BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05: A view of the Disney and Star Wars tunnel at Refinery29 Presents 29Rooms New York: Expand Your Reality Experience 2019 on December 05, 2019 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Refinery29's 29Rooms)

Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Refinery29’s 29Rooms

We are in the home stretch now! With only days remaining before The Rise of Skywalker ends the 9 movie Star Wars saga, I’m officially in full-on geek out mode. I would be lying to say I’m not incredibly nervous for the final movie in the Skywalker saga. There is a lot riding on this one, with a lot of plot points to resolve. So here’s the top 5 things I’m hoping to see in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

1. The culmination of Palpatine’s plan

Ahh yes, Emperor Pip-pop. I know a lot of people out there aren’t exactly thrilled with Darth Sidious coming back in this movie, but I really am. From a story telling perspective, I think it makes a lot of sense. Consider each of the trilogies to be an act in the story. Does it really make sense for him to be the villain of act 1 and 2, and then not appear in act 3? No. Given the way episodes 7 and 8 played out, they would have either had to use Palpatine, or introduce a new big-bad who master minded everything. I think the use of Sheev (yes, that’s his real name) Palpatine is easily the better choice. Plus we get to hear that awesome laugh again.

LAS VEGAS – MAY 29: Actor Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine character from the Star Wars series of films is shown on screen while musicians perform during “Star Wars: In Concert” at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams’ Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

2. Some justice for Hayden Christensen

I know this isn’t going to win me any kudos. I’m sorry though, Hayden Christensen got jobbed in episodes 2 and 3. Never in the history of cinema has there been such a victim of poor writing and lousy directing. I’m not saying Christensen is God’s gift to acting, but he’s not nearly as bad as those movies made him out to be.

Consider for a moment how difficult the character Anakin Skywalker is to play. He has endless conflicts within himself. You’re powerful, but tempted by the dark side. You want to keep those you love from dying, but you’re not supposed to have attachment in the first place. Obi-Wan is your best friend and mentor, but you end up having to betray him. This could have been an incredible character if not for garbage writing and directing.

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 13: Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid attends the Star Wars Celebration day 01 on April 13, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

I am very hopeful that we get to see Christensen as a force ghost in this movie. If for nothing else, I’m curious to see what the character of Anakin looks like with a competent director behind the helm.

3. Rey Vs. Kylo Ren

I know this isn’t exactly an unlikely hope. We’ve seen in the trailers they’re going to fight. So more specifically, I want to see how their fight differs from their battle in The Force Awakens. That lightsaber battle was purposefully filmed to look like they were amateurs, because they were. Rey was untrained in the use of a lightsaber, and Kylo Ren was battling a pretty severe injury by that point.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – AUGUST 27: Characters Kylo Ren and Storm Troopers walk during night at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Walt Disney World Resort Opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 27, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Even in The Last Jedi, we saw how far both of them had come when they squared off against Snoke’s Imperial guard. By now, I’m expecting Rey will be a full fledged Jedi knight, if she chooses to use that term. Either way, the final duel between the two of them should look drastically different than what we’ve seen before. To be clear, I’m not hoping for the flips and high flying Ataru stance we got in the prequels. However, they should look like duelists rather than kids swinging swords.

4. The next generation of force users

The Last Jedi ended on an upbeat note, as the rebellion was reborn and Rey became a Jedi. However, we also got a look at a young kid who force-pulled a broom over to himself to start cleaning. This intimated that there are plenty more force sensitives out there, just waiting to find a teacher. I’m genuinely curious what this means for the future of the Star Wars universe.

We know some time has passed since episode 8, so what has Rey been up to? Is she teaching her own class of Jedi as Luke attempted? Has Kylo Ren been searching for an apprentice? The last two movies have spent a lot of time building up the current cast of characters, so I hope this movie really pays that off. However, in a smaller capacity, I’d also like us to see what the future holds for the next generation of force users.

5. The missing Jedi

*Spoiler Warning for Rebels and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order*

You know who’s real bad at genocide? The empire. For all their talk of the Jedi being extinct, and the much vaunted Order 66, there are still quite a few Jedi out there unaccounted for. Let’s quickly go over some of the canon Jedi that are still out there, who could make an appearance in this movie.

Cal Kestis – Cal was the hero of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and also survives the game. While satisfying for the player, it does open a major question. Where is he during the original trilogy? I would have thought he’d have been all about the Rebellion, but apparently not. By the time of Episode IX, he would probably be about the age of Luke in The Last Jedi.

Image courtesy of EA and Respawn

Cere – Also from Jedi: Fallen Order, Cal’s friend and new mentor Cere survives the events of the game. She’s already middle aged during the game, so by now she would probably be very old. Still, force users are typically long lived if allowed to. Cere would likely still be alive by this time.

Nightsister Merrin – Okay, so she’s technically not a Jedi. The final force user from Jedi: Fallen Order is the last one to join your team. She’s a Nightsister from Dathomir, meaning she’s powerful in the ritualistic dark side. Still though, she survives the events of the game leading us to ask where she is now. Actually, as I’m writing this, I had a thought. Cal and Merrin are fairly young. If they had a kid later in life, they could be a possibility for Rey’s parents.

Ezra Bridger – Yes! You didn’t think I’d forget the main character of Rebels, did you? When last we saw Ezra, he was accompanying space whales into the unknown parts of the galaxy. Yea, Rebels ended on a weird note. From an age perspective, Ezra would absolutely still be alive at the time of Episode IX.

Ahsoka Tano – Yes, Anakin’s padawan is still alive. While it took some time travel shenanigans from Ezra, she did survive her encounter with Darth Vader. She later met up with Sabine Wren, and went on quest to find Ezra. It would be interesting to see what became of her and Ezra, although they’d have to explain a lot for fans who didn’t watch Rebels.

And if we dove into the comics and other ongoing series, I’m sure we’d find even more. The point is there are a lot of unaccounted for Jedi out there, any of whom could make an appearance in this film. I’d love to see that the force is working through more than just Rey, and that others out there have been training Jedi in their own way.

And those are the top 5 things I’d like to see come to fruition in The Rise of Skywalker. I’m not saying these things need to happen for the movie to be good, just that these are some of the questions I still have. Episode IX can’t possibly tie up every loose end, but a few of these would definitely be nice. Keep an eye out this week as I’ll also be giving my top 5 things I don’t want to see. Spoiler, the EU will feature heavily.

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