Lucasfilm is finally bringing the Skywalker Saga to a close - and it's definitely the right call. When moviegoers headed to the theater to watch Star Wars in 1977, they had no idea they were watching the first film in what would become a single 9-episode story, a box office juggernaut that would be grossing billions worldwide 50 years later.
But Disney and Lucasfilm are, of course, determined to ensure the Star Wars franchise will last another 50 years at least. That means they're currently charting the future of the franchise, deciding which ideas to greenlight and which to cancel. There have been recent missteps; The Last Jedi divided the fanbase, while poor marketing undermined Solo: A Star Wars Story's box office. That's causing Lucasfilm to carefully reappraise their plans for the future.
The latest news is that Lucasfilm is finally drawing a line under the Skywalker Saga, bringing this ongoing narrative to an end. It's a revelation that leaves that future of Star Wars itself in question; how will this franchise manage without Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa, or Harrison Ford's Han Solo? This revelation is generating intense debate among Star Wars fans, who are divided as to whether this is a good idea or not. Here's why we believe it is.
This Page: Episode IX Is Indeed the End
Next Page: Looking Beyond Episode IX
Yes, Star Wars Episode IX Is Definitely The End
The Star Wars franchise has always centered on the Skywalker bloodline. The Prequel Trilogy is the story of Anakin Skywalker's rise and fall; the Original Trilogy charts Luke's growth from would-be starfighter pilot to redeeming Jedi Knight; and the Sequel Trilogy is about the Skywalker legacy, with Kylo Ren inspired by Darth Vader, and Rey by Luke Skywalker. Lucasfilm has also begun releasing "A Star Wars Story" anthology films, but so far these have felt like side-stories, lacking the grandeur and scale of the Saga movies.
But every story has to come to a close. A recent press release has finally confirmed that Episode IX will be the "conclusion" of the entire Skywalker Saga. It's a decision that has taken Lucasfilm over two years to make. As far back as November 2016, president Kathleen Kennedy openly admitted there was "a conversation" taking place behind closed doors about whether or not the "episodes" should come to an end. As Kennedy pointed out in April last year, for her a compelling argument was that George Lucas himself had only planned to make nine "episodes."
There's a sense in which this is unsurprising. The Sequel Trilogy is essentially a story of the passing of the torch, with Han Solo dying in The Force Awakens and Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. Whatever Lucasfilm's original plans may have been, the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher means Leia Organa's story has to end in Episode IX as well. The stars of the Original Trilogy are being written out, and the ending of The Last Jedi saw Ben Solo commit himself to the dark side. Another redemption arc seems unlikely, so it's probable the Skywalker bloodline itself will be ended in Episode IX as well. When the Sequel Trilogy comes to a close, it looks as though there won't be any Skywalkers left. For all Lucasfilm has deliberated over the Skywalker Saga, it seems likely the story beats have made the decision for them.
Related: Star Wars: The Real Meaning Of The Skywalker Name
Star Wars Episode X Would Be Ridiculous
This is undeniably the right approach. Lovers of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe have already seen what would happen if Lucasfilm chose a different path, instead focusing on the Skywalker Dynasty. For all the Star Wars novels and comics tried to "expand" the galaxy, the relentless focus upon the Skywalkers and the Solos ultimately led to the galaxy feeling rather small. Every character mattered because of their relationship to the wider Skywalker bloodline, and every significant being was known to Luke, Leia, or their children. It felt as though everyone important in the galaxy orbited around this Skywalker dynasty.
Meanwhile, events that didn't feature the Skywalkers and the Solos just didn't feel important to the franchise's overarching narrative. Whenever anything of a truly galactic scale was going down, Luke, Han and Leia would be on hand; readers relegated everything else to side-stories. Making matters even worse, however hard Star Wars publisher Del Rey attempted to get readers to connect to the new characters, they found sales were always better if the heroes of the Original Trilogy were on hand. Readers just wouldn't move on, and the franchise's growth suffered as a result.
It's essential Lucasfilm avoid the same mistakes. Star Wars begins with the Skywalker dynasty, but it doesn't have to end with it; instead, it should grow from it. The films should do precisely what the old novels and comics attempted to do; they should "expand" the galaxy, introducing new concepts, new Force-abilities, previously unseen corners of the galaxy, new worlds and new races. Every one of George Lucas's Star Wars films added so many new ideas to the galaxy, and the ongoing movies should follow in his footsteps and do the same.
Next Page: The Future of the Star Wars Franchise
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019