Star Wars: Episode IX will conclude both Disney’s Sequel Trilogy and the Skywalker Saga, but it should go even further - and end the Jedi and the Sith. The two warring factions of Force-users have helped define the franchise, but to fully realize the end of it all, both need to go... just as Luke Skywalker said.
Since 1977, we’ve seen a number of Jedi and Sith. From Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader to Luke vs. Emperor Palpatine, and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan against Darth Maul to Yoda vs. Count Dooku, these battles have helped shape Star Wars. It goes beyond those individuals too: from Darth Bane’s ‘Rule of Two’ to the Jedi Council’s (mis)understanding of balance, they’ve determined our knowledge and understanding of the Force itself.
Rumor has it that Episode IX could be called Balance of the Force. It’s a great idea for a title, but for true balance to be achieved - which would be a fitting finale to the Skywalker Saga - then both the Jedi and Sith have to end.
- This Page: The Last Jedi's Idea of Ending the Jedi and the Sith
- Page 2: How Destroying Both Sides Can Bring Balance to the Force
Why Luke Wanted To End The Jedi
“It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Luke’s words in The Last Jedi sent shockwaves around the Star Wars fandom when the trailer first dropped. Episode VIII added a lot more context to that controversial point, clarifying Luke’s position. He’d bore witness to the damage done by both sides of the Jedi/Sith dichotomy. It wasn’t just that one was good and one evil; they both used and manipulated the Force in ways they shouldn’t. For the Jedi, it was their hubris that blinded them from seeing this enlightened path, with the end result being another young student turning towards the Dark Side. It was his failure, but also a failure of the entire Jedi Order.
Through Luke, The Last Jedi took us deeper into the Force as an all-encompassing thing. Yes, there was Light and Darkness, but more importantly, there was balance. For as long as there are Jedi, true balance seemingly cannot be achieved; their existence tips the scale too far in one direction. Even with the Sith around, there’s a push and pull that means it will always be too far in one direction.
That’s why Luke wanted to end the Jedi. To his mind, the Sith were gone. It was only the Jedi who were keeping the Force from being balanced. He’d somewhat change his mind by the end of the film, declaring that he would not be the last Jedi. That made sense in context, but he was also right in his earlier point: the Jedi should indeed end. No one order has a right to the Force. It shouldn't be defined by extremes, but by the middle.
The Sith Are Gone (But Not Really)
So far in the Sequel Trilogy, we haven’t actually seen a Sith Lord. This distinguishes it from the previous trilogies: the Originals had Vader and Palpatine; the Prequels had Maul, Tyranus, and Sidious. The new movies have Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren: both very powerful Force-users, but neither actually Sith. That line was ended when Vader killed Palpatine, and returned to the Light Side as Anakin Skywalker before dying.
Except, of course, that Kylo Ren is basically on his way to becoming a Sith. He’s already got the Vader-inspired look and the impressive power-set. He and Snoke largely followed the Master-Apprentice dynamic established by the Rule of Two. They held to the Dark Side of the Force, and wanted to destroy Luke Skywalker. In The Last Jedi, he then performed what’s been a hallmark of Sith Lords through the years: turned against and killed his master.
Now he’s in charge of the First Order, and intent on ruling the galaxy. He might have told Rey to let the past die, but asking her to join him fit with the Dark Side order's ancient ways. Kylo Ren is now about as close as one can get to being a Sith without officially being labeled as such, and there’s even a chance Episode IX will officially give him the title too.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019