Because of the Reddit character limit, I am posting this separately. Episode IX - Balance in the Force: If The Force Awakens was a bad premise executed incredibly well and The Last Jedi was an incredible premise executed badly, The Rise of Skywalker is a terrible premise executed horribly. I disagree with the popular notion that Rian cornered J.J. because TLJ screwed everything up. I have many problems with The Last Jedi, but Rian took what could have been a visionless carbon-copy of the OT, and gave a new bold direction, an inspiring purpose for this trilogy to exist. It opened up so many possibilities for Episode 9, but J.J. took the easiest soulless path. Episode 9 should never have been the plot conclusion that reverses from The Last Jedi and attempts to be a thoughtless fan service finale that ties up the Prequels and the Originals by redoing Return of the Jedi. Episode 9 should have been the thematic conclusion that wraps up the motifs of the Prequels, the Originals, and The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker failed to answer the questions that the trilogy has raised. I am not talking about J.J.'s mystery boxes. Sure, I would have liked to learn how Maz got Luke's lightsaber and who Max von Sydow's character was, but I am talking about the thematic questions. What should the Jedi be and where should the Jedi head toward? What should the galactic government be after the failures of the New Republic? What is the will of the Force? What is the balance? Why is Kylo Ren's path wrong? What is the permanent solution to the chaos that has been repeated again? Despite branding itself to be a finale that attempts to unify the whole saga, The Rise of Skywalker answers none of these because killing Palpy again, this time he is 'dead' dead, solves every problem of the galaxy. The movie fails to wrap up the 42-year franchise, it fails to wrap up what The Last Jedi has set up, it fails to answer The Force Awakens's questions, only raising more questions, it fails to be a fan-service movie, and it even fails to be a fun popcorn movie as its own. This is Spectre of Star Wars. It bafflingly misunderstands what the essence of Star Wars is. As the title suggests, this new story is about our heroes exploring what balance in the Force means. Balance is not just killing Palpy again and be done with it. Here are the basic ideas. Let's continue The Last Jedi's message about the power of myth and everyman. EDIT: I have incorporated EmperorYogg's idea. Crawl: The flames of resistance burn brightly! Word of mouth about the heroic act of Jedi Master LUKE SKYWALKER has spread from planet to planet and inspired the galaxy anew. To suffocate growing unrest, Supreme Leader Hux has silenced all communication between neighboring systems. Defiance is punishable by death. As the First Order struggles to maintain their systems, Lord KYLO REN rages in search of all records of the Force and anyone associated with it, determined to destroy any threat to his power....
The camera pans down and we see common people talking about the legend of Luke Skywalker as they look up the night sky. Then the montage of the word of mouth about Luke Skywalker's heroic sacrifice spreading among the common people throughout the galaxy. Even the FO troopers who witnessed the event at Crait talk about this in secret.
It has been two years after The Last Jedi.
The FO has blocked all civilian communications, trades, and movements between systems. People are only able to travel if they have permission.
Finn has become one of the Commanders of the Resistance.
Kylo dreams of his uncle returning to his mind and pulling him to the light. He dreams of Luke over and over.
Kylo reigns the FO as a Lord. He continues his "kill the past" mentality to the extreme. Kylo wants to remove all record of the Force and those associated with it from the galaxy. He massacres the suspected Force users and destroys the ancient Jedi and Sith relics. He hopes to maintain power as the leader of the FO by gatekeeping such knowledge as he has become fearful that he might lose his authority at any moment. This makes Kylo a thematical opposition to Rey, who wants to spread stories and knowledge of the Force to recruit the Jedi.
After the death of Plagueis, Supreme Hux has been obsessed with the Sith and the Jedi and wants to become a Force-user. Unlike Kylo, who destroys all records of the Force, he has been collecting the lightsabers and ancient relics. He beheads the traitors and captured Resistance fighters on the public square by using the lightsaber he has collected to show off. Despite wanting to become a Force-user, he has no knowledge nor cares to understand it. Only for his power. To beat Kylo Ren out of his power. Basically, Hux is an Indiana Jones villain. This makes Hux an opposition to both Kylo and Rey and gives him an interesting dynamic with Kylo.
As Kylo and the Knights of Ren massacre another group of Force worshippers (Not the Jedi nor the Sith. People like Chirrut who do not fall under any side), Kylo discovers some sort of a key. They return to Coruscant and examine it, discovering it is a key to the World Between Worlds from Rebels. He tries to destroy the key at first but chooses to venture there alone, determined to close this place once and for all so no one can access it. He then dreams of Luke again in his nightmare.
NandovMovies's idea on Chewbacca is pretty fantastic. Chewbacca and C-3PO (translating the Force worshippers' words for Chewbacca) are with these Force worshippers in the intro as Rey is trying to find all the Force-related relics to rebuild the Jedi, but Kylo and his Knights of Ren came in. The Force worshipper contacts Rey through the Force to alert her. We see Rey in her hideout on Kijimi, floating with the Force. There are many new recruits beside her. Rey tells them it is time to go.
Kylo demands the Force worshippers to join him, but they refuse. Kylo and his Knights massacre the worshippers. Before Chewie gets captured, he does something to C-3PO. He captures Chewbacca, C-3PO, and his Falcon and brings them to Coruscant.
