The new Star Wars trilogy has been more divisive than Disney/LucasFilm could have ever imagined. People have been split on Daisy Ridley's Rey being Luke's successor, the direction and overall demise of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker. A vocal contingent of fans have even blasted the franchise's approach towards diversity.
Another point of contention has to do with the new villains in the series. Many fans were disappointed that Supreme Leader Snoke was killed after being set up as such an intimidating figure in The Force Awakens, while others believe Kylo Ren's ascension as ruler of the First Order in The Last Jedi still doesn't make him worthy of following in the footsteps of his grandad, Darth Vader, or Emperor Palpatine.
However, the latest rumor, which speaks of a mysterious realm of pure, unadulterated evil in Star Wars: Episode IX is exactly what these movies need to ignite the fire in haters once more.
It's been rumored that Adam Driver's Kylo Ren may face deadly opposition other than an empowered Rey, who's now stronger in the wake of Luke's death thanks to the sacred texts she stole. This threat comes in the form of "The Beyond" -- a dark corner of the galaxy, or possibly even another dimension. If rumors are to be believed, this is where Kylo has sent his Knights of Ren, to explore and relay news about whatever lies within this mysterious expanse, and whether it is indeed coming to consume the galaxy. Regardless of whether you are on the Light or Dark Side of the Force, this could be a troubling possibility... which is why it could finally bring balance to the Force, and the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
This is a brilliant stroke for a few reasons. For one, it actually gives the Knights some agency and explains why they suddenly went missing without explanation during TLJ. In TFA, we saw them with Kylo when he razed Luke's Jedi Temple. As Snoke's enforcers, this could also create an interesting dynamic, given that Kylo is still presumably hiding the truth about the death of the First Order's Supreme Leader.
Because TLJ blurred the lines so much about what the purpose and powers behind the Force, with Luke confirming that the Jedi and Sith were cut from the same cloth of arrogance and control, The Beyond also affords an ideal way to move away from the polarity established within the Force. Mysticism is a big part of Star Wars lore, but a gradual shift of its supernatural mythos to an unknown villain like this holds more mystique, intrigue and even hope, especially after both Luke and Kylo made it clear that their religions had to end. After all, what unites two sides of a conflict better than a shared enemy?
The possibility of a greater threat allows returning director J.J. Abrams to reposition the Force as many fans believe it was meant to be -- a power with the purpose to preserve life. This builds on the last movie's theme that the Light/Dark simply depends on who uses it. As such, The Beyond may even unite Kylo and Rey for the greater good, officially moving them away as blind disciples to their individual causes, no longer restricted by their respective Orders. The chaos it brings can easily see Rey evolve the Jedi, with Kylo even converting his army into Force-troopers, with both leaders weaponizing the Force to preserve the very fabric of reality.
After all, as Luke said, the Force is for everyone; it's within everyone, and as has been stated many times throughout the entirety of the franchise, moves through everything. The Beyond also offers these people a chance to rise up as part of a bigger rebellion -- against what the Knights of Ren are purportedly reporting to be "the Anti-Force."
What's notable as well is that this carves out a path towards Kylo's redemption, even after all he's done. We must also consider that a common enemy may even create a romance for the shippers in the fandom. After all, their galaxy-saving destiny could end up subverting the concept of the Chosen One, opening a door for the Chosen Ones. Ultimately, an incursion from the Beyond has a lot of potential because this unites the Force as one, creates new identities for the franchise's figureheads, and most importantly, allows the balance so integral to the franchise.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: Episode IX stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher. The film is set to hit theaters Dec. 20.