Star Wars: The Headcanon Burninates

Every generation has a legend. Every fan has a theory. But Star Wars Episode 9 approaches, and as the trailers start to appear, many of these fan theories will start to go down in flames.

Although I am more of a Trekker than a Star Wars fan, I did have my own thoughts on the storyline for Episode 9. Since I have just watched the first Episode 9 teaser, I thought it would be amusing to record my personal theories, just to see how badly they hold up as future trailers come out.

(Star Wars Theme. Dah-dah-dah Da…. DAAAAAAA… Dah-dah-dah-DAAAAAA! You know how it goes.)

As the traditional opening crawl starts, we learn (through golden textposition) that in the several year time-skip since The Force Awakens, the galaxy has risen up against the First Order, now led by the reviled Kylo Ren.

Forces led by remnants of the old Rebel Alliance, including General Lando Calrissian, have organized a D-Day style assault against the stronghold of the Space NazisFirst Order (the opening crawl goes on). Rallying under the cry of “Remember Skywalker,” the rebels seem poised to wipe out Ren’s holdouts in short order.

But on the eve of victory, First Order forces continue to launch hit-and-run attacks. Many fear that the strong-willed Kylo Ren and his loyal stormtroopers will fight to the last man — or worse, lash out in one final, deadly assault.

The movie begins in space near a Rebel space station orbiting a gas giant, in the middle of a space dogfight. Several TIE fighters flee as Poe Dameron and his mixed squadron of X- and other-wings chase them away from the base.

“Remember Skywalker!” he shouts as his fleet gives chase. “Keep them away from our capital ships!” One TIE fighter is taken out in the furball — but so is one of Poe’s rookie pilots. Poe’s wingman is enraged.

But as the TIE fighters make a break for it, Poe notices an incoming blip on his radar screen. Worried, he orders his squadron to stand down. “Could be an enemy ambush.”

His wingman is appalled. “I don’t see it. Probably a sensor glitch.” But Poe is adamant — return to base. Once the TIE fighters have escaped, Poe’s astromech droid reports: it was indeed a sensor glitch.

Back at base, Poe and his wingman argue. “We can’t run from every sensor blip! Those TIE fighters are reporting our fleet strength to the First Order right now! Besides, they killed Rookie One, and you let them get away!”

Poe angrily fires back. “We are here to defend this base! And we are not motivated by revenge.” As his wingman storms off, though, he appears more melancholy. “General Organa wouldn’t have wanted that.”

But General Calrissian has overheard the argument. “The General and I were old friends,” he confides. “And you’re right: as a leader, she was reserved, careful. Usually. But she had a fire within her, and she knew when to let it out.”

Poe Dameron is confused. “Sir? Are you saying I should have left the base undefended to chase down those fighters?”

“I’m saying I sense that there is also a fire within you.”

Beneath the dual suns of Tatooine, Rey stands in the middle of the desert, surrounded by sand dunes, wielding a lightsaber. At first she appears to be practicing, but as she continues battling imaginary foes, it seems that this is an odd form of meditation. She is venting her frustration.

An apparition appears directly in front of her — Luke Skywalker, as a Force Ghost. Rey halts mid-swing, stumbles. Luke chuckles.

“Luke Skywalker?” She appears more annoyed than surprised. They converse, and it is apparent that this is not the first time they have spoken. “What should I do?” she asks at last.

“Are you a Jedi Knight?” he asks.

“I’m… Rey.”

Luke shakes his head. “A Jedi Knight would know what she had to do. A Jedi Knight would know that she must defeat Kylo Ren.” He looks at her. “Are you a Jedi Knight?”

“Defeat Kylo Ren?” She shakes her head. “He’s vanished. Disappeared completely. No one can find him.”

“No one disappears completely,” Luke says, regret in his eyes. “But he is hidden, on a long-forgotten world, in search of an ancient power.”

As Luke speaks, Rey receives a vision. She is surrounded by a whirlwind of sand, which then becomes fog, which resolves into the cratered surface of a barren planet. Ancient cities dot its surface, crumbling under millennia of neglect.

In a dissolve flashback, the ancient cities are new again. The “ancient power” is a weapon — one so powerful that in one shot, it obliterates an attack fleet approaching the planet with what appears to be Force Lightning on a planetary scale.

The vision fades away, back to the calm but blazing Tatooine desert. “Kylo Ren’s heart burns with desire to fulfill the Skywalker destiny,” Luke continues. “But he misunderstands. Can you, unlike Kylo Ren, learn to understand Anakin Skywalker?”

