Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker may end the “saga,” but it doesn’t end the world that is Star Wars. What might the future of the Galaxy look like after the events of this film?
Warning! Massive spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!
Love it, hate it, or simply “meh,” the latest Star Wars film represents as far ahead in the timeline of current canon as we have seen. A lot, and I mean a LOT, happens in this film, that can potentially have lasting ramifications for any projects that take place further ahead on the timeline.
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Questions are already being assessed as to how the movie gets to where it does, and if it leaves more to tell. Whether the Skywalker Saga ever gets an Episode X or not, at some point storytellers are going to delve into the aftermath of this tale.
How has the Galaxy changed for them?
The Sith are gone.
One of the more interesting reveals in TROS is the Sith Lords actually had people over whom they lorded. An apparent cult of followers on Exegol, building fleets. sending out hunters to find bodies of dead Sith Lords, making dagger-maps to find Sith relics. This is not some operation that has popped up since Vader through Palpatine down a shaft. This is the crux of the Sith threat hiding for millennia. Sure, just two Sith Lords, but a cult to work behind the scenes.
And now they’re gone. How much of the strife behind the scenes of Galactic politics has been due to the machinations of these Dark Side operatives?
Certainly this steps up during the era of the saga, but the Jedi were becoming bureaucrats and unrest was fomenting before the events of The Phantom Menace. Now that Exegol has fallen, what will it mean to a galaxy not to have them puppet mastering their way through the galaxy.
Assuming of course they ARE gone. The Force does seem to like balance. With a Jedi as powerful as Rey Skywalker, will a new rise of darkness be inevitable?
Rey’s Jedi Order.
Rey lays the legacy of the Skywalker’s to rest on Tatooine when she buries Luke and Leia’s saber, but she also takes the name, ready now to define a new legacy. We know there are other Force sensitives out there to be found: Broom Boy has brushed against this story in The Last Jedi already. Finn speficially has come to find his own resonance with the Force. It’s a big galaxy, and there will be others who need guidance.
Where will the new Jedi, the new students of Skywalker train? As the galaxy picks itself off from six decades or so of repeated wars and governmental collapses, what role will the new Jedi play in that reconstruction? Will they follow the Jedi of the now apocryphal Star Wars: Legacy and stay out of politics? It seems unlikely Rey is going to be a bystander as a new Galactic order rises. For that matter, what does that look like?
A New-New Republic?
When the Empire falls toward the end of Return of the Jedi, leadership in the Rebellion consists of people like Leia Organa and Mon Mothma. Both of them had been at least Senators before The Emperor dissolved the Senate in A New Hope. Mon Mothma was even a Republic Senator, who in deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith helps Padme and Bail Organa start the Rebel Alliance. In short, there were people who knew how to govern.
Now, we’re not so sure. Certainly someone from the New Republic has survived somewhere despite the attack on Hosnian Prime in The Force Awakens. Will former spice runner, hotshot flyboy, and Resistance General Poe Dameron play a role as the galaxy figures out how to move forward? Perhaps some of the leaders from the animated Star Wars: Resistance will play a role as well. The galaxy is bound to be chaotic for a while, and that will be a very fertile ground for stories.
One more thing about Finn.
The former First Order stormtrooper, at first a Han Solo-style reluctant hero in TFA and TLJ, comes out here (not as we expected; I see you Stormpilot fans) as being Force sensitive. The reveal echos the way Leia is shown to us in ESB and ROTJ with Finn able to sense the presence of other Sensitives. This certainly continues the “democratization of the Force” Rian Johnson championed in TLJ, but what if it is more than that?
Finn comes into his awakening in the presence of Rey, but primarily because he believes. Han tells him “It’s all true,” and as Finn sees things unfold around him and believes more strongly, he seems to become more attuned. What if TROS has taken the ultimate democratization of The Force, and anyone literally can be a Force user? Faith opens the pathway to allow one to experience it. Yes, there are those who have some natural affinity, but could believing also truly make it so?
It would certainly explain why the Emperor was so keen to destroy even basic knowledge of the Jedi or the Force. If anyone can will themselves into some type of power, it is the spread of Jedi legends, as we see with Broom Boy and his friends, that will propagate their light.
Though Sith legends would also propagate the dark.
Whatever direction future creators intend to go in, the current state of the Galaxy is ripe for new stories and even new types of stories, firmly rooted in the events of the Saga. The in-universe years following the end of The Rise of Skywalker are new ground, and without the mythic cycle of Skywalker rise-fall-redemption driving events, new myths and legacies will doubtless rise.
However, does anyone doubt that a couple of decades in our future some bright young director might not talk Daisy Ridley or John Boyega into reuniting for the a new Skywalker trilogy? Until then though, it’s a big galaxy, and the possibilities are endless.
The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now. Star Wars: Resistance is in its final season. The author is looking for advance tickets to the 2038 release of Star Wars Episode X. Where else might the galaxy go now? Sound off below!