Star Wars Episode IX is going to end not only Disney’s Sequel Trilogy, but the entire Skywalker Saga, but in order for the latter to truly be achieved, J.J. Abrams needs to kill off Kylo Ren.

After the death of Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren is the remaining major villain for Episode IX. More than that, though, he is where the Skywalker line currently ends. Luke is gone, Leia will presumably be gone soon, too, and outside of Kylo there’s no one to continue the lineage.

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Episode IX has a lot to do, despite criticism saying The Last Jedi left it nowhere to go. It needs to resolve the conflict between the Resistance and the First Order, and the journeys of Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8. On top of that, it has to bring over 40 years’ worth of storytelling to a close. To do this, and end the saga, Kylo has to go.

Star Wars 9 Ends The Skywalker Saga

As revealed when the cast was announced, Star Wars Episode IX is "the final installment of the Skywalker saga."

That’s why Mark Hamill is returning one last time as Luke, despite his death in The Last Jedi. It’s also why Abrams is repurposing previously shot footage of the late Carrie Fisher. This is the conclusion to all of the Star Wars Episodes, not just VII-IX. And you can’t end the Skywalker saga without the Skywalkers.

To that end, it wouldn’t even be much of a surprise for Hayden Christensen to have a cameo as Anakin. Whether you look at it by release date, with Luke on Tattooine dreaming of bigger things, or by canon chronology, with a young Anakin the prophesied Chosen One, this story started with the Skywalkers. It’s only fitting that it ends with them too. And the operative word there is ‘end’.

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Kylo Ren Is The Final Skywalker

As mentioned, Luke Skywalker is dead. Even now the words still take a little getting used to (and it’s not a stretch to imagine them appearing at the top of Episode IX’s opening crawl), but it’s a fact. Of course, no one’s ever really gone, which is why we’ll be seeing Luke in Episode IX. That’s almost certainly as a Force Ghost, or perhaps in another flashback sequence. Either way, he’s dead and in no position to extend the Skywalker line.

Leia is still alive, but there’s only so much they can do with her character. We don’t know exactly what or how much footage exists, but she won’t be the main focus, and this will be her final movie too. Hopefully, there’s a fitting send-off, but there isn’t a future with her character.

That just leaves us with Ben Solo as the only person who could carry the Skywalker bloodline forward. His grandfather and uncle are gone, while Rey, despite the theories that somehow haven’t fully died, isn’t a Skywalker. Nor are any of the other characters, for that matter. Unless Abrams has a long lost cousin to pull from the Unknown Regions, Kylo is it as far as the Skywalker family tree is concerned.

Page 2: Kylo Ren Has To "Die" To Save The Skywalkers

Kylo Ren Has To "Die" To Save The Skywalkers

We can chart a course for what happens to Luke and Leia when ending the Skywalker Saga. Both are likely to play leadership/mentor roles, and then be gone for good. But with Kylo Ren, things are a little more complicated.

Related: Star Wars 9 Theory: Kylo Ren Is Redeemed... Because of Darth Revan

Like his grandfather before him, Kylo has given himself over to the Dark Side, and now finds himself leading the First Order. But you can’t end the Skywalker Saga - the story of the galaxy’s greatest heroes - with the last of their line still alive and being the Biggest Bad around.

The first option, then, is that Kylo Ren has to literally die. There are a few ways this could happen: the most obvious option is in combat with Rey, as the pair feel destined for a final dual now their respective masters have departed. But there will be lots of conflict in Episode IX, with Kylo right in the firing line. They could even go a darker route and, given Kylo’s inner-conflict, have him commit suicide rather than go on being torn. It’d end his story with a hint of redemption, without having to repeat previous story beats.

Speaking of which, they could, of course, have Kylo Ren be redeemed. Abrams has already shown a predilection for repeating previous movies, and this is Star Wars. It rhymes. It’d fit both of those aspects for Rey to turn Kylo like Luke turned Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Kylo Ren would then be ‘dead’, much like Vader was, with Ben Solo redeemed a la Anakin. He could then still die, to provide complete closure, or remain surviving but with his story nevertheless at an end. Although, given the franchise, it might be better to have the more permanent solution.

Star Wars Needs To Move On

How Kylo dies - if it happens - is a matter for J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio to resolve. What’s clear, though, is that Star Wars needs to move on from the Skywalker family.

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We’ve had 42 years, 10 movies, and countless tie-in stories, all ultimately connected one way or another to this small but significant family. That’s, well, a lot.

The Last Jedi understood this perfectly well. In confirming Rey isn’t a Skywalker (or anyone else), it started the shift away from Luke & Co. It charted this through Rose too, establishing that anyone can rise up to be a hero. You don’t need to be from a special family to make a difference. You can be a forgotten child from a desert junkyard, or born on an impoverished mining colony. Just like how, eons ago, it was simply about a farm boy. And one family doesn’t need to dominate the galaxy for the next 40 years.

Disney, for their part, is seemingly aware of this. Not only have they stated this is the end of the saga, but the future films all sound very different. Rian Johnson’s Trilogy will be something completely new, and Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff will likewise be doing their own unique thing.

This is, hopefully, something Episode IX will get right. As with all things in Star Wars, there needs to be balance. Episode IX needs to celebrate the Skywalkers, but it also needs to grow beyond them.

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