There is a great disturbance in the Force: the Star Wars sequel trilogy. After the perfect and very happy ending of “Return of the Jedi”, the Star Wars film series could have gone in any number of directions. Unfortunately, they picked perhaps the least inspiring premise: resetting the galaxy more or less back to where we saw it in “A New Hope”, with the final film of the trilogy leaving us in basically the same place we left off in “Return of the Jedi”.
Sure, the sequel trilogy abounded with great moments, but we deserved something much more imaginative, and we deserved a story that would have underscored the meaning of our heroes’ struggles in the six films of the saga proper. Recently I’ve had some ideas I’d like to throw out there for how I would have made a post-Return-of-the-Jedi sequel trilogy that meets those two conditions.
After the Chosen One: A Thousand-Year Golden Age
The backstory to my sequel trilogy is that it is a thousand years or so after the events of the (in my world six-film) Skywalker saga, which has been a period of peace and prosperity, a new golden age for the galaxy. The protagonists of the original trilogy really accomplished something and are remembered as heroes of the ancient galaxy. After the Chosen One (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader) fulfilled the prophecy, destroyed the Sith, and brought balance to the Force, the dark side has ceased to be a significant threat.
The galaxy being in a new golden age has spurred the rediscovery of much ancient knowledge, particularly by the new Jedi, a trend started by Luke Skywalker himself, over the past thousand years; the Force powers displayed by ancient Sith and Jedi, that make even Palpatine’s abilities at his peak look like child’s play, have been recovered, the Jedi having refined their techniques, acquiring and honing new Force powers hitherto unseen or even imagined.
A Different Kind of Jedi
I would make a sequel trilogy that clashed vividly with both the prequel and original trilogies. To start with, the new Jedi aren’t even an Order, in the sense of a clerical bureaucracy, but rather more like a decentralized peer-to-peer network at least nominally based on the equality of all Jedi.
Pushing the contrast with the prequel trilogy’s rigid and bureaucratic Jedi further, the future Jedi are allowed to have romantic relationships, marriages, and children. In the wake of the end of the old Jedi a whole new doctrine arose, one that holds the Force revels in the creation of new life through love, as the Star Wars heresies blog once suggested might be the truth of the matter, and as such these Jedi might outright revel in sex, lovemaking, and childbearing as a centerpiece of their lives. If the old Jedi had the air of Thanatos, the new Jedi have the air of Eros. The new Jedi are very often married or perhaps take many concubines.
Dyads in the Force Revisited
Pleasantly, this intersects with the concept of a “Force dyad” introduced in the real sequel trilogy between Rey and Kylo. The romantic applications of such a bond in the Force are obvious, to the extent some fans have paired Rey and Kylo as lovers and even raise the possibility Rey is pregnant with Kylo’s child, another Skywalker (and another Force baby like Kylo’s grandfather Anakin) at the end of “The Rise of Skywalker”.
Considering new Jedi in my sequel trilogy truly are encouraged to love, they may all be linked in pairs through dyads in the Force, with the more powerful techniques recovered from newly-discovered ancient texts, holocrons, and the like enabling new Jedi to forge dyads far more easily than the old Jedi could ever hope to.
Such bonds could facilitate marriages within the order, arranged or otherwise, and might make the Jedi much stronger and more resilient in the light side of the Force. This might help to burnish the balance of the Force established by the Chosen One in the ancient times of the original trilogy.
Ghosts and Holocrons
Another point of contrast would be the new Jedi not having a doctrine that one can be “too old to be trained”; thus the (from a certain point of view…) child kidnapping of the old Jedi is no longer practiced. No doubt this is inspired by their founder Luke Skywalker, who may still be guiding the Order even then in intermittent visions and dreams as a Force ghost, somewhat like the Force Priestesses from The Clone Wars television series.
Luke Skywalker would also have left a wide variety of holocrons to guide the Jedi, perhaps encased in droids as some fans speculate an ancient lightsaber master did with Huyang, which might be another point of contrast with the old Jedi, who, Huyang excepted, didn’t have such remarkable helpers.
