Trek to Episode IX: What J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek tells us about The Rise of Skywalker

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Star Wars Celebration
Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Photo: David James..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. /

In The Force Awakens we are introduced to Rey, a young scavenger on the planet Jakku who, as the story moves forward, we realize has a destiny.

She has felt something greater within her, and in spite of humble origins may indeed be destined for greatness. By the end of the follow up, The Last Jedi, her power is more realized, and she is ready to step forward, described even by Luke Skywalker as the eponymous “Last Jedi.”

Similarly, James Kirk is someone who has humble origins as a boy raised by his uncle in Iowa, his father was killed the day of his birth, and his mother constantly away with Starfleet. He is ready to be what Captain Pike describes as a “genius level repeat offender” when Kirk takes Pike’s offer to join Starfleet and by the end of the film finds himself in command of the Federation flagship, the Starship Enterprise.

When Into Darkness begins, however, we see that Kirk is a little too comfortable a little too quickly in that center seat, and after bending the rules until they break, loses his command. Though circumstances get him back on the bridge fairly quickly, his character arc for the rest of the film is learning to deal with the consequences of command when it goes wrong.

This may give us a clue to Rey in Episode IX; a recurring complaint has been she has become too skilled too quickly, a critique of the Kirk character in the ’09 Trek  as well.

Perhaps Abrams will see the need to season the young Jedi a little more with hardship, similar to the struggles James Kirk has to overcome in STID.  This would not only create the echo with Trek, but also provide a thematic “rhyme” with Luke’s journey in Return of the Jedi.