The FO attempts to extract information from C-3PO, but Chewie mindwiped him. However, Kylo notices additional modification for C-3PO with the parts that are made with Ajan Kloss steels, meaning the Resistance base is on there. The FO then tortures Chewbacca to get information, but he will not open his mouth. Finally, Kylo arrives. Chewbacca looks away. Kylo interrogates Chewbacca to gain information about where the Resistance and Rey are and what this key is about. Chewbacca resists and starts remembering his happy days with Kylo and Han Solo, and Kylo relieves these moments. Chewbacca watching the marriage... Leia holding her newborn baby... Ben's Jedi training... and Ben killing his father. Kylo tries to suppress it, killing the past but it keeps haunting him back. Despite Chewie's effort, Kylo obtains information regarding the key and Rey and the Resistance's location.
The stationed Republic troopers raid Rey's hideout on Kijimi, but they were already gone. Rey and her Jedi and Rebel recruits escape. Her new recruits comprise of diverse living beings from Kijimi, from teenagers to elders, from humans to aliens... Rey has been recruiting those who wanted to be the Jedi and the Resistance through the stories. In the last hope to preserve the Jedi's legacy, Rey grows from student to teacher and shares the sacred texts to everyone who wants to be Jedi. She has been printing and researching the texts.
We get a chase scene in the village. Rather than Rey killing every enemy in her sight unlike Luke did in Return of the Jedi, she tries more peaceful solutions. Instead of slashing trooper's head, she Force-throws objects and cuts off the bridge, etc. The villagers cheer for the Jedi and block the troopers' way. She protects her pupils and escapes without killing anyone. Connix reveals herself with the hidden Resistance ship and helps them escape. Rey tells her they are new Jedi recruits.
In the road to regroup with the Resistance, Connix thanks Rey for alerting the Resistance. The Resistance has retreated again (As Kylo extracted information about the Resistance base) and she is angry that the Resistance cannot keep running away. They are now bigger than before and this is time to fight back. A new volunteer says that time might be closer since people are resenting the FO rule and the blackout was the last straw. They talk about the sacrifice of Luke Skywalker and how it has inspired people. He asks if Rey is Luke's daughter. Rey gives a bittersweet smile and tells him she is not. She still wants to be someone's daughter.
They regroup on the asteroid world of Opuchi in the Unknown Regions like Polis Massa. The Resistance, now significantly increased in size, has just fled from Ajan Kloss. Opuchi is the last place they have. The Resistance has become a more proper military now, but there are plenty of civilian vehicles modified into the warships. They have been gathering local resistance forces and unifying them under the rebranded name of the Alliance of Free Planets.
While I agree with the Rey Sue criticism in The Force Awakens, people who still complained about Rey being Mary Sue even after TLJ's release seem to misunderstand her character. Rey's character flaw (Yes, it does exist) was that she was so gullible and naive, and The Last Jedi challenged this in an interesting way. Rather than continuing Rey being another Luke Skywalker-type hero, which would not work because of her OP set-up in TFA, Rian made Rey's story as someone with innate power already present with no direction on how to process it and how to find her place in the galaxy. You know, sort of like Superman. If you view through this lens, every Rey's 'want' fails. Her Jedi fantasy gets crushed, her optimism about turning Kylo to good shatters, and her hope about her parentage is torn to pieces. To continue her arc, in REDONE, Rey is no longer a naive optimistic character as she used to be. She is jaded, stressed, and lashes out when she sees students doing something wrong. Not only Rey has self-doubt if she will be able to lead the new generation of the Jedi, but she is also disillusioned and feels that the Jedi's way is wrong.
The Resistance has no idea what to do amidst the communication blackout. The blackout is working for the FO. The Resistance is completely cornered and has no way out. However, R2-D2, who is with Leia, tells that the Coruscant Jedi Temple has an old communication system from the Old Republic that can send a universal signal. (If you have read my ROTS REDONE, R2-D2 was the one who transmitted Obi-Wan's warning message. Even if you take the movie canon, R2-D2 was Anakin's droid, and Anakin already knew where the Temple beacon was, so I do not think it would be big of a stretch that R2 knows about it.) The FO cannot stop it since it far predates the FO, the New Republic, and even the Imperial tech. Leia plans on using it to get allies for possibly the last strike against the FO. "It will go out across all system comm channels and will be inserted into the public holonet. Trillions of beings will soon hear my voice. This is a galaxy-wide call to arms. We can no longer fight in isolation. Together, we will restore hope."
Luke's Force ghost visits Rey after she trained the recruits. Luke: "Another hard day's work?" Rey ignores Luke and says, "Leave me alone." Although Rey has come to terms with Luke, her relationship with Luke is not smooth. Rey talks about how she is not ready for such a task. She does not feel like she has what it takes to be a Jedi and cannot live up to everyone's expectations. Luke says, he has just visited Ben, in his dream, and tells her that Ben is going to the World Between Worlds. A place described in the Jedi texts as a place of balance. The texts tell where the key is. Luke tells Rey that he sensed Ben can be saved thus Rey can bring balance to the Force. However, Rey asks if Kylo is worth saving anymore. If Rey re-establish the Jedi Order, the same thing is bound to happen and the cycle of suffering continues. Rey: "Balance? The dark suffocates the light, light extinguishes the dark. Over and over and over again. How is that balance in the Force?" Luke: "I know that anger. My father had it too." Rey: "So says my master and his master before him. A thousand masters so eager to tell us how to live." Regardless, Rey decides to have a dangerous journey alone. Although Rey doubts about it, Rey still feels the need to try. Leia and Finn doubt it.
Finn then talks about Kylo. He says, "He can't change. It's too late." Rey says, "It's never too late to change. You taught me that." This sets Finn's character arc that he needs to learn people can change as he did.