“I thought Anakin was redeemed. Why does he not tell me that himself?”

Luke shrugs. “He doesn’t like sand.”

“Then why does he not appear to Kylo Ren? Explain himself?”

“Can a heart filled with hate, and a head filled with doubt, hear such a message?”

Rey shakes her head, resumes her lightsaber practice. “For three years you’ve appeared to me,” she rants, swinging her lightsaber carelessly through the Force Ghost. “Never leading. Never helping. Never answering; always questioning.”

“Time grows short, Rey,” Luke says. “Will you make a choice, or will you let others make it for you?” And instantly, Luke is gone.

Finn approaches, wearing Jedi robes. “Rey?”

“I had to get away,” she tells him, still practice fighting. Much time has passed: the suns are setting on the horizon. “What do they expect of me?”

Finn has clearly been through this before. “They expect you to lead them. To teach them. Rey, you were the chosen of Skywalker–“

“I was rejected by Skywalker,” she insists. “Skywalker never wanted to lead. Never wanted to train. Never wanted to resurrect the Jedi Order. Skywalker wasn’t a hero who brought peace back to the galaxy. In the end, Skywalker wasn’t a legend… he was just an old man.”

As Finn approaches, Rey retracts her lightsaber. “I was there in the end. Skywalker was a legend… and a man.”

Resigned, Rey walks with Finn back over a dune. A tent city comes into view — a fledgling community of force users. As the two walk through the streets, talking, we see that everyone there treats Rey in silent reverence, as a living legend.

But Rey is clearly uncertain about these people. Are they a new Jedi Order — or will the Dark Side destroy them as it has before?

“I have to leave here, Finn,” she confides.

“Rey, we’ve been through this–“

“No, it’s not that.” Rey looks skyward. “General Calrissian is about to launch the final assault on the First Order. I have to be there.”

“You’re going to lead a fleet?”

Rey seems hesitant. “I have a mission. Something I have to do. I owe it to someone.”

Finn places a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll come with you.”

“No,” Rey says forcefully. “These people need you here. I need you here.”

As night falls, Finn watches in silence from the top of a sand dune, as Rey’s one-person craft ascends into the sky, then vanishes into hyperspace. “May the Force be with you.”

On a cratered world deep inside First Order territory, Kylo Ren sits alone. In front of him, on a pedestal, rests the broken, partially melted helmet of Darth Vader. He holds his own helmet in his lap.

Ren struggles with severe doubt. “I am a Skywalker,” he mutters to the empty black helmet on the pedestal. “Grandson of Anakin, who built an empire. Nephew of Luke, who built an order. Son of Leia, a warrior princess. Greatness runs in my blood.”

“You will rule the galaxy,” a familiar, dark voice tells him. “It is your destiny.”

Ren looks around the room, but no one is present. He turns again, and suddenly Supreme Leader Snoke is there. Ren draws his lightsaber, pointing it threateningly at Snoke, but as the figure laughs menacingly, we see that he is incorporeal — a Force Ghost, surrounded by a red aura.

Kylo Ren is astonished. He retracts his lightsaber, backs away. “This is a power known only to the greatest of Jedi.”

“It is not exclusive to the Jedi,” Snoke sneers. “Was I not more powerful than the Jedi? Am I not more powerful than the Jedi? Did I not annihilate the Jedi?!”

Snoke raises a hand toward Ren, who suddenly clutches at his throat as though he is being force-choked. “Insolent boy, did you think you could rid yourself of me by killing me?”

Kylo panics, but is suddenly released from Snoke’s grip. “It is of no consequence. With my guidance, the First Order will turn the tables on the gathering Rebel fleet. You will indeed rule the galaxy… and I will rule you. It is your destiny… young… Skywalker.”

And Snoke’s laughter seems to fade into the laughter of the long-deceased Emperor Palpatine.

From a massive viewport aboard the Rebel space station, General Calrissian observes the largest fleet ever seen in the Star Wars-verse. At that moment, a massive fleet jumps in from hyperspace, nearly doubling the size of the already mind-boggling assemblage of ships.

The General smiles. “For once, I’ve got a good feeling about this,” he boasts to the other officers on deck.

Rose Tico approaches, wearing the uniform of a Rebel officer. “General? The ship you asked about has just arrived, and is signaling you, but… I’m having trouble understanding the pilot.”

Calrissian chuckles and orders her to put the transmission up. A holographic image is superimposed over the viewport. It is the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

Chewbacca, you old gray dust mop!” he shouts with a huge grin. “I sure am glad you brought my ship back in one piece!”