Ironic: the Light Side is Unlimited Power
I might even include holocrons from Darth Sidious and (most fascinatingly of all!) Darth Plagueis as items kept and commonly studied by the Jedi; their dark-side energies are powerless against the Jedi of the future with their light-side equipoise, and the new Jedi have crafted light-side equivalents of all the classical Sith powers and then some.
This starkly brings to life Yoda’s belief in “The Empire Strikes Back” that the light side, not the dark side, is the strongest. I personally like to believe that while the dark side is quicker and easier it is ultimately a dead end, all things being possible instead through the light side of the Force, the true path to “unlimited power”. I would like to bring this to life in my sequel trilogy.
In the saga proper we don’t see much from women Jedi, and what little we do see is women Jedi as space nuns. In my sequel trilogy that’s flipped on its head, women Jedi having leading roles and at once being very feminine, sexual, and hedonistic, using the Force for erotic purposes like sexual pleasure and enhancing their physical beauty, but while maintaining an equipoise in the light side of the Force; nothing explicit of course, but it could be hinted at.
Old Empires fall, Renaissances rise
Yet another contrast with the prequel-era Jedi is that the new Jedi do not act as the state’s policemen, rather charting an autonomous path where they devote themselves to the Force and the Force alone. Given this newfound independent streak of the Jedi proper, various princes, dictators, and parliaments throughout the galaxy retain their own units of Force sensitives loyal to them and them alone, a la the Imperial Knights in Legends. The divergence between policemen Jedi and autonomous Jedi might be fertile ground for some subplots in my trilogy.
My new trilogy also would contrast with the prequel trilogy in that I would dispense with the idea of a new Galactic Republic altogether. After all, the first six films don’t give us any real indication the Rebellion’s purpose is to restore the Republic to begin with, and consider that both galactic governments we see in the six-film saga, the Republic and the Empire, are corrupt in some way. Perhaps the whole idea of a united galaxy was doomed from the start.
Between various governments competing within a similar cultural landscape descended from a vast ancient empire and all the focus on ancient knowledge and surging of the creative powers of civilization the situation is suggestive of a galactic renaissance, which also isn’t something we’ve seen before in Star Wars. To some extent the Jedi could fill the role of the Italian-Renaissance-era Church in galactic affairs. Even the aesthetics could evoke the Renaissance era, a la Naboo from the prequel trilogy.
Another big part of my backstory is a secular and immense rise in the number of Force-sensitives in the galaxy and the power of the strongest Force-sensitives over the past thousand years, and possibly other parts of the universe our civilization has expanded to; a golden age of expansion would see intensive development of the Outer Rim and satellite galaxies, with other major galaxies being this era’s answer to the Skywalker-era Outer Rim. This fits together well with the fact the Force greatly helps with scoping out new hyperspace lanes.
There could be a faction, perhaps our Jedi heroes in this trilogy, who have a long-term ambition of developing techniques to sensitize more and more people to the Force, eventually leading the entire population to ascend and become extremely powerful in the Force, transcending our plane of existence altogether and possibly ushering in some kind of transformation of the human condition. This is what might have happened to the Celestials, which Legends continuity says is one and the same with the Force wielders of Mortis from The Clone Wars TV show.
All seems like it’s a utopia where everyone is well on track to ascend to a higher plane of existence a la Mortis, but the Force, ever playful and capricious, throws the galaxy a curveball once again: not a waxing of the dark side, but rather a sundering in the Force.
Sundering in the Force: the new phantom Menace
Across the galaxy and even beyond a shadowy specter is consuming the fabric of the Force, severing individuals and even whole regions from their connection to it, at least as far as the Jedi can tell anyway; worse still, it is starting to spread exponentially, and if not stopped somehow the Force as we know it will disappear. This is a kind of cosmic fragmentation, sort of akin to the theoretical possibility of a phase change in the quantum vacuum.
