Finally, it’s here.
After two years of anticipation, the next chapter in the most popular movie saga in cinema history opens in theaters on Friday. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is expected to be the longest episode yet and to take the saga in some unexpected directions. Disney seems so optimistic about the film that it has already signed its director, Rian Johnson, to guide his own Star Wars trilogy after this current one concludes.
As a lifelong Star Wars fanatic — and a dad currently raising another one — here’s my list of the top five things we need to see for “The Last Jedi” to live up to the hype:
1) Some backstory on Snoke and the First Order
Where did these guys come from? How did this new menace emerge after the Empire was vanquished? Is Snoke a Sith? After all, if his name were an acronym, it could stand for “Sith No One Knew Existed.” If he is a Sith, then where was he during the time of Palpatine and Darth Vader? Johnson has already warned us we won’t get the full backstory in this movie, but the fans deserve at least some to truly appreciate the plot and situation here.
2) Luke Skywalker badassery
The scene that took “Rogue One” from a decent to a really good movie last Christmas was actually added in post-production. That was the epic can of whoop-ass Darth Vader opens in the final moments, which might be one of the finest scenes in any Star Wars film. With 34 years gone by since Luke fully came into his own in “Return of the Jedi,” it’s past time to see what he can now do as a Jedi master. And who better to receive the full fury of his Force skills than the First Order? Let us see the son of Skywalker likewise have his turn to open a can and take names.
3) A heroic sendoff for Princess Leia
It’s been about a year since Carrie Fisher’s sudden death, and at the time, there were numerous reports that Princess Leia wasn’t slated to die in “The Last Jedi” but to have a major role in Episode Nine. Obviously Fisher’s passing could very well change things, and if so, she deserves a more heroic send-off than her former husband, Han Solo, was given in “The Force Awakens.” Since she’s a general now, she deserves a general’s curtain call. I'm talking a blaze of glory, sacrificing yourself for the greater good.
4) Find out who Rey’s parents are
It’s been two years since “The Force Awakens” first introduced us to Rey. And ever since the epic flashback/flash-forward scene when she first touches Luke’s lightsaber, there’s been an ongoing debate about who she really is and where she really came from. Most of the debate has centered around whether she’s a Skywalker, a Solo, or a Kenobi. But I'm gonna guess she’s a nobody, a brand new character, discovered on the outskirts of the galaxy, who represents something new in the Force to take the Star Wars mythos in an entirely new direction. Just as a young Anakin Skywalker, who was the fulfillment of Jedi prophecy, once did for a previous generation.
5) A less whiny Kylo Ren
For the first half of “The Force Awakens,” Kylo Ren looked like a worthy antagonist for a new generation of Star Wars fans. But then he took his helmet off and became what I like to call “emo-Sith.” Helmet on, he was a villain to be feared. Helmet off, he became just another Millennial snowflake, whining because Mommy and Daddy didn’t spoil him enough. By the end of the film, I was rooting to kill him off and have Rey go bad and take his place, just because she was far more of a man than he was. Maybe I’m just old-school, but I didn’t feel any dark and light Force tension in Kylo Ren two years ago, but only annoyance at another boy who can shave. Time for this character to man up or else exit stage left.