“Rrrrrrrrgh! Rrr! Rrr!”

“As soon as you’re on board, meet me in my stateroom.” Then he is suddenly somber. “I have a mission for you.”

As the transmission ends, the General turns to Rose. “Clear the Falcon for immediate docking. See that it’s refueled, and put your best maintenance team on it. That ship and I sure do have a lot of history.”

Rose salutes. “I’ll oversee the maintenance personally, sir,” she says cheerfully.

But there is no cheer in the stateroom. “You know why I asked you here, Chewie?”

“Rrrrr,” Chewbacca says sadly.

“Our intelligence has located Kylo Ren, holed up with the most loyal First Order remnants, in a bunker on a barren world deep inside hostile space.” He sighs deeply. “Chewie, I know you were close to his family. I also know that many, many, many lives could be saved… if his were ended.”

They both appear solemn for a moment. “But it’s not just that. Chewie… the world they’re hiding on? We think it’s the planet Sitthi.”


“I know. The Sith homeworld has been lost for generations. But you know the legends as well as I do. Skywalker used to say the whole planet is a vergence in the Force. And the superweapon… if it exists, it could wipe out our entire fleet.”


Calrissian hands Chewbacca a tablet. “These are the suspected coordinates of the planet. But Chewie… they know we’re on to them. They’ve been sending TIE scouts for weeks, watching us. But a small ship… say, an old smuggling ship… might just slip past them unnoticed and land on the planet undetected.”


“I won’t send you into danger alone. I’m assigning our best pilot and our top mechanic to the Falcon. Take whatever forces and equipment we have to offer. But remember — in two days, the largest Rebel fleet in history launches its assault against the most desperate forces they’ve ever encountered. Take out Kylo Ren by then, or this war is going to get a lot worse before we see it end.

Rey sits in the cockpit of her one-person spacecraft. It is traveling through hyperspace. Rey is actively steering — and the hyperspace view out the window shifts and distorts dizzyingly as she maneuvers.

We also see that she is steering with her eyes closed. She seems to be listening, turning her head and steering toward the unheard sounds. As she maneuvers, we start to hear the sound of Kylo Ren’s voice, unintelligible. We also hear the sound of digging equipment — and the stomping of stormtrooper boots.

This goes on for a while, until — the sound of laughter — the Emperor Palpatine’s laughter — is heard. Rey gasps, opens her eyes. The craft spins out of control and drops out of hyperspace.

Rey regains her equilibrium and stabilizes the craft. She checks her navigation readout, only to find she is in an uncharted region of the galaxy. Then she looks out the viewport to see a barren, cratered planet.

“Sitthi,” she realizes.

Then she notices something in the sky above the planet. A star destroyer. A fleet of star destroyers — part of the First Order fleet commanded directly by Kylo Ren.

She starts to flee, when she realizes they already have her locked in a tractor beam. Rey and her ship are dragged willy-nilly into the docking bay of the star destroyer. Desperately she fires her engines, and we hear them roar.

In a tent on Tatooine, Finn awakens as though from a nightmare. He rushes to the door, just in time to catch the outline of the Millennium Falcon landing behind the dunes, its engines roaring.

He rushes over the dune, and runs straight into Poe Dameron and Rose Tico. It is a heartfelt reunion, broken by Chewbacca’s urgent roar.

“Rey left yesterday night,” he explains to them. “Some kind of urgent mission for the alliance, I think.”

Poe is skeptical — if Rey were on a mission for the Rebels, General Calrissian certainly would have known about it — but they let it pass. They need a trustworthy volunteer for a dangerous mission into the heart of First Order space. Finn signs on immediately.

Rey awakens in a makeshift cell, built into the ruins of a city on Sitthi. She sits up in the bed and looks around. Her lightsaber is gone. She walks to the crude iron bars and looks out of the cell, but there are no guards to fool with a Jedi mind trick.

She reaches toward the door lock, attempting to use her Force powers to force it open, only to draw back her hand in pain.

“Your Force powers are useless here,” a voice explains, and Kylo Ren suddenly stands just outside the cell. He looks confident. “This city — this planet — everything here is saturated with the Dark Side of the Force. You must learn to work with it, or it will leave you in agony.”

Rey angrily leaps toward Ren, only to crumple to the floor in pain.

“Toward the end of the Sith civilization,” Ren explains, unperturbed by Rey’s suffering. “When the noble, enlightened Jedi launched an extermination campaign against them, the disturbance in the Force was so strong that it nearly ripped this planet apart. Not a living thing survived.”

