Before Rian Johnson got parts of the internet seething with his subversive take on the Star Wars property, The Force Awakens helmsman J.J. Abrams came under fire for being too faithful to the template set by the Original Trilogy. And now that the director is coming back for Star Wars: Episode IX, some fans are worried that he might be making the same mistake, and delivering a nostalgic rehash of Return of the Jedi.
To be clear, these worries are currently based on some pretty shaky foundations, those being the recent rumors teasing yet another superweapon in next year’s trilogy-closer. According to a leaked scene description, Kylo Ren will be seen in his throne room watching a projected hologram of this weapon (speculated by some to be the World Devastator from the books) destroying terrain on a planet while the device is still under construction. Sounds like good news for Kylo, but after two Death Stars and a Starkiller Base, you have to wonder how many planets are still left in this galaxy to blow up.
While this particular report may turn out to be completely baseless, the concerns from the fans are still understandable. Granted, the superweapon narrative is certainly one way of incorporating a large cast of characters into a single mission, but it would sure be nice if Abrams could think of some more creative ways to up the stakes. Say what you will about the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, but at least Revenge of the Sith found a way of escalating the conflict without giving its heroes yet another giant genocide machine to fight.
Given the nostalgic director at the helm, Star Wars: Episode IX is bound have its share of callbacks and homages, but we’ll see how well the film manages to carve out an identity of its own when it hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.