The future of Star Wars may be streaming TV shows like The Mandalorian and the newly-announced Rogue One series (starring Diego Luna is back as Cassian Andor). To which I say: boring! Star Wars TV shows are fine, but the main event is clearly Episode IX,

And with the future of Star Wars movies in jeopardy, we’re all going to have a really, really hard comedown after Episode IX is over next year. The Mandalorian and the Cassian Andor show are like hangover food after you’ve had an epic night drinking. Episode IX is that epic night. But, how is it going to end? And is there any way the conclusion of the Skywalker saga won’t feel like a letdown on some level?

The answer is yes. There are three ways the Star Wars: Episode IX ending could avoid being terrible. Let’s get into it.

rey kylo
Rey battles Kylo Ren.

The Light Side and Dark Side Become One

I know, this sounds cheesy, but think about: the dichotomy of the light side and the dark side is at the core of all the headaches the galaxy faces in Star Wars. Even Luke seems kind of over these dogmatic distinctions in The Last Jedi, telling Rey, “That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi died a light dies is vanity.”

In the same film, Kylo Ren similarly suggests that everyone needs to “let the past die” in order to move forward into some kind of coherent future. In fairness, Kylo and Luke are both extremists, meaning the truth is somewhere in between. In the prequels, George Lucas was obsessed with “bringing balance to the Force,” something which supposedly happened as a result of Anakin Skywalker. But, maybe it’s not Anakin who brings about that balance. Maybe it’s people like Kylo Ren and Rey who figure it all out.

The good guys in Star Wars are afraid of their darker impulses to the point where it makes them into crazy people. The bad guys in Star Wars are so terrified of being good, that they overcompensate with evilness and end up acting like goths. If this story is going to end, it should end with these extreme viewpoints going extinct.

'A New Hope'
'A New Hope'

Star Wars Catches Up With Our Own Ancient History

The trickiest thing about setting Star Wars a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away is that the stakes are inherently confusing because all of this has, in theory, already happened. But, what if that changed? What if Star Wars was somehow connected with our own timeline? What if the ending of Episode IX finally answered the question of how the hell humans exist in a galaxy, far far away.

Believe it or not, this kind of thing almost happened before. In the early nineties, science fiction author Robert Sawyer wrote a treatment for a series of books called Alien Exodus. They would have “explained” that the humans in the Star Wars universe actually descended from earthlings in the 25th century. Really!

Basically, an evil Skynet-style AI tries to take over Earth, the human race escapes into an Einstein-Rosen bridge that deposits them billions of years in the past and in a galaxy far, far away. This would have made the humans in Star Wars the product of a sci-fi paradox, which, though a little weird, is at the very least ambitious and different than what we’ve been seeing in Star Wars movies.

Now, the Sawyer Alien Exodus books obviously never happened, but the fact that Lucasfilm was serious about the project is interesting. If some kind of panspermia or a similar concept was connected to the eventual ending of the whole Skywalker saga, it could be strangely empowering. We could all leave the theater with the feeling that the saga continued on…with us!

Psych! The Saga Isn’t Ending! Bring on Episode X!

What if the ending of Episode IX isn’t the ending of a new trilogy at all, but instead, just the set-up for another installment? What if Lucasfilm is pulling a fast one on us. Just kidding everybody! There’s an Episode X coming! What, you thought we were going to end the Skywalker saga on an odd number! WRONG!

Drink it up, Star Wars fans!
Drink it up, Star Wars fans!

While this is very unlikely, in some ways, this outcome would be awesome. If Lucasfilm is actively lying to everyone by claiming this movie was the last one in this story — but it really wasn’t — they’d actually have a ton of creative freedom.

The expectations audiences have about Star Wars films have become part of the problem. It doesn’t really matter what happens, what matters is how we feel about it. Between now and the end of 2019, a lot of critics and pundits will claim that the only way for Episode IX to be good is for it to be a “real ending.” Trust me you will read versions of this sentiment over and over again. But all of those people will be wrong, or at the very least, misguided. There’s no reason we have to view this story as three trilogies, we could just view it as a giant, ten-part, story. Or more!

Star Wars fans don’t really want the Skywalker saga to end, even if it’s popular to say that right now. Meaning, the best way for Episode IX to end is for it to keep going.


Star Wars: Episode IX is out everywhere on December 19, 2019.

Photos via Lucasfilm