6 Things We Want to See in Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX
Whether you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams‘ new take on Star Wars or not, there’s no denying that Episode VII, The Force Awakens, has been a resounding hit. And now that it’s had time to settle into our collective consciousness a bit, we can start looking forward to how Disney may round out their new trilogy, in Rian Johnson‘s Episode VIII and Colin Trevorrow‘s Episode IX. Here are some paths we at Flickchart would like to see the trilogy take.
If, for some reason, you’re one of the five people who hasn’t seen The Force Awakens yet, go buy a ticket, and come back after you have. HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.
1. A Unique Back Story for Rey
There are currently two primary theories about who Rey is: Luke’s daughter or Kylo Ren’s twin sister. Everything in me is praying, Please, please, please don’t make her Kylo Ren’s twin. The first movie in this new trilogy could get away with being a loving homage (or remake, depending on your take) of A New Hope. That was a smart tactical move to reassure the fans that someone with love and nostalgia for the original story was at the helm. It helped regain trust after the messy prequels. But the filmmakers will only hold my trust if they branch out and don’t just keep retelling the old familiar story. I want to see new characters in new situations, not just new characters reenacting things I’ve already seen. We’ve already gotten a “Surprise! The main characters are twins!” moment in the original trilogy, and attempting to insert it again in later episodes would feel cheap and unoriginal. The homage is over. Now it’s time to go on to new and exciting places with the story, to create more connections that we don’t see coming. Although I suspect Rey will turn out to be Luke’s daughter, my personal favorite theory makes her Obi-Wan’s granddaughter. But, really, I’d just be happy if she wasn’t a surprise twin, an unsatisfying imitation of the original Luke and Leia twist. – Hannah Keefer
2. No More Death Stars
This follows the same reasoning behind Hannah’s take above. Actually carving it out of a planet and having it draw energy by directly draining a sun doesn’t really make Starkiller Base any less of a Death Star. Which, again, was fine as homage to the original trilogy, but it’s time for the villains to do something different. Meaning, we need some kind of galactic threat that’s not just another planet-mulching superweapon. The Force Awakens already mined the now-defunct Expanded Universe novels when they created Kylo Ren – Han and Leia’s son (with a twin sister?) who turns to the dark side, even taking the name, Ben, that Luke gave to his son in the novels. So why not take another cue from the books and come up with a Big Bad that has something more to it than “that’s no moon”? An extragalactic invading army like the wonderfully scary Yuuzhan Vong of the New Jedi Order series might not jive with the already-established First Order, but even sticking with the “superweapon” motif can be handled in different ways. One thing’s for sure: Just making it bigger isn’t necessarily better, narrative “rhyming” be damned. – Nigel Druitt
3. No Love Triangle
By making the lead character, the soon-to-be Jedi, the orphan who is called to adventure, a woman instead of a man, The Force Awakens has reversed the gender roles of the original trilogy. Yet one thing is still the same: our trio of heroes still consists of one woman (Rey) and two men (Finn and Poe). Either of them could be her brother, Poe could recede into the background, a fourth helper for Rey might emerge, but if this trio holds steady in the second and third films I’m afraid it can only mean one thing: love triangle. In The Empire Strikes Back Leia and Han’s romance blossomed, but not before Leia kissed Luke on Hoth to prove a point. I don’t care to see that pattern repeat. It’s cliche, and we’ve seen it shoehorned into enough sequels already – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to name two lackluster examples. Episode VII quickly established Rey and Finn as an item, for better or for worse, so the last thing I want to see in Episode VIII is Rey and Poe get thrown together. – David Conrad
4. More Practical Effects
It’s great to see the Star Wars saga moving forward (with old friends and exciting new characters), but one of the main reasons The Force Awakens hangs together with the original trilogy so well was a renewed emphasis on practical effects. As we continue the journey, I hope the filmmakers understand the many positive impacts of using practical effects. When you set the story in a real place (and not just in front of a green screen) the actors are more believable and you heighten the sense that we are actually “there” (whether “there” is a sandy desert planet, or inside a giant space ship, or deep in a snow-covered forest). When the characters are physically on the set, the interactions are more genuine, and there is something about the way the light hits everything in the same way that is difficult to achieve with CGI (and when your eyes aren’t completely fooled it takes your mind out of the movie). The positive benefits aren’t just visual: the constraints of using practical effects force the writers into inventive narrative techniques and inject creativity into scenes that could otherwise be “solved” with CGI (the so-called easy way out). A few of the mis-steps in The Force Awakens stem from characters that didn’t have to be CGI. The Rathtars (tentacled cousins of the Sarlacc) on Han Solo’s freighter were too obviously CGI (and the sequence ended up more like a video game as a result). Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong’o via motion-capture) was a fine character but her appearance was distractingly CGI Yoda-like (compare with the puppet Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back). It remains to be seen whether the giant holographic form of Snoke (played by Andy Serkis via motion-capture) relates to a character whose form necessitates the use of CGI. The Force Awakens avoided many of the mistakes of the prequel trilogy (both visually and story-wise) and hopefully the remaining films in the new trilogy carry the practical effects torch and run with it. – Ben Shoemaker
5. The Evolution of Kylo Ren
The reveal of Adam Driver‘s face underneath the Kylo Ren mask has been one of the more divisive points for viewers of The Force Awakens. While some have appreciated the bait and switch of this character, others have criticized the film for the lack of developed or menacing villains. How quickly viewers of the original trilogy forget that Darth Vader was far from nuanced in A New Hope and only received later development in Empire. That said, Kylo’s arc of being a somewhat bratty villain worked very well for me. The resolution of his arc in The Force Awakens should be a key plot development moving into the next Episodes. I hope to see Adam Driver add more menace to the character and show that Kylo has truly embraced the dark side. A more calm, controlled, and ultimately more menacing villain is definitely needed in order to not cheapen his development from Episode VII or deprive the audience of a true villain in later installments. I have no doubt that this will occur in VIII, and I look forward to Driver’s ability to advance his character. – Connor Adamson
6. Luke Skywalker Brings a Reckoning
At the end of The Force Awakens, we’re left with a cliffhanger of almost the purest form. Rey, holding Luke’s lightsaber outstretched to Luke, on the top of a cliff. Filmed somewhere in Scotland, I imagine. But the expression on Luke’s face tells more than words could. He’s intentionally secluded himself, hidden away his weapon (how’d that turn up in Maz’s possession by the way?), blaming himself for how Kylo Ren turned out. As he looks upon Rey’s outstretched arm, we see pain, sadness and a hint of inevitability. I feel that somehow he knew this day was coming, but has dreaded it every day. That’s why, in the upcoming entries, I want to see Luke developing into the sort of character that, despite his deepest wishes, has no choice but to take up his lightsaber and enter the fray himself, with explosive results. One of the prerelease theories surrounding Luke’s seclusion regards the concept of Luke becoming too powerful and becoming a threat to those around him – part of me still wants that to partially be true. At the end of Jedi, Luke still has a long way to go before becoming the Jedi Master we all know him to be. I would love to see his power come to fruition and show the First Order why they need to fear the light side of the force. – Jeff Lombardi
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already the highest-ranked film of 2015 on Flickchart. How did it rank for you? And in what directions would you like to see the saga head in future installments? Let us know in the comments below!
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