The Star Wars saga is all about tradition, and this sequel trilogy makes no attempt to disguise the fact that it is closely echoing the original trilogy. Between both the original and prequel trilogy, there was a jump in time between the events of the second and third films, with Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi opening with a major battle that pulls the various characters of the story back together after some time apart. Star War: Episode IX will probably follow in that tradition, and there's a perfectly good inciting event that could bring about the big reunion.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi threw a major twist into fan expectations, by choosing not to kill off the character of Leia, despite the real-life death of actress Carrie Fisher. That leaves a big question hanging over J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX, which will have to revise its plans for Leia to play a bigger role in the story.
We (and a lot of other fans) believe that there is a great way to give Leia a proper send off, while giving Star Wars: Episode IX a great beginning: open the story with Leia's funeral.
The time jump between The Last Jedi and Episode IX would allow for two important developments: The Resistance rebuilding its forces, and Rey furthering her training as a Jedi. In that time, there would no doubt be a constant cat-and-mouse game between the Resistance and the First Order, in which General Leia Organa guided the way, using her last days to give the galaxy a bigger spark of hope.
Leia could go peacefully, in the midst of her noble work, with a funeral that would be seen as a major event, drawing Resistance members from all corners of the galaxy together to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of the last Skywalker. That would draw Finn, Rey, and Poe back together from the various fronts of the Resistance, allowing the characters to grow into much more battle-hardened and experienced leaders. While the Resistance would take every precaution in keeping the details and location of Leia's funeral a secret, there would be one person in the galaxy who has the uniquely special ability to locate it: Leia's son Ben Solo, aka Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.
With The Last Jedi having already established the deep Force connection between Ben and Leia, Kylo Ren would be able to lead the First Order to the Resistance funeral gathering for her, using a method that no one in the Resistance would seemingly be aware of. With the funeral pulling Resistance figures together, it would be the perfect strategic strike that someone like General Hux would enjoy.
Of course, it should be noted that in both Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, it's the good guys who win the day in the opening battle sequence, so tradition would demand the same from Episode IX. Starting the film with the funeral of Leia would be a good way to get around the loss of Carrie Fisher, but in order to probably honor the spirit of Leia, the good guys would have to turn the tables on the First Order's surprise attack.
It wouldn't be hard reverse surprise attack to pull off; after all, Rey would be aware that Kylo Ren was aware of Leia's passing, as most Force sensitives would feel that shift. Being close to Poe and Finn, Rey would be able to pass on the intel that Kylo Ren could find them at Leia's funeral, and the Resistance could use the gathering as a smokescreen. While appearing to be caught off guard, the new Resistance leaders could actually make a decisive strike against the First Order.
Why It Would Work
The scenario described above would accomplish all of the following great things for Episode IX, creating an opening sequence that's as meaningful as it is epic:
- Allows the film to move past the loss of Carrie Fisher in a way that has weight and significance, but isn't too heavy.
- Honors the feisty spirit of Leia (and Carrie Fisher) by giving her one last big victory.
- It would immediately change the final status quo of The Last Jedi by giving the Resistance a big victory that could set up a decisive final battle between good and evil.
- Clears the stage of all Skywalkers except Ben/Kylo, which would set up the Jedi storyline of Episode IX as proper "Last Skywaker" arc to bring the saga around full circle.
This is the best way we could think of to begin Star Wars: Episode IX and deal with the Leia issue - do you agree? Or do you have your own ideas? Let us know in the comments or @ComicBookNow!