Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD for those who haven’t yet seen The Force Awakens. You have been warned.
Well, it’s safe to say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens exceeded expectations, if that was even possible. As well as gaining critical acclaim across the board, it has been smashing box-office records left, right and centre.
Even so, we already have our thoughts on what we would like to see Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII do differently – or do more of – when it lands in 2017. Here are 10 of those things…
1) Give us more Luke Skywalker
A bit of a no-brainer this one: despite being the film’s very own macguffin, the star of the original trilogy was limited to a wordless final-scene appearance. It’s pretty much certain that the next film will see him take centre stage, although it’ll be interesting to see what state of mind he’s in, considering the destruction of his Jedi Academy at the hands of the Knights of Ren. Will he train Rey and take the fight to the First Order alongside her, or is there more going on than what meets the eye?
2) Flesh out Kylo Ren’s back story
Adam Driver’s Vader wannabe is clearly carrying a lot of angst, but it’d be interesting to see exactly what it was that made him turn against both the Jedi and his family, and what it was that made him decide Vader was a suitable role model. Furthermore, since he’s had his ass handed to him by Rey, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. With Snoke having ordered General Hux to bring Kylo to him to “complete his training”, will we see an even more formidable Ren in the next film, intent on hunting down Rey, like Vader was with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back?
3) Clarify the relationship between the Resistance and the Republic
Having been established in Chuck Wendig’s book Aftermath, we just assumed that the Republic had crumbled into the Resistance by the time The Force Awakens came about. As it turned out, however, it was still in place, although the only connection between the two was a thinly detailed line about the Republic ‘supporting’ the Resistance. Even though the Republic looks to have been decimated thanks to the attack from Starkiller Base, surely the Hosnian Prime system wasn’t their only hold-out?
4) What exactly do Snoke and the First Order want?
In the original and prequel trilogies, it was made perfectly clear that the Empire was simply a tool of the Sith with which to rule the galaxy. In The Force Awakens, beyond hunting down Luke, the First Order’s goals are far less clear. What is their end goal other than to be nefarious and destroy any opposition? To what end? Plus, how powerful are they? If the Republic is able to exist alongside them then they clearly aren’t Empire-strength, at least not yet.
5) Give us more Captain Phasma
For all the publicity she received in the marketing of the film, it was disappointing to see just how little screen time Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was actually given. She has to be a badass to be the leader of the Stormtroopers, but in her one confrontation she was humiliated by Han, Chewie and Finn. With her appearance confirmed for Episode VIII, we’re sure she won’t let that stand. Pray f0r Finn he crosses paths with Phasma again.
6) Bring back Lando Calrissian
Although the card-playing scoundrel didn’t show up in The Force Awakens, we’re sure this isn’t the last of him – writer Lawrence Kasdan basically confirmed as much in this email, plus considering actor Billy Dee Williams was both at the premiere, and that he has been popping up from time to time in animated series Star Wars: Rebels, we doubt his story’s over. With his old buddy Han dead, maybe he’ll return to avenge his friend…
7) Check in on some of the old planets
Quite rightly, The Force Awakens concentrated primarily on introducing sides to the Star Wars universe we hadn’t seen before, so despite their superficial similarities in the trailers, no old planets were visited. Now that the scene has been set, it would be cool to go back to some familiar locations if the story demands it. We can’t help but be intrigued as to what kind of state places like Coruscant, Bespin and Naboo are in after all this time…
8) Show us what Snoke can do
To have seduced the Solos’ son to the dark side from under the tutelage of Luke, this figure must not only be seriously powerful, but hold a good amount of sway over the dark side. But who exactly is he? What is the nature of his power, is he actually a giant, and how did he get that suspiciously lightsaber-esque scar on his face?
9) Show us a new side to Poe Dameron
Every scene with Oscar Isaac was a highlight, even though he was used sparingly. But with the dashing X-Wing pilot almost certain to have a much bigger role in Episode VIII, it would be nice to see new sides to him: currently he’s a bit too perfect. The saga definitely needs a new Han Solo, and the old smuggler definitely wasn’t perfect.
10) Unleash the Knights of Ren
Another element of the film that was bigged up pre-release, ultimately the only look we got at Kylo’s not-so-merry band was a brief glimpse in a flashback sequence. This very scene implied that they were instrumental in wiping out Luke’s Jedi pupils (at least, that’s how we’re interpreting it), so we’re sure they’re someone to fear. We just need visual proof…