With the release of the first teaser trailer and the film’s release confirmed for the end of the year, hype for “The Last Jedi” has begun to build and everyone is now speculating on what “Episode VIII” will feature and where it will ultimately take the “Star Wars” saga next. Beyond the speculation though, many fans also have a variety of character moments and plot points that they want to see shown on screen.
Many of these ideas would not only improve the film dramatically but could also be considered a requirement due to the expectations created by the first two “Star Wars” trilogies and also the previous entry, “The Force Awakens.” From Rey and Snoke’s origins to an Anakin and Obi-Wan cameo, here are 15 things that need to happen in “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.”
SPOILER WARNING for “Star Wars” Episodes I through VII.
15. BE ORIGINAL / NO MORE FAN SERVICE
As fun as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” were, both films suffered from an over-abundance of fan service and references that ultimately made them feel like big budget fan films instead of legitimate entries in the “Star Wars” franchise. “The Force Awakens” drew so much inspiration from story elements in “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” that even the biggest of the film’s defenders will admit that many parts of it felt redundant.
“Rogue One” on the other hand had a significantly more original script, but was weighed down by so many cameos from other “Star Wars” films that by the time C3PO and R2D2 showed up, viewers simply groaned. What’s even worse is that both “Rogue One” and “The Force Awakens” closed with shots made entirely to make fans squeal rather than finish the stories they were trying to tell, with the former resting entirely on a cameo by Princess Leia and the latter closing on a silent shot of Luke Skywalker rather than finish in a more natural way. These movies were made by fans for fans, yet ironically, that’s not what many fans want.
14. BIGGER LIGHTSABER FIGHTS
The lightsaber fight between Kylo Ren, Rey and Finn in “The Force Awakens” was powerful, emotional, and entertaining, but for “The Last Jedi,” any new fight sequences desperately need to be larger, have more complex choreography, and bigger stakes. In “The Force Awakens,” Kylo Ren had been severely injured by Chewbacca while Rey was completely untrained in lightsaber combat. The understated choreography made sense but they can’t do this again simply because Kylo Ren would have healed by the time of “The Last Jedi” and Rey is expected to have learned some Jedi combat skills from Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To.
Another reason the Lightsaber fights need to up their game in “The Last Jedi” is because viewers would have seen just how athletic and epic they can be in “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” Trained Jedi can use The Force to run faster, jump higher, push and throw objects, and throw and absorb lightning. Even Luke used The Force to jump out of the carbon freeze chamber in “The Empire Strikes Back” — no reason Rey can’t use similar abilities.
13. RETURN OF THE JEDI
One of the best things about the “Star Wars” franchise is that it allows for the return of characters who had died in previous storylines thanks to the existence of Force ghosts. With the exception of “The Phantom Menace,” these spirits of deceased Force users have had a presence in all of the main “Star Wars” films and have at times had a major impact on the main characters as was seen with Obi-Wan Kenobi guiding Luke in the original trilogy.
With the death of Anakin Skywalker in “Return of the Jedi” and the establishment of his successful transition to being a Force ghost during that film’s closing montage, the return of The Chosen One is something that not only makes sense for future “Star Wars” movies but is also something that is expected. “The Last Jedi’s” seems to focus on the nature of The Force and the Jedi, Rey’s possible link to the Skywalker family tree. At the same time, Hayden Christensen is still very much alive, still looks as young as he did when he filmed “Revenge of the Sith,” and recently made an appearance during Star Wars Celebration. So right now, anything is possible!
12. OBI-WAN AND YODA
With the potential for Anakin Skywalker to return as a Force ghost in “The Last Jedi,” it would be odd not to bring back Obi-Wan and Yoda as well. Both of these fallen Jedi have already been established as maintaining their individuality after death in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and each character could be heard speaking to Rey in her Force vision in “The Force Awakens.” There’s no reason why Obi-Wan and Yoda wouldn’t communicate with Rey again, especially as she trains with Luke and becomes more tuned to The Force.
With hints at their return in “The Force Awakens,” not featuring them in “The Last Jedi” would be a huge disappointment. Yoda would be easy to incorporate into the film as a puppet or CGI creation like in the prequels, and Ewan McGregor could reprise the role of Obi-Wan with make-up that could age him realistically. The filmmakers could even use CGI to make him look like Alec Guinness in a similar way to what was done with Tarkin and Leia in “Rogue One.” Obi-Wan and Yoda need to be in “The Last Jedi.”
