It's been a while since I've indulged myself by geeking out over "Star Wars," currently one of the few major film franchises that I retain many geeky feelings for. So I'm going to get some things out of my system with this post, throwing out theories, ideas, hopes, and wild speculation about what might happen in "Episode VIII" and "Episode IX." Spoilers ahead for everything in the series so far.
While it would be nice if Rey didn't turn out to be related to anyone special, or who we've already met, setting up her origins as a mystery the way the filmmakers have suggests otherwise. So if I had to pick, I'd pick Emperor Palpatine as her father or grandfather, who had to secret away the existence of an heir. It would make for a nice parallel to Kylo Ren, who was supposed to be the successor of the champions of the Light Side of the Force but turned dark, and echo Luke Skywalker's reckoning with being the son of Vader. Ian McDiarmid's portrayal of Palpatine was also my favorite part of the prequels, so getting him back into the mix in some capacity would be great. Speaking of Kylo Ren, I'm looking forward to his continuing training, set in counterpoint to Rey's being a big part of the next film.
Now, one big element of the original "Star Wars" films that I haven't seen brought back so far is the romance. I don't want Rey to end up in a love triangle with Finn and Poe Dameron, but I would like to see some sort of love story in these movies. It would make the most sense to center one around Finn, who is striking out on his own and learning to be an individual with his own wants and needs. While Rey is off training with Luke, he should be off having his own adventures, maybe with Poe, maybe with whoever Kelly Marie Tran is playing. Of course, this assumes that "Episode VIII" is going to have the same structure as "Empire Strikes Back," when it easily might not. We don't really need to see all the Jedi training again, so wouldn't be surprised if the story skips a good chuck of it, and reunites Rey with her friends quicker.
If Rey is going to be a romantic lead, I could see her being tempted by Kylo Ren, who will probably be ordered as part of his training to either defeat or seduce her, and that might lead to him being brought back to the Light Side by her good influence. Of course, there are some tricky implications to doing that kind of story, but handled right it could be a really fun watch. I'm sure that Kylo Ren and Luke's explanations of what happened in the past won't be the same. There's probably a big lie or a big trauma in there somewhere. And of course Kylo Ren is going to kill, or at least severely incapacitate Luke Skywalker. It's part of the formula to remove all of your hero's support systems before the finale. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the end of "Episode VIII."
Still, as interested as I am in what happened to the Solo and Skywalker families before "The Force Awakens," I hope it's only a very small part of the films going forward. As much as I enjoy Mark Hamill, the last thing I want is for the regrets of Old Man Skywalker to end up overshadowing Rey or Kylo Ren's stories. "Star Wars" is not "The Karate Kid," and Luke Skywalker should have exactly as much narrative emphasis as Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi did, no more. And here's hoping that they don't bring back Lando or Wedge or Lobot or whoever else might be in line for a cameo. I'm hoping that the filmmakers got the majority of the nostalgia out of their systems with "The Force Awakens" and "Rogue One" so that the series can start really moving forward.
And finally, a few miscellaneous things. Yes to more droids, more Chewbacca, and more alien creatures. Yes, to more different planets. Yes to new villains. However, I hope that they do something more interesting with Snoke and Phasma. And I hope that we get some new ships to love as much as we all love the Falcon. I was always a sucker for the ships.