Rey glares at him. “Only you would come to worship at a place of death.”

“A place of power,” Ren insists. “A place of historical significance. For millennia, the Sith have been reviled, their monuments destroyed, their history erased. But here, their power still exists. And I will carry that power back with me to unite the galaxy.”

Is anyone still reading this thing, the author wonders? Does anyone read speculative Star Wars fan fiction? Well, this is getting a bit long, so I’ll summarize the rest.

Rey and Kylo Ren form the bulk of the remainder of the story. Ren still wants to turn Rey. “We can rule the galaxy together! I can feel the conflict within you. Give in to your desire for power, and it will be yours.”

“I am conflicted,” she admits. Kylo Ren takes this as acceptance, but he has misread Rey, just as Snoke misread Ren in The Last Jedi.

“Let me show you something,” Ren says, and leads her to the edge of what appears to be a strip mining operation. It has unearthed what appears to be a gigantic weapon, on the scale of the Death Star’s main weapon.

The ancient Sith weapon is powerful enough to destroy the Rebel fleet, should they approach the planet. Kylo Ren believes this will hold off any Rebel assault. Once they have the weapon fully unearthed, they can mobilize it and go on the offensive once again.

But the Millennium Falcon has slipped into the outskirts of the system. With Poe piloting, and Finn and Chewie manning (and wookieeing) the cannons, they take out a small TIE scout force patrolling the area. Then they race toward the cratered planet.

Rose Tico locates a probable encampment. They approach stealthily, gliding the Falcon in unpowered. “Can you do that?” Rose asks. “I can do many amazing things,” Poe boasts. “We’ll see if this is one of them.”

While gliding silently overhead, they spot Kylo Ren. “Perfect. We’ll take him out from a distance.” Chewie personally targets one of the cannons at him, but then Finn notices someone with him. “Rey!”

At that moment, Rey senses something, and glances up to see the Millennium Falcon. “Rey, we’ll get you out of there,” Finn whispers, but then she raises a hand, and points the Falcon out to Kylo Ren.

The crew of the Falcon see him shout orders to a nearby stormtrooper, and suddenly — “Incoming TIE fighters!” Rose warns. Poe warms up the engines just in time to blast vertically away from the fighters, and Poe’s fancy piloting holds off their attackers until they can jump to hyperspace.

“Rey, a traitor?” Finn says. “I can’t believe it. I won’t.”

They plot a course back to the Rebel base. “We failed,” Poe mutters, wondering whether he should have turned the ship around and gone back in, guns blazing.

Back at the Rebel base, General Calrissian is dejected. The First Order has the superweapon. Kylo Ren will now be on heightened alert. And the Millennium Falcon was undoubtedly allowed to escape — so that it could warn the Rebels of the superweapon.

Still, the General presses onward. “They think we won’t dare attack them in full force now that we know they have the superweapon.” Their plan is to jump the fleet into the system, so that the planet shadows them from the superweapon.

The fleet will take out all remaining star destroyers and other First Order forces. But the star destroyers will try to lure the fleet into the range of the superweapon. Someone will have to take out the superweapon — knowing that Kylo Ren will have it heavily defended once the attack starts.

Once again, the crew of the Millennium Falcon volunteer for this mission. “So do I,” says General Calrissian. He promotes Poe Dameron, and leaves him in command of the fleet.

Meanwhile, Rey and Kylo Ren have been circling each other, each trying to turn the other. As they do, they each test the other with various Force abilities — Force Push, levitation, etc. But it is not a battle — it is almost a sporting event between them — a sparring match –and they both seem slightly pleased each time their opponent lands a hit.

The Jedi and Sith were two sides of the same coin, argues Kylo Ren. “When it suited them, they both manipulated. When it suited them, they both killed. They both sought their own ends, and justified the means.”

“But Anakin Skywalker turned,” argues Rey. “When it mattered most, he did what was right.”

“When it mattered most, he was weak.” Ren says. “What is it that you want, Rey? You want to know your past? I can tell you who your parents were. You want peace? I will bring peace to the galaxy. You want democracy? Well… I am most happy to rule over a democratic council,” Ren says with an Adam Driver smile.

But Rey knows that she’s touched a nerve by mentioning Anakin. She presses. What did Anakin want? “To rule the galaxy? To be the most powerful Sith? No… he wanted something else. Turn from the dark side, and you can succeed where he failed.”

“There is no redemption for me. No hope. There is only my destiny.”

“Perhaps redemption is your destiny. Perhaps there is always hope.”