11. LEIA AND THE FORCE
Ever since Leia’s Force sensitivity was hinted at back in “Empire,” fans have been longing for the former princess to further develop her powers and learn how to wield a lightsaber so she can fight alongside her twin brother. When “The Force Awakens” finally came out, though, many were disappointed to see that, while she possessed some level of Force telepathy, the character really hadn’t progressed much in the ways of The Force at all. What’s arguably worse is that there was even an unreleased deleted scene in the film which featured Maz giving Leia a lightsaber and encouraging her to develop her skills more.
While this scene never made it into the special features of the film’s home release, glimpses of it can be seen in the second “Force Awakens” teaser. “The Last Jedi” needs to pick up this abandoned subplot especially now that any major character development for Leia is off the table for “Episode IX” due to Carrie Fisher’s untimely death.
10. MORE CREATIVE PLANETS
“The Force Awakens” may have been a fun movie but there’s no denying that it featured some of the least memorable planets ever shown in the entire “Star Wars” saga. Jakku was too visually similar to Tatooine to have its own unique identity, Takodana was basically just a forest, and Starkiller Base really just served as a generic snow planet. The two planets with the most potential in the film were Hosnian Prime and Ahch-To, but one of these was destroyed and the other was only shown on screen for a few minutes (though will be featured more in the next film).
“The Last Jedi” needs to succeed where “The Force Awakens” failed and bring the creativity back to “Star Wars” planets. Give viewers some more of the alien beauty as was seen on Naboo and Bespin or the extreme conditions shown on Mustafar. “The Last Jedi” could even bring to life some of the visually impressive planets from the animated “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” TV series such as Mandalore, Malachor or Moraband. “Star Wars” planets are only limited by an artist’s imagination.
9. GIVE POE SOMETHING TO DO
Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron was one of the more entertaining characters introduced to “Star Wars” fans in “The Force Awakens,” but as fun as he was, this Resistance Starfighter Corps commander wasn’t exactly given a lot of depth or background. Sure, his enthusiasm was contagious and he made a significant portion of the audience swoon more than once, but as he stands right now, Poe is pretty much a blank slate of a creation that could be written in a variety of directions.
“The Last Jedi” should play a major role in further defining this character in much the same way “Empire” added depth and nuance to Luke, Han and Leia and “Attack of the Clones” did to Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme. Could Poe Dameron move up the ranks to become a general like Han Solo or does he have a more villainous destiny like Anakin Skywalker? There are a lot of directions that “The Last Jedi” could take him in. The last thing any character needs in a sequel is more of the same.
8. THE TWINS
After Luke and Leia were revealed to be twins in “Return of the Jedi,” it was a frustrating experience to watch “The Force Awakens” and find out that these two iconic characters had been denied a chance to interact on screen and truly explore their new sibling dynamic, let alone explore their connection to The Force, something that runs strong in their family.
With the unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher and the confirmation that Leia would not be appearing in “Episode IX,” “The Last Jedi” has now become the last place where fans could potentially see the two together and if this doesn’t happen here, odds are it never will; at least not in a live action “Star Wars” movie. “The Last Jedi” needs to explore Luke and Leia’s family dynamic. Literally being worlds apart may be an interesting plot point but there needs to be an in-person reunion before the end credits begin rolling. The fans and characters deserve it.
7. GENUINE PLOT TWISTS
Ever since Darth Vader said the words, “I am your father” in “The Empire Strikes Back,” viewers have come to expect some sort of family-related revelation in their “Star Wars” movies. Indeed, most of the saga’s films have delivered on this expectation with “Return of the Jedi” revealing Luke and Leia to be twins, “The Phantom Menace” stating that Anakin had no father, “Revenge of the Sith” suggesting that Palpatine could have created Anakin, and “The Force Awakens” confirming that Kylo Ren was the son of Han and Leia.
While there’s bound to be some sort of family tree revelation involving Rey in “The Last Jedi,” the problem is that everyone’s expecting this. The eighth main “Star Wars” film needs to surprise audience members in another way with a plot twist that they won’t see coming and aren’t expecting. This twist could be a character switching sides or maybe even the death of a main character. Most people are expecting Luke, Leia, or Chewbacca to pass by the end of “Episode IX” but what if Rey, Finn or Poe were killed off instead? That would definitely surprise everyone and give the franchise a sense of unpredictability it’s sorely lacking.
6. SNOKE’S ORIGIN
The appearance of Supreme Leader Snoke in “The Force Awakens” was obviously a throwback to the Emperor in “The Empire Strikes Back,” but with no main saga films set between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” to explain who he is and where he came from, like the prequels did for Palpatine, Snoke’s full story will have to be told in “The Last Jedi” or at the very least in “Episode IX.”
