As the pivotal second chapter in Lucasfilm’s current trilogy, one of the big questions going into the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was how Rian Johnson’s sequel would set the stage for Episode IX.
Couple this with the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, whose final Star Wars performance irrefutably floored viewers, and you have all the ingredients for a logistical disaster. It’s a testimony to Johnson’s direction, then, that The Last Jedi released as a competent, wildly entertaining space opera. And it even snuck in one or two story twists for good measure.
But in keeping with the trilogy format, Rian Johnson and his team refrained from revealing all the answers, which only has us all the more intrigued by Star Wars: Episode IX. It’s still a full two years out, but when the director was asked about J.J. Abrams’ threequel and the possibility of Kylo Ren gaining redemption, Johnson replied as so:
Are you kidding? Vader was worse than Kylo ever was, I think, and Vader got redeemed. Also, I should just for the record [say] that I’m not involved in the writing of the next movie. I’m an audience member in it, just like you, so when I talk about what’s going to happen next it’s in the context of, as a fan, what I’m thinking of.
Perhaps there’s still hope for Snoke’s unruly apprentice? Kylo Ren did murder his father in cold blood, and while Darth Vader wasn’t exactly what one would call a righteous, upstanding citizen, James Earl Jones’ booming mega-villain still managed to salvage some semblance of redemption by bringing an end to Emperor Palpatine – and, by effect, the Sith as we know it.
Now at $536 million and counting, The Last Jedi is already a force to be reckoned with, and considering Solo: A Star Wars Story is right around the corner, Lucasfilm’s crown jewel is now stronger than ever. Episode IX, on the other hand, will be with us in 2019.