A New Jedi Order Is Bound To Fail, And Not Even Rey Can Save It

It's official, Daisy Ridley is returning once again as Rey Skywalker for one more film in the "Star Wars" timeline, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (known for "A Girl in the River," and episodes of "Ms. Marvel") and written by Steven Knight ("Peaky Blinders"). Despite the missed potential, I remain a massive fan of the sequel trilogy and its characters, so I should be happy to see it, right? Here's a perfect opportunity for Lucasfilm to set things right; to wash away the sins of "The Rise of Skywalker" and do justice to one of the Skywalker Saga's most promising and fresh characters.

Since it was just announced last week at this year's "Star Wars Celebration," details on the film are currently as vague as possible. We know that the untitled film is set 15 years after the events of "The Rise of Skywalker" in a new "era" of the timeline called "The New Jedi," in which an older and wiser Rey will pick up the scraps of the past and train a new generation of Jedi.

Although the initial promise of seeing Ridley send off the character of Rey on better terms as well as allowing room for stories told in the aftermath of the sequel trilogy was thrilling, the hype quickly wore off. I thought to myself, why would Rey have any interest in rebuilding the Jedi Order, especially when everything she has learned over the course of her story has taught her otherwise?

The idea of a film where Rey rebuilds the Jedi Order is fundamentally flawed. Once again, there's a tension between the Disney era of "Star Wars" and its interest in franchise longevity and expansion over core themes and ideas.

A generational trauma

Consistency is not one of the "Star Wars" franchise's strong suits, however, I would make a bold argument that the main, unifying question that connects the franchise together in the Disney era is whether or not the Jedi Order can return to its former glory. It's crucial to point out that apart from "Andor," almost every single Disney+ "Star Wars" series has involved Order 66 in some capacity, from the seventh season of "Star Wars" The Clone Wars" and spin-off series "The Bad Batch," to dramatic flashbacks in "The Mandalorian," and "The Book of Boba Fett."

In "Obi-Wan Kenobi," it's even more explicit that Order 66 was a genocide, combining a bleak, visceral visual style with a story where hope is found in hidden railroads and near-death escapes from Vader's Inquisitors. Each project has been an echo of the most harrowing scene in "Revenge of the Sith" — a culmination of the Jedi Council's failures that have changed the timeline forever.

Throughout the "Star Wars" timeline, we've continually seen situations where surviving Jedi initially set out to foster a new generation, only for complicated moral questions to be raised in the process. In the expanded universe video game, "Jedi: Fallen Order," Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan) is sent on a quest to find a holocron containing the identities and locations of young force sensitives around the galaxy. After receiving visions of boundless trauma and suffering younglings, he destroys the holocron and leaves future generations to decide their fates for themselves. In "Star Wars: Rebels," Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) rejects identifying as a Jedi during her heart-wrenching confrontation with Vader. Controversially, in "The Last Jedi," Luke Skywalker's attempt to create a Jedi Academy of his own ended in flames, rubble, and isolation.

The doomed New Republic in the MandoVerse

It isn't just the Jedi Order that's doomed to fail without reform. Throughout "Star Wars," it's often portrayed that the preservation of the status quo only leads to a repeated cycle of violence and conflict. In this latest season of "The Mandalorian," we've been seeing the gap between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens" gradually close in on itself. Incorporating elements of the scrapped "Rangers of the New Republic" series, season 3 of "The Mandalorian" has given us glimpses into a liberated "New Republic" — but it seems that they share most of the same exact issues with the Galactic Republic (and some more flaws underneath the surface). In both eras, Coruscant is split into levels of wealth inequality, a corrupt and ineffective democracy, and a passive attitude towards fascism.

In season 3, episode 3, "The Convert," we directly see the New Republic directly working with ex-Empire scientists through the "Amnesty Program," an allegory for the real-life Operation Paperclip, in which many Nazi scientists were recruited by the U.S. Government shortly after WWII. Told through the eyes of ex-Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) crony, Dr. Penn Pershing (Omid Abtahi), we are re-introduced to the concept of cloning — paving the way for crucial sequel trilogy plotlines, like the revitalization of Palpatine and the eventual rise of the First Order. Eventually, the New Republic, like the Galactic Republic before it, will fall.

If we accept this as the lifecycle of systemic power in "Star Wars," then why should an attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order again be any different?

Is it up to Rey, or a board room?

In this new sequel film, it will now be in Rey's hands to make a decision that will shape the future generations of Jedi ahead of her. Taking into account all that we know about the timeline of "Star Wars" and the endless push and pull between the dark and the light, as well as what Rey has learned from Luke and his failures in "The Last Jedi," the most logical conclusion to Rey's story would be to abandon the old Jedi way and forge a new, healthier path. If Rey's film is a worthy epilogue to her story, it will need to answer tough questions about the material and systemic change.

But of course, that's a lot to ask for from a franchised studio blockbuster. While it would be the more interesting and narratively fulfilling choice, it is in direct opposition to Lucasfilm's corporate interests. With the three films and tons of Disney+ series just announced at "Star Wars Celebration," the "Star Wars" universe is destined to only keep expanding and adding onto the timeline. Why create a definitive end for Rey and her story, when the "New Jedi" era boasts endless potential for spin-offs, continuations, and universe expansion?

As a passionate fan of the sequel trilogy, I would love for a follow-up film to make good on all of its wasted promises and breathe new life into the often maligned era of the franchise, but unfortunately, the logline for this untitled Rey film only further pinpoints the creative tension that the sequel trilogy suffered from — bold creative risks undermined by mass-market storytelling.

The rebuilding of the Jedi Order is futile, but when you put franchising first, it is one of the only ways "Star Wars" can maintain its longevity.