Maz is with Rey. Maz talks about the former Jedi who found Anakin's lightsaber. "The former Togruta Jedi" did not follow the Jedi's principles, yet was still able to do good, proving you can still serve the Force without inheriting the way of the Jedi.
Rey tells Leia that she does not feel she belongs with the heroes like Leia, Finn, and Chewie. She feels unworthy. Leia brings some senses to her. "You're not like my father or my brother. You're new. Whatever happens, remember the Force chose you, Rey. Your story isn't written by anyone else." Rey's arc in Episode 9 is about learning to stop relying on other people (or things) for validation and learn to start relying on herself. She doesn’t have to be told her place in the Galaxy, she has to find it herself and she can still be a hero despite coming from nothing.
Finn tries to persuade her not to go. The Resistance and the Jedi recruits need her. If she has to go, Finn will go with her. Rey refuses, but Finn begs her to take him. Rey uses the Force mind tricks on him, but it does not work as his spirit is too strong. Rey runs away with R2-D2 and leaves Finn without a proper goodbye.
R2-D2 wants to meet Kylo again, as he has always been with Ben until he became Kylo Ren. Rey hesitates, but Leia tells her to bring him.
Leia's mission is to gather many armies as possible for the final confrontation against the FO on Coruscant. Nien Nunb tells where Lando is and she meets Lando in his casino at Canto Bight. She asks him to join the fight but Lando refuses. What's the point of fighting when the same thing repeats. This conversation leads to Leia's decision at the end of the story. Leia gets disappointed and leaves the casino. Lando feels guilty for not helping Leia.
For Finn's arc, u/withoutamartyr seems to be ideal. Finn's mission is to get into Coruscant through the FO freighter and transmit Leia's message. Wedge is said to be there. Before they depart, R2-D2 and BB-8 come together. R2-D2's prod connects to BB-8 and gives him the map of the Jedi Temple, passing down the torch.
Finn, BB-8, and his squad, disguised as the migrant workers, are sent to one of the agriworlds in the Outer Rims. This can be Ertegas or Taris. They go through a checkpoint, which is about to close today. Only Finn gets accepted as the last migrant for today. One of the troopers recognizes Finn's face and about to detain him, but a sergeant trooper comes out and takes Finn away. The trooper takes out his helmet to reveal Wedge Antilles.
Wedge guides Finn and BB-8 to Babu Frik, who lives hiding in the migrant settlement. Babu Frik modifies BB-8's shell into the FO BB unit. Wedge talks about how people on Coruscant are starving due to the blackout as Coruscant has little to no farm. Finn has to get into the freighter loaded with bread-powder rations (The powder Rey used to grow bread in TFA), resources, and the weaponry. Here, Finn asks, "How'd you do it? How did you defeat an Empire with almost nothing?" Wedge responds, "We had each other. That's how we won."
With the help of Wedge, Finn hides in the bread-powder container and loads into the freighter while disguised BB-8 is already in the freighter and hacks the scanner examining the loads. They successfully get smuggled into the freighter which heads to Coruscant.
Among the troopers are Elite Troopers, who have been highly trained with high moral.
In the road to Coruscant, Finn, covered in bread powder, gets out of the container and sneaks into the vents. In the vent, water drops fall onto Finn and loaves of bread grow out of his skins and clothes. He gets detected and captured. The FO captain tries contacting other fleets, but BB-8 jammed the freighter, cutting off any communication from the ship. The captain says there must be a droid spy and orders them to find BB-8. BB-8 must have the Resistance location. The captain is giggling, thinking he will get promoted for killing infamous Finn. When Finn is ordered to be executed, the troopers refuse the order and shoot their captain. They take off their helmets, a boy, a 16-year-old child soldier as the FO has lowered the conscription age, and his older sister, Jannah. They are alien characters, Zabrak, Twe'lek, Chiss, Pantoran, Togruta, Mirialan... It does not matter. They say, "We all know your name." Soldiers do not know what they are fighting for anymore and their morale is an all-time low. Finn and the troopers start a breakout, and more troopers get inspired and do the same. The defected group gets larger and creates a massive mutiny and overthrow their superiors. Finn and the deserters take control of the ship before the officers were able to alert the HQ.
Jannah tells her backstory. She enlisted to the FO because they promised to give equal society for non-humans after two decades of brutal humanist rule of the Empire. Until she realized she is no different from a stormtrooper. Finn asks what was the last straw. She says it was him. It is because of the story of Finn that made her turn. She says Finn is the legend among the FO troopers and fangirls over Finn. She tells Finn's defection and myth have already caused several mutinies within the FO. "We are not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them."
The freighter of Finn and his army of the deserted Republic troopers gets into Coruscant. Coruscant is surrounded by the shield blockade like Scarif from Rogue One, reinforcing the notion that societies are isolated from each other. Large stations hover over the cities. Coruscant is no longer a vibrant city. Because of the embargo, citizens are poor and many have become scavengers. We learn of the FO's status in the galaxy and how the people feel about it. The public has turned against the government, but they cannot rebel due to martial law. They surround Hux's gigantic sky palace that is floating behind the abandoned Senate building. Like how Wallace corp. is built right behind Tyrell corp. in Blade Runner 2049. They fool the guards using the Republic trooper disguise (as the deserters are literally the Republic troopers) and go into the Jedi temple, marveled by its history and architecture.
