the mirrors where she asked to see her parents, and after what felt like an eternity, her own reflection appeared before her, and everyone watching it cried out, “Oh, come on!” And then Kylo Ren said that her parents were nobodies, but a lot of fans think that maybe he was lying to manipulate her emotions while they were fighting. Who knows? What we do know is that we need an actual, solid, definitive answer about who her parents are. Even if Kylo was telling the truth and they were just a pair of nobodies, which nobodies are they? They’re important enough that he knows who they are. And they are the parents of Rey, either way, so that makes them important to us (and to the galaxy).
2. Leia gets a proper sendoff
We know that Carrie Fisher had not filmed any of her scenes in Episode IX at the time of her tragic passing in late 2016, and we also know that, despite getting the thumbs up from her family to do it, the filmmakers will not be digitally recreating her in the same way that they did for Peter Cushing in Rogue One, out of respect. But they can’t just sweep Leia under the rug. She’s been such an essential and iconic part of the fabric of the Star Wars saga since the very beginning, so she needs a proper sendoff. Although we won’t be seeing her on screen, the filmmakers can’t just stick some excuse like, “Leia went on vacation,” in the opening crawl. Whatever they decide to do to get the character out of the movie, they need to do it respectfully. If they open the film with her funeral, then we need to hear some truly touching and poignant tributes from the other characters. When Paul Walker died during the production of the seventh Fast and Furious movie, Vin Diesel said that they would be going ahead with an eighth movie, because that’s what Walker wanted, and they would keep him closely in mind. He said that Furious 7 was “for Paul,” but The Fate of the Furious was “from Paul.” That’s the kind of respectful approach that the Star Wars team needs to take with Episode IX.
1. An actual ending
What the third and final chapter of this new sequel trilogy needs more than anything is an actual ending. Like, a definitive, absolute, proper ending. The filmmakers can’t leave behind any loose ends so that Disney can keep this thing going indefinitely. The great thing about the original trilogy when it ended with Return of the Jedi was that it left the door open for future stories to be told – but it also wrapped up its own narrative in a satisfying and conclusive way. It has to be the kind of ending where they can go ahead with another trilogy of movies if they want to, but it could still stand as a satisfying trilogy in its own right if, for whatever reason, Disney decided not to make any more. Let’s say that, for God knows what reason, Disney decided that they’d had enough of all the billions of dollars in profits and decided to call it a day on the whole Star Wars thing and stop making Star Wars movies after Episode IX. Episode IX has to be such a definite and sufficient ending to the trilogy that you wouldn’t mind ending it there. It has to be a conclusion that we’re happy with.