J.J. did it. Over 10 years after Revenge of the Sith concluded George Lucas’s divisive prequel trilogy, J.J. Abrams has given us what is being widely hailed as the best Star Wars installment since the films of the original trilogy. With a story and visual style that recall the franchise’s glory days, Star Wars: The Force Awakens manages to avoid many of the issues that plagued the reworked versions of the original trilogy and prequel trilogy, such as tedious dialogue, an overreliance on artificial-looking CGI characters, and controversial changes to the saga’s mythology (like the reworked cantina scene with Han and Greedo, or the introduction of quasi-scientific midi-chlorians).
Of course, just because Star Wars: The Force Awakens outshone the previous three Star Wars films doesn’t mean that it was completely flawless. Like any Star Wars film — good or bad — The Force Awakens left fundamental questions about many characters’ histories and motivations unanswered. Keeping that in mind, here are five things we would like to see explained or expanded on in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
1. Luke Skywalker’s side of the story
One of the many ways in which The Force Awakens met or exceeded fans’ expectations was its masterful blending of the old with the new. By integrating the storylines of new characters like Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren with the storylines of well-known characters like Leia, Han Solo, and Luke, The Force Awakens managed to feel familiar, yet new. However, while viewers got a general idea of what happened to Han Solo and Leia following the events of Return of the Jedi, Luke’s storyline still remains mostly a mystery. All we really know about Luke is that he vanished after his apprentice (Ben Solo) was seduced by the Dark Side and turned into Kylo Ren.
At the end of The Force Awakens, Rey finds Luke on a remote planet and presents him with his lightsaber. And that’s it. Luke doesn’t speak a single word and we don’t even know if he takes the lightsaber from Rey. Obviously, there are still many questions to be answered about Luke’s storyline – especially when it comes to his history with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. We hope that many of those answers will be provided in Episode VIII. At the very least, we hope the next installment will give Luke some spoken lines.
2. More about Captain Phasma
Much like Boba Fett in the original trilogy, the mysterious Captain Phasma was introduced in The Force Awakens with very few details known about her background. In fact, we probably wouldn’t even know Captain Phasma’s gender if we didn’t already know that the character was being played by Gwendoline Christie (of Game of Thrones fame). What we do know about Captain Phasma is that she had far too little screen time for someone with armor that stylish. Only briefly seen during the slaughter of villagers on Jakku, Captain Phasma is later captured by Han Solo and Finn, forced to deactivate Starkiller Base’s shields, and abruptly dumped into a trash compactor.
But who is she and where did she get that awesome silver Stormtrooper armor? Besides the mystery of her origins, Captain Phasma is also a bit of an enigma when it comes to her motivations. Many fans have noted that Phasma gave in to Han and Finn’s demands far too easily for someone who is ostensibly a high-ranking commander in the First Order. Could Captain Phasma be a secret Republic sympathizer? At this point it’s anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping that she made it out of the trash compactor and will play a much bigger role in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
3. The story behind the Knights of Ren
As revealed in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren was previously known as Ben Solo, and his new surname is widely believed to be derived from the Knights of Ren, a shadowy organization that seems to idolize Darth Vader. One of Rey’s lightsaber-triggered visions even appears to show the Knights of Ren as a group of similarly dressed warriors standing with Kylo Ren amid a rain-soaked battlefield littered with bodies. Assuming that these warriors actually are the Knights of Ren, it raises all sorts of questions about how the group was formed and what its ultimate purpose is. In Rey’s vision, it appears that the only knight with a lightsaber is Kylo Ren, which suggests that the other knights may not even have Force abilities. But if the Knights of Ren are not Sith, then where did they come from and what makes them so powerful? And what is their relationship to Luke? Hopefully, Episode VIII will give us the answers to at least some of these questions.
4. Rey’s family history
Much like Luke was in A New Hope, Rey is a character with a mysterious family background who is struggling to find her place in the galaxy. As noted by MoviePilot, fan theories about who Rey’s father might be range from the straightforward (Luke Skywalker) to the convoluted (a hypothetical son of Obi-Wan Kenobi). Perhaps the only absent Jedi Knight father Rey hasn’t been linked to is Yoda. Of course, even assuming that Rey is Luke’s daughter, this still leaves us with the mystery of who her mother is. It is also possible that she is unrelated to any of the Force-strong families we are familiar with. In any case, we hope that Episode VIII sheds some light on Rey’s parentage. Who knows? Maybe a shocking revelation on par with Darth Vader’s famous line in The Empire Strikes Back is in the works.
5. Just a little less fan service
As previously noted, The Force Awakens did an admirable job of repurposing many of the themes and characters found in the original trilogy. Since The Force Awakens was the first true Star Wars sequel (not prequel) to be released since 1983’s Return of the Jedi, it makes sense that it would include plenty of callbacks to the original trilogy. From the planet-destroying Starkiller Base, to the orphaned hero stranded on a desert planet, The Force Awakens featured many familiar story elements that longtime fans could appreciate. And while that storytelling strategy worked well for the first installment, it would be disappointing (and a little boring) if Episode VIII followed suit and tried to hit every story beat found in The Empire Strikes Back. In other words, we hope the next installment in the new trilogy takes us into uncharted Star Wars territory, with new themes and unfamiliar storylines.
Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi is scheduled to land in theaters on December 17, 2017.
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