Since Episode II, I – like most fans – have tried to figure out the story of what will happen in each new Star Wars movie based on the trailers.
In fact, this is something I do with most movies I’m interested in. I’m usually wrong. I don’t have one of those uncanny prediction minds that some people do. But sometimes I find myself thinking that the story I came up with was either better or at least as interesting as the one that was presented.
I usually regret not writing down my take.
So this time, I’m having the foresight to actually write down my predictions! That way if (when) I’m wrong, I can use these ideas for myself.
STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI
Rey has gone to the birthplace of the Jedi, the original Jedi temple, where Luke Skywalker lives in exile. He labors over what he should do, because he’s no doubt felt the death of Han Solo and the destruction of Hosnian Prime – perhaps more guilt to the pile of failures in his life. Then appears this strange girl.
Holding his father’s lightsaber.
He doesn’t want to train her, he doesn’t want to train anyone. But there is meaning in the discovery of this lightsaber. Why would it come now? Was it not this same lightsaber that set him on his own journey against darkness so many years ago? Is this girl his redemption?
Or is he going to make the same mistakes Obi-Wan did? Is he going to doom her to be nothing more than the savior of Jedi pride, just as Luke was?
Luke knows one truth: the Jedi must end. But she cannot be left untrained to be tempted by the dark side, by Snoke and Kylo Ren to be used as a tool of darkness. So he will train her, just a little, and see what happens.
In the meantime, the rest of the Galaxy is reeling from the destruction of Hosnian Prime. The Resistance is not large, and doesn’t have the firepower to maintain peace by itself. The First Order, on the other hand, does have the numbers, so they know they must strike down the First Order to allow the Republic to rebuild. The First Order has already launched an Empire Strikes Back-like counterattack, so Poe, Finn, and the new character (the Asian girl, I don’t know her character name) have to do a covert-op. This done by using Poe’s piloting, Finn’s knowledge of the First Order, and the new character’s skill in sabotage.
Meanwhile, Kylo Ren regroups with Snoke, who continues to push him “away from the light” to find the true power of the dark side. Snoke explains to Kylo some twisting of the Jedi rule of “no attachments,” explaining that Vader went back and removed all of his past (the “kill the past” line) when he destroyed the Jedi order and killed his wife. Vader’s only “mistake” was not killing Luke, which ended up being the cause of his “fall to the light.”
Kylo kills Leia in the counter-attack battle (originally maybe he didn’t, but with Carrie Fisher’s death, they may alter that, since it is confirmed she will not appear in IX.)
Luke’s training with Rey is progressing, but she has considerable more power than Luke realized. As he says, “I wasn’t scared enough last time,” so he knows that she has power similar to Kylo in raw strength, and he’s not confident enough that his teachings are enough to contain it. He shows Rey the weird platform chamber hidden in the island, explaining that it’s nexus point in the Force, but she’s not ready to use it yet – Luke himself was barely ready to see it. But they examine old writings and discuss that before Jedi and Sith the Force existed, and that the Force is in constant search of a balance within itself.
Poe, Finn, and new character’s mission take them to a weird white planet with red crystals beneath its surface (thus the red dust, and the scene of the Falcon flying underground). This location is critical to the First Order (perhaps more kyber crystals? Or some kyber crystal variant), and even though Poe, Finn, and new character do a lot of damage to it, they are caught (as a result of Finn losing his duel with Phasma.) Their pain ripples through the Force to Rey, who says she must leave to save her friends, echoing Luke’s leaving of Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back. Luke, however, goes with her.
On the red crystal planet, Snoke and Kylo are waiting to confront the Last Jedi and to take Rey for themselves. The confrontation is fierce, and Rey loses despite all of her extra training. Kylo and Luke battle, with Kylo trying to kill the last major figure in his life, but he is unable to. Rey is injured and Luke takes her back to the Jedi planet.
Unbeknownst to everyone, Kylo has placed a tracker on the Falcon, and he follows them to the Jedi planet. He and Rey are both led to the Force nexus (drawn in similarly to Rey’s pull to the lightsaber in VII), where they offer hands to each other and step in.
(I realize that the trailer is cut to make it look like Rey and Kylo are in the same room at the same moment, but it’s probably not – it’s probably meant to fake us into thinking a moment doesn’t exist. But it’s all I got so I’m going with it.)
In the Force nexus, they see ghosts of the past Jedi. Rey speaks to Yoda and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor version), and they lay out their perspective of why the Jedi did what they did and why their beliefs did, or did not, work. They leave her with a message that even though the Jedi were not perfect, that some sort of New Order must rise to be caretakers of the Force and to keep the Galaxy in balance.
Kylo, in the meantime, meets with Anakin. Anakin speaks about the truth of his past, the lessons he learned during his tumultuous life. Kylo refuses to believe them, infuriated at the prospect that he’s been lied to and killed his parents for nothing. He rejects this as a “Jedi trick” and exits the nexus.
Having both exited, Rey and Kylo battle one more time, but neither have the heart to do what needs to be done. Rey lets Kylo go, and Luke looks on, resolving to next time end the dark side.
Even looking at my version, there are flaws and missed opportunities. It seems like the relationship between Kylo and Rey are going to be deepend and explored, but the relationship between Rey and Finn and Poe need to be deepened as well, though that might be a good thing to delay until the third movie. Finn and Rey could both learn more about their new identity outside of what they were and then bring those lessons together in the third movie, during their reunion.
This also puts a lot of reliance on the past Jedi and figures (Obi-Wan, Yoda, etc.) which is something they probably should avoid. Episode VII had a very forward-thinking direction to the story, and putting so many anchors to the past might ruin that momentum. My sense is that as cool as it would be for them to go visit Force ghosts, they probably won’t in any major, direct fashion. In order for Luke to take on the role of Master, most of that expository/perspective stuff has to come from him.
Still, it’s fun to imagine.