The individuals who are affected by the sundering in the Force succumb to a kind of madness, becoming crazed fanatics who turn not to the dark side but rather to the view that the Force itself must be destroyed, a theme explored to some extent in some of the Old Republic Legends stories. They form a cult-like faction dedicated to freeing the galaxy from the will of the Force and destroying the Jedi.
The Jedi, for all the power they have gained, are at a loss as to how to respond to this threat, with not even the ghost of Luke Skywalker having a clue. I would tease the audience with the possibilities that the Force itself is evil, or that the Force is going away of its own accord now that balance has been reached or is decaying naturally after balance was reached. Factions may also be at work attempting to recreate the Sith so as to reinvigorate the Force with contrast, only for their attempts at succumbing to the dark side to end in vain, in stark contrast to how easy it was for people to succumb in the first six films.
Our Heroes quest for Answers
As it turns out, however, the truth lies with the theory developed by a small band of Jedi who meditate deep within the Force, called by the Force to explore reaches of space and planes of existence far beyond the knowledge of even this era’s Jedi, a faith that the sundering can be overcome by new techniques and that the answer is out there. Much like Yoda in The Clone Wars, they embark upon a quest to learn from Force-using factions dissimilar to both the Jedi and the old Sith, a la the Force Priestesses.
This quest is the centerpiece of the plot for my sequel trilogy, and of course they will face great adversity at a variety of junctures. Over time, however, they learn new techniques drawing upon both the light and dark sides of the Force that enable them to pierce the veil of the sundering and to heal the fabric of the Force in affected regions.
But to do this on the scale needed to overcome the sundering not only a learned vanguard but the combined powers of a broad range of Jedi will be needed, and this will introduce schemes to train these other factions, unify with them even in the face of mutual distrust, and get them to understand what they need to do and what threat they will be facing. Roping them into the same path to the same factions the vanguard encountered might figure heavily in these plans.
The bittersweet Defeat of the Sundering
In the climax of the trilogy all the Jedi concentrate and meditate their full powers to restore the fabric of the Force, and beat back the spiritual essence that causes the sundering (sort of an inverse counterpart of the midi-chlorians) to their own realm of existence.
Truly extreme amounts of concentration and Force power may be required, so extreme it outright kills many of the Jedi, but their sacrifice is worth it, and at the end they are seen to join Anakin, Luke, Leia, and company as Force ghosts.
A mythic Trilogy
Speculation might be rampant that this is the kind of challenge the Celestials faced before they ascended to a higher plane of existence, and that it is the Force’s way of challenging and testing an ascending civilization. It is also speculated that far more difficult challenges may lie ahead, as there is still a long way to go between where the galaxy is now and the power achieved by the ancients before they ascended. This provides both a hook for future stories and emphasizes the mysterious and mythical aspects of the Force like never before in a Star Wars trilogy.
Indeed, this whole trilogy would be something of an interrogation or character study of the new Jedi and the nature of the Force, challenging and to some extent deconstructing then reconstructing the ways of the new Jedi.
Well, that’s about it for my idea for a Star Wars sequel trilogy. Love it or hate it at least it would have been a lot more creative than what we actually got, showing us something new and different, truly diving deeply into the lore of the Star Wars universe in a format (a quest to the unknown regions to solve a threat to the galaxy!) that should be very accessible to a mass audience.
Sure, it doesn’t have the struggle of light and dark, Jedi and Sith, that’s a big draw for mass audiences, but to sate that segment of Star Wars movie-goers I would also unleash Star Wars films set in the time of the Old Republic. There’s plenty enough Legends material to make a whole series of great films set in that era.
It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing stopping Star Wars from unleashing the kind of sequel trilogy I have in mind even after the sequel trilogy we ended up with, it’s just that it would be a fourth trilogy rather than a third as I would have preferred. I for one hope we will see real imagination stage a comeback in the franchise soon.