Chased by Knights of Ren, Finn, and BB-8 restore the power of the Temple and successfully transmit Leia's inspiring message to people all over the galaxy to join the battle of Coruscant. "The First Order has continued the pretense that they would end social injustice and corruption. On the surface, their policies may seem to be aimed at righting the wrongs imposed by the tyrannical Empire. But their true goal has always been no different from the Empire: The subjugation of the thousand thousand worlds and the enslavement of all galactic citizens. They rule by fear rather than by consent. They state that all beings are equal citizens while they carry out missions designed to destroy whole populations." [...] "For too long we have watched the heavy hand of the First Order strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer. It is now time for action. Despite the First Order's threats, despite the Supreme Leader Hux himself, I have no fear as I take new action. For I know I am not alone. Beginning today we stand together as people. Today, we all vow to free the galaxy once more, and today the galaxy will indeed be free." [...] "We ask much of you. The fate of the galaxy rests in this one decisive fight for freedom. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The time has come to stop hiding and face tyranny one to one. This is our most desperate hour. Help us, everyone. You are the galaxy's only hope. Let the stars sing! Let the planets shout! May the Force be with all of us." A montage of people in the galaxy hearing her message, including Lando's casino where every droid there projects Leia's message. Even R2-D2, who is with Rey, projects Leia's message. Rey realizes the assault has begun.
In his journey to the World Between Worlds, Kylo meets Rey and fights her. However, Rey overwhelms Kylo and cuts his limbs out. He falls to the ground, tumbles near the lava. Kylo discovers he has transported to Mustafar, and in front of him is Obi-Wan, delivering his lines from ROTS. Kylo tries climbing up, but the fire catches up to his clothing. Kylo feels immense pain as fire burns his skins. Then he wakes up and his limbs are fine. An illusion. Kylo thinks this is a trick of the Force this place has set, trying to keep away intruders who aren’t worthy of possessing its power.
He meets the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin could not contact Kylo for a long time as Plagueis has been blocking that contact. This would be a fantastic opportunity to redeem Hayden Christensen with competent direction and dialogues. Kylo at first resists Anakin and tries to destroy him. Anakin persuades him to realize errors of his power obsession and 'kill the past' mentality.
In TWBW, Kylo experiences the history of the Sith as he sort of time travels like Bran. Showing that Kylo's path is not so different from Darth Vader and other Sith. They spend a long time as these two having a journey together. Imagine Cade Skywalker meeting Anakin from Legacy. Kylo also meets his old self, deformed and scarred with deep sorrow, the inevitable fate if Kylo chooses to go down this path.
Hux finds a Sith relic. I am undecided about what this relic should be or how he found it yet. He could have sent Pryde after Kylo to TWBW and learn about it. Regardless, Hux meets the Sith ghost of Plagueis. Plagueis tells Hux that Kylo killed him, not the girl. Now, Hux has a reason to turn his military against his despised tyrant boss for treason. Hux assumes himself as the 'Lord' and promises Pryde to promote him to the Supreme Leader if Pryde kills Kylo. Kylo has lost the power he so much adored. This humbles Kylo and changes his character.
Plagueis promises Hux that he will gain the immense Force power if he lets Plagueis borrow his body. Hux can be a Sith he has so desired. Hux can live forever. Hux denies.
Rey needs to learn about the true meaning of balance to the Force and her self-worth in the journey. Her journey also needs to come together with Kylo. Maybe Rey arriving at Tython, the ancient Jedi homeworld, to find the key to the World Between Worlds, and in that process, she witnesses how the Jedi Order has changed and perverted by dogmatism. Or she goes to Lothal and goes through the Painting of the Mortis gods. Or, a more interesting one, she goes to the homeworld of Celestials. Celestials have had such immense Force powers that Jedi and Sith legends suggest that they may have merged with the Force itself, and are actually the 'guiding' part of The Force. Unlike Jedi or Sith, they did not view the Force as light and dark. To them, the Force was only the Force. They saw the Force as a single thing. They recognized the Force had more than one aspect to it, more precisely sides to it. While the Jedi see any use of the Force that breaks what they define as being natural, as being an abomination in the Force. Basically they call it an unclean and impure use of the Force that brings nothing but death and destruction. To a Jedi, the light side is the only side. The true nature of the Force. While obviously the Sith saw things at the opposite end of the Jedi. In a way, the Jedi broke up the Force and were responsible for the creation of an imbalance in the galaxy as well as the Sith. Seeing they themselves are out of balance for they only see the Force as they want to see it and not as it is. Rey finally realizes the balance. She obtains the key and goes to the World Between Worlds. The challenge here is to integrate Rey's external challenge in this part. Like Rey just wandering around the ancient relics, learning things, and exiting is boring. There need to be stakes here, and I do not know what could that be. Maybe the Knights of Ren chase after both Rey?
Another alternative is Rey arrives at Lothal first and goes through the painting to reach the TWBW. Rey goes through time and space and discovers Celestials.
She encounters Kylo. Kylo and Rey fight, as he promised to Luke that he will destroy her, but Rey tries persuading him, using the knowledge she just gained. Trying to convince that Kylo's way is wrong. To Rey, the whole dark side/light side thing is drawn out, and clearly both have major flaws. In anger that he has lost his power in the FO, Kylo defeats Rey. However, Rey manages to turn Kylo to good. However, I am not sure what triggers Kylo to turn at this moment yet. Maybe Anakin and Luke intervene and tell Rey and Kylo that both Luke and Anakin were affected by the Jedi's inability to prepare them for the darkness they would feel.
Another argument to refute Kylo is that he is wrong that he can stop the Force. He cannot stop the Force and his determination to destroy those who can use it only furthers the Force's calling.
