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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.
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.
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’.
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.