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Star Wars Needs To Show Us What Happens After Rise Of Skywalker

"The Rise of Skywalker" was a complicated phenomenon, somehow tantrically disappointing and furiously rushed. Disney's "Star Wars" development speedrun had reached its terrible climax, the point in any sufficiently arduous long-distance sprint where the athletes lose track of their own limbs and start tumbling to the asphalt. Somehow, Palpatine returned. Even more somehow, it wasn't fun to see him.

The behind-the-scenes turbulence that plagued Episode IX was more memorable than most of Episode IX. Nobody's here to argue over whether Colin Trevorrow's script would have been an improvement, to relitigate matters of wasted potential, or to speculate on what could have been given an extra year of development time. What's done is done. It's time for Disney to do as their progenitor told them and Keep Moving Forward. Also, cast Kurt Russell in more things. That's beside the point.

See, ever since "Rise of Skywalker" was met with a collective fart noise from fans and critics, the minds behind "Star Wars" have been too gunshy to carry their universe into the future. Prequels have become, and this is flabbergasting, the safe bet. "Obi-Wan" takes place between Episodes III and IV. "The Mandalorian" is set between VI and VII (where Mark Hamill is a dead-eyed digital mannequin brought to life). If anybody ever finishes watching "The Book of Boba Fett," we'll know what time period that's supposed to be in.

And while a focus on the past makes some sense — "Star Wars" has been a franchise rooted in nostalgia since that first title crawl inched across the screen — it's time for a bold new direction. It's time for Disney to tell us what happened after "Rise of Skywalker."

Like, and this is just blue sky conjecture, but what if Lobot had a kid or something? Wouldn't that be nuts?

Lobot's kids are probably bananas in Star Wars Episode X

You remember Lobot, right? The guy from "Empire" that looked like someone stuck a Roomba charger on the back of an unpainted member of the Blue Man Group? Look, the new movie doesn't have to be about his kid, that's just a jumping-off point. What else?

What else?

Maybe there's another Death Star, but bigger. Or smaller. Go in the other direction. Maybe Death Stars are like cell phones in the mid-2000s and the miniaturization technology is just starting to catch up. Maybe post-"Rise of Skywalker," everybody open carries a Death Star in their waistband. There's probably a gag about Death Starbucks there, but it's a little dated. Does that count as nostalgia?

Not for nothing, but there was that great storyline that we sort of dropped, the one where Finn got to like, do something. He had a cool setup for a full-on redemption story. There's a hell of a narrative there — the ex-Stormtrooper on a mission to free people like himself, conscripted at a young age and forced into a life of violence. Lots of great morality stuff to play with there. Maybe he runs into some old clones from the days of the Republic. We'd get some nature/nurture discussions about who's responsible for the pain you cause, and what's the difference between the First Order taking kids to raise as Stormtroopers and the Jedi taking kids to raise as religious zealots. Finn was arguably the most complicated character in the new trilogy. He deserved an equally nuanced story.

Chewbacca could start getting some gray hairs. Make him all distinguished looking, maybe give him reading glasses, but then he'll still tear someone's arms off. That's kind of fun. Maybe Grogu's there. People love Grogu.

Or maybe there's a bigger Death Star

What else?

Alright, this one's a big swing, but maybe there was a third Skywalker sibling. Like, right before she died, Padme was naming her kids Luke and Leia, and then she ran out of juice and did a death rattle and Obi-Wan left with the first two babies before he noticed that those birthing robots were trying to hand him Guttural Moan Skywalker. What do you think Guttural Moan Skywalker is up to in his later years? Is he Force sensitive? There's the hero's journey we've been waiting for: The one that says "It's not too late to be the protagonist of your own story, even if you're in your mid-60s and you've been working at a used spacecar dealership for a while." Kurt Russell could play him.

Or you could go into the story of how Sidious managed to cheat death. Flip the script on the fan frustrations. There's probably a lot of intrigues there — you could even go into the hows and whys of anyone following this guy when his whole professional oeuvre seems cemented in a repeating cycle of Death Stars and lightning fingers. Unnatural command of dark forces notwithstanding, Palpatine had to have been doing something right at a managerial level to keep people coming to work for him. He probably has more followers out there with new old-man clones simmering, spread out across the galaxy, hiding behind unassuming doorways and in the backs of cantinas.

Rose could join the Max Rebo Band. Or whatever, it'd just be nice to see Rose doing something.

Did we already pitch "bigger Death Star?"

This franchise is exhausting.