Or you can have a moment where R2 projects the recording of Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar. "I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new empire!" If you want a movie canon, R2-D2 shows Anakin choking Padme, which parallels Kylo killing Rey. Urging Kylo that he is no different from Anakin and the Sith's path. Kylo decides not to kill Rey but has not turned yet. Pryde and his Elite Troopers die.
Leia's forces drop out of hyperspace and face the FO navy on Coruscant. The Resistance is hopelessly outnumbered. Now, there is no going back. Leia trusts in hope and believes people will come together.
People on Coruscant get inspired by Leia's message and the space battle above Coruscant and start rebelling against the FO. The soldiers are dispatched to suppress the riots. Hux detects where the message is coming from and sends the troops into the Jedi temple. Finn and the deserted Republic troopers escape the temple and return to the freighter to leave Coruscant.
At the most desperate moment, the civilian reinforcements led by Lando from across the galaxy to join the battle.
In the freighter, before Finn decides to leave Coruscant, he looks out the window and witnesses the space battle above Coruscant and the soldiers suppressing the revolution. Instead of running away, he decides to broadcast his message to all troopers on Coruscant through the radio. Similar to the scene from The Winter Soldier, Finn accepts his status as a legend. "Troopers, I'm Finn. You know me. You've heard my story. Make my story yours." They don't know if it works until the FO forces halt and massive mutinies take all over them. Finn hears many voices from the radio, "We hear you, Finn.", "We are with you,""We all have heard of you! " We see a long slow-motion montage of Republic troopers, who took out their helmets, joining the crowd. Finn leads the charge into the government buildings. The revolution has begun. 'People' overthrow the FO. Very much like Les Miz and Metropolis imagery. With this, Finn concludes his arc. This reinforces the theme of rebellion reborn, the power of legend, and the theme of people versus the FO.
During the chaos, Chewbacca and C-3PO escapes and flies the Falcon to assist the revolution from the sky. We get a chase sequence on the cityscape. The Falcon destroys the planetary shield gate from inside to help the Resistance fleet coming into the planet.
Meanwhile, Plagueis once again asks Hux to borrow his body. Realizing Hux has no way out, he lets Plagueis. Plagueis possess Hux and revives by obtaining the body of Hux.
During Pryde's attack, the World Between Worlds gets destroyed. In the World Between Worlds, Rey teleports herself to Coruscant to face Hux possessed by Plagueis. (As you can teleport space and time in TWBW)
Rey arrives at the sky palace and faces Plagueis, but is too weak to fight him. Rey is defeated and can do nothing. Plagueis laughs and says it matters not that the FO fall. He will flee to Unknown Regions and return someday to avenge to rule the galaxy, and the cycle will continue. Plagueis uses the Force to control the sky palace and launches it into the sky, away from the planet. (Or the palace works like a ship and has a flying function) He says he will train Rey in the ways of the dark side to make her another Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. The Resistance attacks the palace, but lasers won't penetrate.
Before the sky palace lightspeeds, the palace pauses as if something is holding back. It is revealed that Ben Solo on the ground is holding the sky palace to stop escaping. Everyone on the ground is shocked to see Kylo Ren and sees his Force stopping the sky palace. However, Ben's power is not enough and the palace continues fleeing.
In the sky palace, Rey hears the voices of the past Jedi. The Force flows within Rey and everyone.
Just as Ben loses his grip on the sky palace, a boy comes out and extends his hand toward the sky palace. Others follow. Masses of the crowd gathers and reaches for the sky palace, including Finn and his band of deserters. Together, they stop the sky palace and Plagueis escaping. Here, Ben has a realization that the Force cannot be stopped. This is a payoff to the theme of everyone can be a Jedi.
Ben Force-pushes out of the wreckage and enters Hux's throne room. Rey also wakes up, keep hearing the voices of the Jedi. Plagueis's dark ghost leaves Hux's body, saying he cannot die. The Force ghosts of the Jedi appear and put their hands on Ben and Rey's shoulders. They then extend their hands and the light comes out as Yoda did in Episode III REDONE. However, it does not work and Plagueis overwhelms them still.
Rey represents the light and Ben the dark. Ben tries to help Rey by shooting out light with her, but it still does not work. Plagueis says the light cannot match the dark. Rey realizes something and encourages Kylo to find balance within the Force. They embrace balance. Rey and Ben extend their hands and the light and the dark come out. They do what Jacen Solo did in the Unifying Force and achieve complete oneness with the power of the Force. The light and the dark mix together and shoot out grey. The balance in the middle. Strengths and weaknesses of both sides. Rey and Ben obliterate Hux's body as well as Plagueis's soul.
I am not sure if 'grey' is an optimal option when the theme is about abandoning the light and the dark dichotomy. The scene is somewhat too cheesy in my taste, but so far this is the best way I can think of to go about it for now until I can think of a better solution.
There is a cool concept art of Treverrow version where Rey reaches a place of the Force beyond what we know and meets the Force ghosts of the past Jedi like Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Luke. The gray gets to Rey and she arrives at the sand field, where sand is black and the sky is white. Not heaven nor hell, a limbo. From the fog, hundreds of the Jedi walk out before her. Yoda reveals Rey succeeded where they failed. "You choose to abandon the light and dark dichotomy of the Force. To find the balance within."
The FO collapses and the Resistance assumes the control of Coruscant. Leia now sees it was corrupt out of touch bureaucracy of the Old and New Republic that birthed the Empire and the FO. In the half-destroyed Galactic Senate, instead of establishing the New New Republic, Leia declares there will not be a central galactic government. She will let each system to secede and declare independence.
