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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

If the online reaction hasn’t been enough to convince, fans and critics alike seem to have very strong opinions about the brand new Star Wars: The Last Jedi. More and more, it sounds like audiences went in with very specific expectations of what they wanted to happen, and by the time the credits rolled, they were left unsatisfied.

RELATED – Why Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Dividing Fans

But what does this ending mean for the upcoming and final installment of this trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX? We take a deep dive into where the film leaves us, and go on to speculate as to what it can mean for the 2019 sequel.

If you have not seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, then you should look away now, or forever be spoiled.

SPOILER ALERT!

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Rey & The Resistance

The conclusion of Star Wars: The Last Jedi found Rey actively accepting her role as a Jedi of the Light Side. After facing an internal struggle that involved both Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren, she fully embraced what it means to be a force for good, and a member of the Resistance against The First Order.

She hasn’t been trained by Luke, but she managed to snag the books from the Jedi Temple, and will likely be utilizing them down the line (more on that later).

The Resistance has been left with roughly 10 people. A beacon has been lit to their old allies, but none replied (yet). All the same, they lived to fight another day against the First Order. Now, all they need do is regroup and strategize on where to go next.

Princess Leia

The passing of Carrie Fisher was very unexpected, and with her passing, it was expected (and almost desired) that Star Wars: The Last Jedi kill off General Leia, so that her character would not be written out of Star Wars: Episode IX.

However, despite the numerous opportunities writer-director Rian Johnson had to kill her off, by the end of the credits, she had survived along with the remaining members of the Resistance. That being said, she seemed to have accepted her fading role in this new Resistance, with her literally saying, “What are you looking at me for? Follow [Poe],” when the group looked to her for advice.

It was a proverbial passing of the torch, though still not one that could satisfactorily explain where she disappears to in the upcoming film. Read on to see how Episode IX could handle Fisher’s death.

Kylo Ren & The First Order

While Rey has accepted her place as a Force user of the Light Side, Kylo Ren has fully accepted his place as a Force user of the Dark Side. He killed his master, Supreme Leader Snoke, and taken on the role as Supreme Leader of the First Order, with General Hux being used as his lapdog.

By the end of the film, the First Order is reigning supreme, and it will undoubtedly begin tightening its grip across the entire galaxy. But where does this leave Kylo Ren and the First Order in Episode IX? Again, read on to see how this all may come together.

How Star Wars: Episode IX May Begin

Keep in mind, this is all incredibly speculative, but here’s where I personally think the film can start out.

The end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi hinted that the Resistance would be the force that lights up the rebellion across the galaxy. When that’s said, they cut to the stableboy on Canto Bight, who we see is actually a Force user. While I don’t necessarily think we’ll be following him, the hint here is that this rebellion will take some time to form, as those seeds that were planted in Canto Bight (and across the galaxy) will take some time to mature.

Star Wars: Episode IX can begin five to ten years after the events in The Last Jedi. In that time, several things will have happened.

1) Kylo Ren will have settled into his role as the Supreme Leader, and the First Order will have slowly tightened its grip on many parts of the galaxy.

2) Rey will have worked hard, using those Jedi books, to train herself up as a self-taught Jedi warrior. Heck, she could have even perhaps gone around the galaxy in search of Force users herself. Perhaps she can have a small army of Jedi with her that can be their trump card against the First ORder.

3) The Resistance will have had time to rebuild, and quietly become a sizable force that can take on the First Order. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, and considering just how low on men they were by the end of The Last Jedi, some real time would be needed in order for them to put up a believable fight.

4) Leia will have passed away right before the opening of the film, and her death will be the final thing to kick the Resistance into motion. It may seem like a cop-out, but given how much of an impact she had, her death would reverberate throughout the galaxy, and she would be looked at as one of the most important people in history. It’s exactly the type of thing that will be needed to force Rey, Poe, and the rest to accept the fact that they are ready. The final remnant of a previous generation is gone, and this universe is now officially theirs to protect. This would allow her living in The Last Jedi not to be wasted, while still giving her character the gravitas she deserves.

What do you think of my take on how Star Wars: The Last Jedi sets up Episode IX? What are your own thoughts? Let us know down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.