This new sequel trilogy of “Star Wars” movies can’t go on with a main villain who’s just evil for evil’s sake. What species of alien is he? Where does he come from? It’s suggested that he was alive before the rise of The Empire but was he just hiding in the shadows or did he play an important role in the fall of the Jedi and the Republic? Is he related in any way to Emperor Palpatine? Audiences deserve concrete answers on screen and not in a novel or comic book.
5. FINN’S EVOLUTION
The character of Finn was something that hadn’t been seen in a “Star Wars” movie before; a Stormtrooper on the side of the good guys. With the basic premise of the character now established, “The Last Jedi” needs to take him to the next level and evolve him into someone that’s not just a bad guy who turned good but also a character that has a new path and a destiny of his own that he needs to fulfil.
Like Luke in the original trilogy or even Anakin in the prequels, Finn needs to grow into a radically different character by the time of “Episode IX” to help make him a truly memorable addition to the “Star Wars” franchise and “The Last Jedi” is the ideal place (also the only place) where this first step can be taken. Did his injury in “The Force Awakens” result in some cybernetic implants? How did this affect him psychologically? Is he still suffering from PTSD? Could he even be destined to become a villain? After all, he switched sides easily enough once before. The last thing audiences want is for a character to remain static.
4. WHAT IS THE FIRST ORDER?
While “The Force Awakens” was generally well-received, for many viewers, the film was still rather confusing, even after repeat viewings, due to the ambiguous nature of the new villains, The First Order. This new group of baddies appeared to be a new branch of The Empire but wasn’t The Empire destroyed in “Return of the Jedi?” For a seventh episode in an ongoing film series, “The Force Awakens” was rather jarring and made many people feel like they had missed some piece of vital information.
Sure, bits of information were detailed in some of the new “Star Wars” novels but a film needs to stand on its own, especially for one in a franchise with such a big casual audience. “The Last Jedi” can correct this confusion caused by “The Force Awakens” by explaining in detail what exactly The First Order is and how it was formed. Someone needs to confirm that The Empire did indeed fall after “Return of the Jedi” and that these guys are a different group entirely because right now a lot of people assume that the victory at the end of “Jedi” was all for nothing.
3. MORE CGI ALIENS AND CREATURES
One of the biggest disappointments of “The Force Awakens” was the aliens. The focus on practical over special effects, that was heavily promoted by almost everyone involved with the film before its release, did admittedly allow for some skilled puppetry and a return to the look and tone of the originals, but it also limited the sort of aliens and creatures that could appear on screen.
None of the aliens in “The Force Awakens” had the wow factor that the giant sea creatures did in “The Phantom Menace” or the Kaminoans and Geonosians did in “Attack of the Clones.” The planets in the film, such as Takodana, were also infuriatingly void of life when compared to other locations such as Naboo or Dagobah, which were teaming with creatures of all shapes and sizes. “The Last Jedi” needs to fix this misstep and bring the creative aliens and creatures back to “Star Wars,” and incorporating more (and better) CGI would go a long way in helping make this happen.
2. JEDI ACADEMY DETAILS
One of the biggest mysteries introduced in “The Force Awakens” was the tragic fate of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy which was apparently destroyed by Kylo Ren and the other Knights of Ren sometime after “Return of the Jedi.” Very little was told in regards to when this event specifically happened, how many students Luke had been training, or even if there were other Jedi instructors that were helping Luke teach.
As expected, the first teaser for “The Last Jedi” confirmed that the next film in the “Star Wars” saga would indeed be showing more of what happened to these young Jedi, but it’s still unclear if it will simply be more hints or a full retelling. Viewers deserve a full explanation of not only how the Jedi academy fell but also how it was founded. How long did it take to find these new Force-sensitive individuals? Did the ghosts of Yoda, Anakin, and Obi-Wan help him? Anything less will be a disappointment.
1. REY’S PAST AND FUTURE
The one thing that everyone can agree upon that needs to be explored in “The Last Jedi” is Rey. With hints in “The Force Awakens” that she was a student at Luke’s Jedi academy and was dropped off on Jakku by Han Solo’s freighter as a child, the character’s background is something that needs to be addressed immediately and can’t be ignored.
In addition to her past, there’s also the mystery of Rey’s true identity. It’s no coincidence that Rey wasn’t given a surname in “The Force Awakens” and the fact that Luke’s lightsaber called to her is a pretty big indication that she could have some Skywalker genes rattling around her DNA. Or maybe she’s a Kenobi as some fans have been theorizing. “The Last Jedi” doesn’t have to resolve all of these lingering mysteries completely but if the full reveals are being planned for “Episode IX,” “Episode VIII” does need to drop a few more trinkets of information to prevent viewers from feeling too frustrated and abandoned.
Are there any other plot points or character arcs that you think need to be covered in “The Last Jedi?” Let us know in the comments! And may the Force be with you.