Ben Solo turns good at the end, but is not 'redeemed'. I like Stephan Krosecz's idea. On Tatooine where Anakin was born, Ben defeats the FO remnants and stands before the mass grave where Ben ordered his men to slaughter the villagers and killed Mon Mothma. He is directly facing 'the past' and owning it. Ben tells Anakin's Force ghost that he will reject the surname, "Solo", as he feels he does not deserve his father's legacy and wander the galaxy alone to atone for his sins by helping people. Anakin tells him to carry that name. Solo is who you are and you should not bury it. Ben agrees and decides to carry that name in his journey to repent for his wrongdoings. This would be a far interesting angle for his character. This works with the theme that we should change for the better without forgetting the past. Acknowledging that people he has hurt should not feel obligated to befriend and accept him.
Yoda calls Luke "Master Skywalker" as a payoff to Yoda calling Luke "Young Skywalker".
In the end, Rey achieves balance in the Force by what Lucas has revealed in his interviews during the Prequels: "...The Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there.", "It is not a malevolent or a benevolent thing.", "Too much light or dark would be the undoing of life as you understand it." The prophecy is not the light side reigning the galaxy as the Jedi have thought, nor the dark side reigning the galaxy as the Sith have thought. It is about incorporating the pros of both sides and be better. After the victory, Rey gathers her pupils on Ahch-To, where everything began. Finn and Jannah are among them. Rey gives a speech.
She establishes the Jedi Academy, not the Jedi Order, that embraces the legacy of the Jedi but learns from the failures of the past Jedi Orders and erases rigid dogmatism that ultimately doomed her parents and the Jedi. The light side, the dark side, these are outdated binary concepts. It only becomes a cycle of reaction: the light side rules, which births the dark side, which births the light side. The cycle that only creates pain and suffering. As George said, "It rhymes." Rey believes there is a healthy middle ground. We should allow all human emotions and encourage the worshippers of the Force to follow their feelings and live to the fullest without a petty dogma controlling their lives. Rey announces the new Jedi code: "Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force." It sends the opposite message to the original Jedi code and emphasizes a true balance. Rey believes it is important to accept these emotions rather than overcoming them or acting like they do not exist. The latter leads to Jedi falling to the dark after years of suppressing emotion and feelings that are natural and perhaps necessary to be compassionate and selfless as Jedi are. Emotions and passion exist because we are living beings. Rey allows people to express their darkness to others, not hide it away until it takes over them. We are all ignorant of some things which drive us to educate ourselves. Rey lets the students interpret the ancient texts freely as interpretations of religion to evolve as time passes, democratizing the Jedi. Individual Jedi can practice the Force in their own way they believe in. She recognizes this will not lead to the perfect world, but it is a step in the right direction. "Because we must try to be better." Rey breaks the cycle of pain and re-invents the Jedi for future generations. The story ends with Rey igniting her now white lightstaff, with the Jedi flag attached, and raising skyward, and her hundred students following her as Force-ghost Luke, Yoda, and Anakin, watching and smiling at the new generation finally bringing balance to the Force.
This is a continuation of the discord project to rate every card in the game on two main criteria: playability and flexibility.
Category 1: Playability
How good is the card in the decks it fits in? S: Best of the best. The card should probably get nerfed in the state it's currently in because it's just that good. You're going to play it all the time in the decks where it works. A: Very strong. Not something you'd see nerfed, but still a very strong card that you want to play every time. B: Good. A very strong option in the decks, but it can theoretically be gone without for one reason or another. C: Decent. It can be worth playing, but there are reasons to drop it as well. D: Bad. It's really not worth playing, though it at least has some merit one way or the other. F: Terrible. There's absolutely no reason to play this card.
Category 2: Flexibility
How many decks can this fit in? S: This is a good option in basically any deck of the class. Top tier crafting material. A: This is a good option in at least 3 different decks. B: This is a good option in at least 2 different decks. C: This is a build around card that itself enables a deck, but doesn't really fit into anything else. D: This is a good option in only one deck. F: This card just doesn't have a deck where it fits in, either because it's just that outclassed by other cards for the deck it wants to be in, or because it wants to be part of a deck that simply doesn't exist. Finally, since there are two key factors that these criteria do not cover, there are two extra modifiers that can be added onto each rating: *: This is a tech card, and can move up or down significantly depending on whether or not you run into what it counters a lot. #: This is a budget card, and moves up in the respective category if your resources are limited. Backup Dancer: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Fun fact, this is the only basic 1/1 that doesn’t have a card strictly better than it due to it having a mustache. It’s also the one you’re most likely to see due to dance off. It’s also still complete and total garbage, and I’m only writing this because it doesn’t need a justification and I’m bored. Bungee Plumber: Playability: B Flexibility: B Justification: While it is a main removal card that doesn’t really run into much competition, it runs into the issue of competing with mission in aggro and not removing anything bigger than a 1 drop (most of the time) and thus falling off way faster than something like berry blast which consistently deals with cards above cost, leading to it being a bit less flexible and a bit more cuttable. Disco-naut: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: Still a 2/1 bullseye that lets the cards that need it most ignore the mechanic designed to slow them down, which is a mechanic so powerful that this has gone through 2 nerfs and still remains uncuttable in anything remotely aggressive. Grave Robber: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Not really a bad card in a vacuum considering it’s a 2/2 bullseye, but competing with Disco-naut and having an ability that is very hard to use effectively due to crazy’s lack of good gravestones and sneaky having a better payoff for gravestones leaves it in a very mediocre spot, even if going for pirate synergy. Loose Cannon: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: Block charger incarnate. Trading poorly and charging block when it’s not trading leave this card in a very poor spot on average, with its main application being it being okay in budget imps from being okay with Imp Commander. Mystery Egg: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: