Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi sets up what will be one of the most significant events ever in the Star Wars: the End. The J.J. Abrams-directed Episode IX, of course, marks the the conclusion of this current trilogy, but based on Episode VIII could feasibly also wrap up Star Wars as fans have come to know it. And, just maybe, an end to the Skywalker family story may be for the best.
Director Rian Johnson already brought the story of Luke Skywalker to a close in Episode VIII, with the last Jedi returning from a self-imposed exile to help his sister Leia at her time of need and confront his former apprentice Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. Carrie Fisher's tragic death also raises a question as to whether Leia will appear in any fashion in Episode IX.
While Luke himself has become one with the Force and could appear as an apparition in Episode IX, the thrust of the story is in the hands of trilogy's young heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. In whatever form Rey's ultimate confrontation with Kylo Ren will take place, this resolution should lead to the grand finale of the Skywalker Saga, especially if Kylo Ren, the last character possessing Skywalker blood (that we know of), dies at the end.
THE SINS OF THE SKYWALKERS DOMINATE STAR WARS
It all began with a little slave boy who was born by the will of the Force on the desert planet of Tatooine. The crux of the main cycle of Star Wars movies is and has always been the Skywalker family, beginning with its patriarch, Anakin Skywalker. The Prequel Trilogy was about the rise and fall of the Jedi Knight as he succumbed to the Dark Side of the Force and became Darth Vader. The Original Trilogy centered around the adventures of his son Luke Skywalker as he accepted his destiny to become a Jedi Knight and redeem his father, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.
The consequences of Vader, even decades after his redemption and death, carry over into the current trilogy and are personified by his grandson Kylo Ren, who followed in Vader's evil footsteps, as well as in Luke's role in Kylo's fall to the Dark Side. Three generations of Skywalkers who are powerful with the Force have reshaped the galaxy by their actions - especially Vader, who was instrumental in wiping out the Jedi and helping Emperor Palpatine rule the galaxy for decades.
Palpatine's machinations and lust for power sparked two wars: the Clone Wars, where he fashioned the Empire out of the Republic, and the Galactic Civil War, which saw the Rebel Alliance trying to bring down his new order. Vader's daughter Leia led the Rebellion in the latter war, and once more took up arms and formed a Resistance against the ambitions of conquest by Empire's successor, the First Order.
Since then, Luke and Leia have devoted their entire lives to undoing the incalculable damage their father and now Leia's son Ben/Kylo Ren have inflicted on the galaxy, and both have lost loved ones along the way. "Too many losses," as Leia herself sadly reflected in The Last Jedi.
While it's easy to see this running forever, following the latest entry it feels like Episode IX needs to definitively resolve the legacy of evil inherited from grandfather to grandson lest all of the sacrifices and struggles of the generation in between were for nothing. And that means dealing with the last Skywalker scion, Ben Solo.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019