When Disney chose to take the reins on Star Wars, they inherited a franchise with several decades’ worth of interplanetary mythos and an intimidatingly dedicated fanbase behind it, and this has proven to be both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, with so much emotion already invested into the series’ characters and world, these movies could cruise a long way on nostalgia alone. But as the backlash to The Last Jedi demonstrated, a film can only go so far in straying from the sacred texts of the Original Trilogy before certain passionate fans start taking such controversial digressions as an insult to all they hold dear. With that in mind, there’s a lot riding on Episode IX, which is expected to wrap up the latest trilogy in a way that feels fresh, but in the eyes of audiences, still feels like Star Wars.
And now, with this new rumored title for the J.J. Abrams-helmed sequel, we may have a better idea of how exactly the studio plans to strike this balance. The name suggested in a Reddit post is Star Wars: A New Order, and it’s a title that can be read on multiple levels.
For one, the name honors the title of the film that started in all Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Abrams has paid tribute to the 1977 original, either, with The Force Awakens practically taking that film as its template, and it’s a title that fittingly suggests the saga going full circle.
Of course, any talk of Orders will inevitably bring to mind the First Order, which remains the primary threat in the franchise’s ongoing space drama. The ‘New Order’ in question could either be the rejigged regime formed under the newly ascended Kylo Renn or even a more peaceful alternative in the wake of our heroes’ victory.
Nonetheless, if Disney is indeed going through with this rumored name, then perhaps the most important message of the New Order subtitle would be meta-textual. While the studio’s Star Wars trilogy has shown a consistent awareness of the legacy they’re dealing with – whether paying homage to the originals with The Force Awakens, or deconstructing this legacy with The Last Jedi – the third film could be regarded as the one that finalizes the arrival of a whole new era for the franchise, while likely paving the way for a sequel-heavy future.
Whatever they end up calling it, we’ll see if Star Wars: Episode IX can bring balance to the fandom when it comes out on December 20th, 2019.