The bad guys are dead. They died in a good way. So what now? What could the story of Episodes 7-9 possibly be?
First, they’ll need a villain, because they all died in the other movies. Who can be the villain?
Either one of the good guys goes bad, a new bad guy shows up, or an old bad guy wasn’t as dead as we thought.
None of these sound interesting to me.
Good guy goes bad – well, this has been covered in the EU. And it’s tired. Leia went Sith in my script for Episode VII. It was stupid.
New bad guy shows up – I did this too. Darth Seethe. At the time, I thought it was stupid to call the Emperor Darth Sidious, because ‘insidious’ is a real word that means … well, phantom menace. So I wanted to write about a Sith who was ticked off all the time, so I named him Seethe. Stupid. But what kind of new bad guy would be interesting enough to justify a new series? Palpatine’s old roommate from space college has shown up.
Resurrected bad guy – Please oh please do not do this. I enjoy some of the EU, but I seriously got bored when Palpatine was cloned and basically resurrected. Nothing kills a story like making one of the characters immortal.
All of these options are troubling to me actually. All of them make the point that evil is never truly destroyed. I’ve always thought of Star Wars as being a pretty clear metaphor for Christ’s work. Like Luke, He came from a humble rural childhood and rose to achieve victory and peace, against all assumptions that could be made about his age and appearance and rank. Like Christ, Luke finally overthrew the villain and won peace for the galaxy.
So to continue the story would seem to dismiss Luke’s ultimate victory as just one in a series of necessary victories. Palpatine’s gone, sure, but now there are new bad guys that need to be dealt with before we can have peace. At what point will peace finally be achieved? If Star Wars will continue toward a new grand finale, the stakes will have to be raised. Will the sequels feature a villain more twisted and evil than Palpatine. And could they possibly culminate in a final battle as meaningful as Luke repairing his father’s broken spirit and the ultimate destruction of the Empire and its evil Emperor?
To just keep the story going suggests a hierarchy of villains would be built. Palpatine will no longer be the big baddie of the Star Wars universe. Episodes 1-3 are devoted to his rise to power. Episodes 4-6 document his downfall. Episodes 7-9 will be about … his stupid clone? His trusty friend that’s been hiding out this whole time? Any way you play it, it minimizes Palpatine as the big baddie and it minimizes Luke as the guy that restored peace and justice to the galaxy. The new villain will have to be stronger, meaner, and uglier to make any impact, and to not detract from the effectiveness of Palpatine. Star Wars will become like Bruce Lee’s Game of Death, rising from one challenger to another, until finally confronting the big boss.
That doesn’t work for me. Star Wars is myth, not a video game.
(Who am I kidding? They already have my ticket!)