RNG does not lend itself to good cards, and this is no exception. In the most budget decks this can be a decent combo with Unlife of the party, but it falls off in usefulness quite fast. Quickdraw Conman: Playability: A Flexibility: S Justification: From S/S to just not quite S/S, conman remains an absolute monster of a card that you need a very good reason to ever consider cutting due to being easy chip on a very durable body. The only thing that could make this better is if plants had good draw for it to punish even harder. Tennis Champion: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: 4 damage for 1 in aggro, but becoming a heavy block charger afterwards leaves it with very few applications compared to something like bonk choy, especially with differences in phases. If it was a 2/1 with +2 attack on turn of play it would be about 20 times better, but as is it’s mainly just a budget card. Trapper Territory: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too low value to really see play anywhere, and with PoTG gutted it doesn’t even have it’s moderate usefulness as an anti-cyclecap tech. Unlife of the Party: Playability: C# Flexibility: D Justification: While very weak initially, if it can be set up a bit it snowballs quite hard. Its main weakness is not being playable solo on 1 like you would want to with most 1 drops you run which makes it weaker in non-budget aggro, but it’s still playable and quite useful in Zoo Z-mech decks which can grow it incredibly fast. Aerobics Instructor: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Solid snowballing card for dance decks, and though moderate inconsistency at actually doing anything can make it mildly cuttable, you usually want to run it anyway from massive potential snowballing and not losing stats for it. Barrel of Deadbeards: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: It’s a bit awkward to play, which leaves it quite inflexible, but in valk decks or very specific impfinity decks (that are quite a bit weaker with the BoB nerf) it’s an absolute all star for being able to clean up youyour opponent’s board respectively and leaving behind a very good body. Conga Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Trades like a 3/2 or occasionally a bit better, but the one damage is unlikely to kill and it’s not good at pushing due to poor stats, which leaves it with much better alternatives. Cuckoo Zombie: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: If left unchecked, Cuckoo Zombie will absolutely clock your opponent, so they better watch out, but on the second hand, its low health and poor timing means it won't last a minute against an average defence making it a poor play on the average day. Disco Dance Floor: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: An absolute all star card in aggro and dance that will usually generate at least 6 damage and often more if you can get a good fusion off. Generally not worth it elsewhere due to not trading at all. Explosive Fruitcake: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: In a weird spot as a removal control sometimes doesn’t want to run because it’s an inherent -1 but also aggro doesn’t want to run because it’s a bit too slow. Would be amazing in midrange as a massive tempo card if crazy midrange was more of a thing, and is a staple in valk and trickster since they’re combo decks and don’t care as much as control decks about the card advantage, along with being a sometimes inclusion in control if you can stomach the card disadvantage. Final Mission: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: No longer S thanks to costing a reasonable amount, but still a very solid finisheremoval for aggro and valk decks since you will inevitably have fodder lying around for it. Meteor Z: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: If you really need a buff, just play sugary treat, but you probably shouldn’t need either of them since they really don’t help all that much from not providing (much) more survivable trades and automatically 2 for 1ing yourself. Newspaper Zombie: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too much investment for something too easy to shut down, running into the same problem Hibernating Beary had where you invest into it to become good but a lack of other targets for your self-hurt means it gets shut down and you’re left lost. Quazar Wizard: Playability: A Flexibility: A Justification: Midrange, Aggro, and Valkyrie absolutely love this card as it’s an easy to activate body that produces a super at the loss of a single stat point. Control can also think about it, though lack of activators can sometimes lead to problems. Generally just a fantastic card you want to run most of the time. Space Ninja: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: This card has some very sick combos you can set up with it, but they’re incredibly unreliable and with the Barrel of Barrels nerf even slower than before. It does have the advantage of being a 2 cost 3/2, but with the ability rarely if ever going off it doesn’t see much play. Sugary Treat: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: A pretty poor buff card due to a lack of health provided which makes it unlikely to compensate for the inherent dangers of buff cards, being massive potential to get 2 for 1d and being useless without a target. Can at very least be okay at pushing damage, but generally there are better options for that too. Zombie’s Best Friend: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: The randomness of the ability means the body generated will often be useless, so it’s very important to run this in a deck with final mission and that really wants lots of fodder. That leaves valk, in which it can be a decent option, but valk has a LOT of decent options so it can also often be cut. Abracadaver: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: This card runs into a major problem with the current gravestones, which is that there is no gravestone that meaningfully punishes you for fronting it with a small card. That means that most gravestones will be fronted with small cards, and this will die for free. If it had any chance of getting through on its own it would be at very least decent, but right now the situations counter it too perfectly. Disco Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Poor body that produces a body that will more often than not weaken your board state. There is always better things to run. Exploding Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Suffers from the same problem as abracadaver (will be fronted by its exact counter most of the time) with the added problem of additionally being garbage on its own too. Fireworks Zombie: Playability: B* Flexibility: D Justification: A cheap, 1 card method of disrupting swarm while putting out a body, along with being decent on its own as well for finishing off anything heavily damaged from combat. The more swarm you see the better this gets, and if you don’t see much it’s more cuttable. Gizzard Lizard: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: It competes with fireworks while being significantly worse due to requiring a sacrifice to do anything and not really helping much more against swarm. Jester: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Theoretically, this doesn’t run into the same problem as Exploding