Rumors have spread amongst the camp on Tatooine. Several of the Force-sensitives have had disturbing visions. In the absence of Rey and Finn, they have convened and agreed — they must act.

Through their contacts within the Rebellion, they are aware of a fleet gathering, and an impending battle. Their Force visions have revealed to them the location of the impending battle. They decide to join — “the new Jedi must once again become a force for good in this galaxy.” Surely the Rebellion will allow them to take their rightful places — as generals leading the armies.

In space over the barren planet Sittho, star destroyers patrol. On the bridge of one star destroyer, a bored First Order officer monitors the radar. Suddenly there is a blip. “I have a contact. Wait– multiple contacts…”

“How many?” But the radar officer’s face is frozen in horror. His screen is a solid mass of blips, too many to distinguish individual ships. The commanding officer glances at his radar screen, and orders an immediate alert.

And they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight. Yay splosions! Under Poe Dameron’s leadership and unleashed wrath, the Rebels score a great victory despite some initial uncertainty.

This story has gone off the rails, but whatevs. If the writers of Star Trek: Into Darkness can give up one-third of the way through the actual script, I can give up two-thirds of the way through a fan work that nobody will read.

So because it’s a Disney story, it needs a romance.

Rey convinces Ren that all Anakin Skywalker really wanted was a family — something that Rey empathizes with in a way that Ren cannot.

The apparition of Snoke appears — only to transfigure into Emperor Palpatine. On Sittho, the vergence in the Force is so strong that the Emperor’s Force ghost can physically manifest — something he has done before to defeat death.

As the fleets fight above, Rey and Kylo Ren engage in a Force battle against Palpatine. After much SFX, their combined powers hurl the recently reincarnated Palpatine into a deep pit.

Ren tells the First Order fleet to stand down. Then he sets the ancient Sith weapon to overload. The resulting explosion takes out half the planet, as the gathered Jedi and Rebel forces watch.

The Jedi sense a disturbance in the Force — a positive one. The local dark vergence has disappeared.

Across the fleet, the Rebels and the Jedi erupt into cheers — the war is over!

But intercut with the above, General Calrissian piloted the Millennium Falcon low over the Sith weapon just before the detonation. He skillfully rolls the Falcon 90-degrees and opens the hatch. Rey and Kylo Ren manage to Force-Jump into the open hatch, into the waiting hands of Finn and Chewbacca.

Calrissian pilots the Falcon away from the weapon, narrowly missing the explosion. He whoops with joy. “Still got it!”

Things are tense at the airlock, though. Finn and Chewbacca stare down Kylo Ren. After several tense heartbeats, Ren holds out his hand. “Hello. I’m Ben Solo… and I have much to atone for.”

Chewbacca seizes him by the arm — and pulls him into an uncomfortable bear hug. The Falcon quietly slips away from the battle.

Rey and Finn embrace. “I knew you weren’t a traitor,” he says. “We came to destroy the superweapon, but you beat us to it.”

A year later, the Jedi acolytes from earlier have built a new temple — on Tatooine, at the location of their camp. The courtyard contains statues honoring the fallen Jedi and Force users of the past: Yoda, Kenobi, Skywalker… even General Organa. And, of course, Rey, who has slipped into legend since her disappearance.

A party honors the distinguished visitors: Jedi Master Finn honors Retired General Calrissian. Chewbacca, General Dameron, and General Tico applaud.

As the celebration goes on inside the temple, two hooded figures explore the temple courtyard in silence. One of them inspects the statue of Luke Skywalker. Another donates money to a poor beggar child who approaches him.

“Bless you, kind sir,” the child says. “May the Force be with you.”

After the child leaves, the hooded figures unhood.

“Do you regret it?” Ben asks Rey. “Not being the chosen one? The one to rebuild the entire Jedi Order and fulfill the ancient prophecies?”

“Not in the slightest,” Rey says honestly. “What about you? Do you regret not fulfilling the Skywalker legacy?”

“I will spend each day until my death atoning for my many wrongs,” he says. Then he looks at Rey. “But I am already fulfilling the Skywalker legacy.”

They embrace as the Force Ghosts of the fallen Jedi appear next to their respective statues and smile down on them.

The camera sweeps up to the starry sky overhead.

Roll credits.

So… that’s my story concept for Star Wars: Episode 9. It’s a little weak in the middle, and at either end. And I’m not sure where C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8 disappeared to during this movie.

But, hey, it should be fun watching the whole thing fall apart over the next few months as new trailers are released.

So that’s my Episode 9 theory. What’s yours?


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