With the release of The Rise of Skywalker – the final installment of the Skywalker Saga – just a month away, it’s time to explore what we want to see in what might be the last chapter of the cinematic Star Wars universe.
- No Last Jedi retconning
Rian Johnson’s Star War may be the most controversial of the bunch, splitting opinion across the webisphere and causing some more vocal fans to call for the movie to be scrapped and remade altogether. While some of the movie is slow at parts and yes, certain story threats could have been more tightly focused on beats set up in The Force Awakens (don’t worry, we’ll get to those), the film’s Big Decisions were a welcome departure from the tried-and-tired Star Wars formula.
Namely, we’re talking about the decision to make Rey’s parents junk traders, feeding nicely into the film’s theme that anybody can be strong with the force. Don’t shoehorn a Skywalker/Palpatine/Kenobi lineage in please, J.J.
- Give the Knights of Ren some love
The Force Awakens may have been a bit disappointing in its decision to retread story beats from the Original Trilogy and essentially reset the Republic and the Empire/First Order to the positions they held at the start of A New Hope, but the franchise’s reboot showed promise in possible directions the sequel trilogy might still take.
The shadowy Knights of Ren in particular formed the core of much fan speculation, as an army of dark side users is something that we’ve never seen in Silver Screen Star Wars. Would they be Jedi hunters, like Rebels’ Inquisitors, vanquishing hope from all corners of the galaxy? Awakens never showed us, and Jedi side-stepped this new threat altogether (thankfully, Johnson opted for Kylo and Ren to slaughter Snoke’s Praetorian Guard, resisting the temptation to shoehorn the Knights into his film).
With The Rise of Skywalker’s trailer showing off Kylo’s followers, we know they’ll be getting some screen time in the latest installment, but we still want to know about them; namely, their motivations, origins, and powers. We just hope that they won’t become disposable characters just inserted to wrap up loose ends.
- Don’t botch Palpatine
We’ve known for a while now Palpatine, a.k.a The Emperor, Star Wars’ Big Bad, will return for a while now, with J.J. Abrams recently indicating that this was the plan all along. Bar a musical queue evoking Revenge of the Sith’s infamous opera scene in Episode VII and Luke Skywalker name-dropping Palpatine in VIII, however, there has been no real indication of the Emperor’s return anywhere.
There has been much speculation about how the Emperor will return (Matt Smith’s long-rumoured Dark Side acolyte?), but what we really want to know is why: this has to come out of the story; shoehorning in the Prequel and Original Trilogies’ overarching villain into a sub-series that has largely felt like an afterthought will only serve to butcher one of cinema’s most iconic and enduring villains.
- Who was Snoke?
After his untimely death in The Last Jedi, many fans now consider Snoke’s origins redundant; and while he may be another Boba Fett-/Captain Phasma-esque example of unfulfilled potential, Snoke’s presence still looms large over the Sequel Trilogy and many questions about him remain unanswered. For instance, how did he seduce Kylo Ren while he was still training under Luke: was he a friend of the Skywalkers all along?
We have our own theory about this one in light of Palpatine’s confirmed return: Snoke knew what he was doing all along, provoking Kylo to cut him down in order to complete his conversion to the Dark Side by making way for a second Sith Lord as according to the Rule of Two, but maybe we just don’t want his character to have gone to waste. The Rise of Skywalker has too much to do to spend too much time on a now deceased character, but it will be great for an in-film, canonical explanation of who Snoke was to put our minds at rest.
- Jar Jar’s Redemption
He may be Star Wars’ most hated character, but his creator George Lucas definitely embraced this status, making Jar Jar complicit (accidentally or because all the rumours of him being a secret Sith were true) in the fall of the Republic. Jar Jar shouldn’t be given too much screen time, but in a series largely obsessed with the Original Trilogy it will be nice to see some genuine Prequel love, giving that entire era of Star Wars a major endorsement. With lots of ships cropping up to help out what’s left of the Resistance, a slight nod to the Gungans wouldn’t go amiss. The species was introduced in the first episode of the Saga and Star Wars is all about symmetry, after all.
- The Rise of Anakin
We can admit that Jar Jar’s presence on our wishlist might be a bit fan-servicey, but this one will make sense for the story. The Prequel Era introduced the concept of the ‘Chosen One’ who was supposed to ‘bring balance to the Force’, whatever that means; supposedly, Anakin had done this by killing the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. But the Force has certainly been thrown out of peace, and with the Emperor back, we can assume that balance has been upset. If Kylo Ren is ever going to be redeemed, who better to persuade him to see the error in his ways than the man he idolises – Darth Vader himself. (Also, the original concept art of a half-Hayden Christensen, half-helmet Anakin/Vader Force Ghost was so freaking cool.)
- Justification for the sequel trilogy’s existence
This one’s a bit more abstract and harder to pin down but, as alluded to earlier, the Sequel trilogy upset the finality and conclusion apparent in Episode VI by essentially resetting the galaxy to its pre-A New Hope position. We get it; wars come and go, and victories against tyrannical regimes don’t usually last long, but The Force Awakens definitely committed a cinematic cardinal sin by undoing plot and character development (did Han and Leia really have to be split up?) The Rise of Skywalker has the gargantuan task of not only concluding the Saga yet again, but also providing a justification of why the conclusion was upset in the first place – besides from Disney just wanting to make tonnes of money, of course. We don’t know how J.J. will pull this one off, but it will be interesting to how the Skywalker Saga will conclude nonetheless – if it really is concluding at all.