In 2015, a whole new generation of Star Wars fans was born when the J.J. Abrams-helmed The Force Awakens arrived in theaters from here to a galaxy far, far away. Sure, some criticized it for feeling like a rehash of A New Hope, but as Abrams himself stated, this was done intentionally to help ease audiences back into the world George Lucas created four decades earlier. Besides, when all was said in done, the majority of moviegoers were too busy salivating over the limitless potential for the future of the sequel trilogy to dwell on the striking similarities between Episodes IV and VII.
Then, two years later, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi hit the big screen and has since become arguably the most polarizing Star Wars movie of all-time. From the characterization of Luke Skywalker to the apparent disregard for everything Abrams set up in Episode VII to the way it radically subverted expectations, numerous fans were left disappointed by the film and disillusioned with the franchise. Then again, others were completely enamored with Johnson’s approach, including Lucasfilm, which was made crystal clear when we learned Johnson would return to oversee a new trilogy of Star Wars films.
Regardless of how you feel about The Last Jedi, though, it can’t be denied that Star Wars needs to get back on track. While Episode VIII cleaned up at the box office and was largely adored by critics, it took a vicious beating from fans. In turn, the next Star Wars film, Solo, only received a lukewarm reception and performed abysmally from a financial standpoint.
So, how can Episode IX rebound? Well, we have some ideas that will likely satisfy both those who loved The Last Jedi and those who were left wanting more. Here are five ways J.J. Abrams can redeem the Star Wars franchise: