Way back when, I wrote up some ideas that I’d had to “improve” The Phantom Menace, which at the time seemed like an interesting thought exercise and a useful way to pass the time. Well, in trying to soothe a teething infant the last few evenings, I’ve been giving some thought to the Sequel Trilogy in something of the same manner. I suppose, after watching The Rise of Skywalker again recently, it’s been on my mind how much of a let-down things were. I’m not saying that any of these ideas would actually improve things, of course – I thought it was just an interesting idea to think about, trying to pull together more of the story into something a bit more cohesive perhaps…
So first of all, let’s take The Force Awakens as standing as it is. I don’t think it’s a perfect film, but I do believe it works perfectly fine for setting things up, and the main problems that I have with the sequels have been around the lack of any satisfying pay-off for a number of plot points raised therein.
Now. There are two points that I’d like to bring up from the expanded universe (the new one). The novel Bloodline is truly excellent, and should be read by everyone. Whether it was because it came out around the time of episode seven, when we had very little else to go on, it provided a tremendous amount of background to the political landscape in which that movie takes place. It also – kinda – answers the question of where the First Order came from, and that’s the first point that I feel is a let-down in the trilogy. Secondly, the Aftermath trilogy, while I wasn’t really a fan of the story being told, it nevertheless gives us a lot of information on what happens to the Imperial Remnant, and gives us some background for how Palpatine might have ended up with a massive fleet out in the Unknown Regions.
So, without further ado, and still hitting quite a few of the plot points from around and about the existing films, let’s do this!
The Last Jedi is all about recruiting Luke to the cause of the Resistance. Luke realizes that he is somewhat responsible for the death of his old friend Han, since he feels a sense of guilt over Ben’s fall to the Dark Side, and so he heads off with Rey to rejoin the Resistance.
The Resistance themselves flee from D’Qar, with Vice-Admiral Holdo leading a rearguard action to allow the majority of the fleet to disappear. Holdo sacrifices herself, taking out a good portion of the First Order fleet with her. Leia leads her forces to the planet Ajan Kloss, where they regroup and reorganise.
Finn is given a job in military intelligence after his vital part in the destruction of Starkiller Base, as the Resistance tries to get ahead of the First Order and work out what is going on. There he meets his fellow spy Rose, and they’re given the task of infiltrating an old Imperial Archive on Coruscant. At this point, and during this storyline, we’ll be able to learn more of what happened to the Empire after Endor, and maybe some more tidbits about the New Republic, too.
On Ajan Kloss, Luke and Rey arrive and sense a massive connection with the Force – none other than the Whiphid Jedi Master K’Kruhk, who had survived Order 66 through sheer bad-assery and has been secretly biding his time raising a small Jedi enclave far from the reaches of the galactic conflict. Luke and K’Kruhk train together, and develop Rey’s talents alongside the other students and followers of the Whiphid.
Snoke attempts to bolster the First Order following their losses incurred at Holdo’s hand, and sends Kylo Ren to “implement contingency b” or something…
Poe leads a mission to Corellia as a distraction while Finn and Rose head to Coruscant, and inadvertently discovers that Wedge has been informally leading a rebellion of his own there. The First Order comes to investigate and utterly destroys the revolt there, Poe and Wedge barely get out alive. The mission to Coruscant has unveiled a trail that leads to the Unknown Regions, and the movie ends with Finn and Rose coming out of hyperspace above Exegol, where they find the Final Order fleet, and Kylo Ren…
Of course, all of this means that The Rise of Skywalker needs a few changes of its own!
Snoke is the head of a cabal of ex-Imperials and the like who are attempting to resurrect the Emperor through Sith Alchemy. Snoke himself is so badly scarred because of a failed experiment to use his body to channel the dead Palpatine’s spirit years before.
Allegiant General Pryde is the man in charge of the First Order’s operations in the Unknown Regions, having taken over from Brendol Hux. Finn and Rose find him, and Finn tortures him into revealing who he, Finn, is. They learn that Finn was abducted from a crime lord, and flee from the fleet to return to the Resistance.
Leia and co have been attempting to recruit more allies to the Resistance, and Lando returns to the fold when he learns that Han has been killed. He brings a lot of his old underground contacts with him, and when Finn and Rose return with their news, Lando reveals that he knows Finn’s father. Moreover, Poe used to work for him in his days running spice, so they lead a delegation to ask for support. Finn’s father is the head of Kanjiklub, and lends the support of his fleet of smugglers in revenge for having his boy stolen from him, and the Resistance heads off into the Unknown Regions.
Luke leads his band of Jedi against Snoke and the cabal, but he is cut down when the Knights of Ren descend upon him. Kylo Ren redeems himself by dying to save Rey, and Luke’s dying action is to lend his Force spirit to Rey and allowing for her to cut down Snoke.
Rey’s parents really were nobodies, hiding her on Jakku to escape from the Knights of Ren, who stalk the galaxy in search of Force-sensitive children and abduct them for the Sith alchemical experiments. Rey is a pure manifestation of the Force, similar to Anakin. The Force is aware of its internal balance being out of whack, and when one side gets too strong, it will bring forth a balancing power like this.
So there’s my half-baked thoughts on how the sequels could have played out, trying to combine as much as possible but giving things some new slants. There are plenty of things missed out that could have been included, such as the Death Star ruins and Lando’s daughter, and I’m sure Captain Phasma could have been sprinkled in there as well.
Finn feels like a character that was somehow forgotten about after episode seven, but I think making him a part of military intelligence could fit quite well. I do like the idea of Finn being the son of a crime lord, and the link to The Force Awakens and Kanjiklub is something I quite liked at the time I thought of it! It also brings in the underworld element, much like we had with Jabba in Return of the Jedi, and much like the idea of them finding out about the Imperial remnant in the middle film, here Finn and Rose become a catalyst for another info-dump, as we see what happened after Jabba’s organisation fell.
I’d love to have seen the Knights of Ren taking a bigger role throughout both movies, and I’m sure there would be opportunities with more development, but this isn’t precisely the sort of thing I want to spend most of my time working up a script for, or something!
For those who don’t know, Master K’Kruhk was a Jedi Master during the Dark Horse series of comics set in the prequel era, and was brought somewhat to the fore during the Dark Times run as an almost indestructible force of nature. He then showed up in the Legacy series that took place over 100 years after the Battle of Yavin, making him almost a Jedi Perpetual. It’s the storyline from the Dark Times comics that I’m sort of drawing upon here, with him being a patriarch of a Jedi enclave of survivors of Order 66.
At any rate, I thought it was a fun thought exercise on how things might have worked out, if we had something other than that abysmal episode eight, and removing the need to bring back Palpatine to make everything work out in the end.
What do you think? Is this worse than what we got?