Imp and Abracadaver because it wants to be fronted by small cards. However, the reward being mediocre chip at best and outright block charging at worst leaves much to be desired, so the main application of this is to evolve headhunter, which can simply be done by better cards. Moon Base Z: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Can be a decent damage pusher for aggro but reliance on having another card and being generally a bit slow make it often not the best option. Can combo with cards that trigger upon hitting the plant hero, but that’s even slower and less useful. Unexpected Gifts: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Has mild merit due to being the only direct source of card advantage in crazy, but the card quality is questionable and it’s very unlikely to provide cards you want to advance your gameplan. Zombot’s Wrath: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: If it hit for 6 more often than once a year, then it would maybe be a better card. As is, it’s just a bit too expensive to be worth it since aggro has final mission and control decks have other small removal. Cakesplosion: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Add fruit and make it cost 2 less and do more damage, or just run wrath instead because basically nothing relevant has 4 health. Cosmic Dancer: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: Too expensive for what it does normally, but can be an okay budget option for dancing decks. Headhunter: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Restricted to only dancing decks but quite a good card in them. Solid body unevolved that can help open up the block meter for a flamenco, or evolved on any of the fodder you have lying around a massive body that provides free damage. It also crosses the 4 threshold with its evo, so you can strategically avoid either hammer or shamrocket depending on your matchup. For some variations of dance it’s too slow and can be cut, but a lot of the time it’s good to have around. Orchestra Conductor: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This card’s existence is a misconduct. Stupid Cupid: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Comes down in the wrong phase, like old cryo yeti. If it had gravestone, it would become ridiculously better, also like cryo yeti. As is, it’s complete trash. Tankylosaurus: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: The subject of a sort of build around in impfinity that was massively hurt by the BoB nerf and already kind of inconsistent as is since this card can hit face. Still an okay deck that can completely demolish some plant decks though, as long as you can get around hitting face constantly. The Chickening: Playability: D* Flexibility: D Justification: The massive lack of swarm decks right now really hurts this card. If they ever come back this will be a solid option for control, but as is it’s simply not necessary. Valkyrie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: Formerly S/S, the cost nerf took it out of usability for everything not built around it since it’s no longer completely busted. Still an amazing build around card that enables an aggro/combo deck, which is an unorthodox and good combination since it doesn’t run into the normal problems combo decks have of being overwhelmed early. Binary Stars: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Very combo reliant to be useful and is thus quite inflexible, but has the strength to back it up if you do have the synergy for it due to straight up doubling your damage output. Flamenco Zombie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: The dance finisher that is basically the entire reason you play dance because it can semi-consistently kill on 5 and very consistently kill on 6/7. Not much else to say here, it’s a dance card through and through. Foot Soldier: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This would probably still be bad even if it didn’t have the play restriction. As is it’s god awful. Frankentaur: Playability: C Flexibility: F Justification: As of now it actually has stats to be playable, but it just really doesn’t have anywhere to fit into since the stats are really all it has and unlike Supernova Gargantuar it can’t also break through blockers to be a 1 card threat. So it’s just in a kind of purgatory where it’s technically playable but it doesn’t have a deck to be playable in. Gargantuar-throwing Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: I’m as shocked as anyone that the massive 1 strength buff this got wasn’t enough to make it anywhere near playable. Which is to say, not shocked at all. Hippity Hop Gargantuar: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda just clogs lanes, so it’s outclassed by Frankentaur at whatever the niche of being a good crazy 5 cost garg is. It’s not exactly a niche in high demand. Imp-throwing Gargantuar: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda funny that Crazy got the first two throwing cards, meant to synergize with the self hurt they have going in fireworks and barrel, and they got the two that aren’t playable in any form while Gargantuar-throwing Gargantuar is a high tier finisher and Imp-throwing Imp is the best card in its deck, and they don’t even have the synergies. Poor crazy. Anyway, this card is bad, it’s always been bad, and it’s beaten out by pretty much every card in the game in usefulness. Don’t play it. Disco-tron 3000: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Swarm the field the turn after your finisher can come down with bodies that would barely be relevant 2 turns ago. It’s really bad, and becoming a gravestone way back when didn’t help it all that much, though it got a bit better, it’s still unplayable. Gas Giant: Playability: B Flexibility: F Justification: By all rights this should be a good card, and it is, but crazy has no midrange deck to use this as a finisher in, so it just doesn’t go anywhere. Solid body with 1/4 of your opponent’s health down the drain when it dies, while also functioning as a board unclogger to help get other threats down and get them through chump blockers. Gargantuar’s Feast: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: The Mt. Everest of control finishers. Getting to it is the game winning pinnacle of the game, but actually getting there is a massive ordeal that fails most of the time and is too impractical to be a good idea. If you'd like to have your voice heard on these tier lists, feel free to join the discord, where we have these discussions on the cards, or to make a comment, which I will try to respond to as well explaining why a card was given a certain rating. The next class we're covering is Smarty.
Plants vs Zombies Heroes Balance Survey: The Results: Part 9: Crazy
Crazy is next, and it was the most buffed and least changed class out of all of those on the zombie side. It got 115 changes split into 79 buffs, 15 nerfs, and 21 changes.
Foot Soldier Zombie (9):
Ability now works in environments as well as heights (1) No condition for dealing damage (1) Has gravestone (2) Stats from 3/4 to 4/5 (1) Health from 4 to 5 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 (1) Stats from 5 cost 3/4 to 4 cost 3/3 (1) Cost from 5 to 3 and works in environments (1) My thoughts: Giving it gravestone is probably the best buff here since the fix in timing is the main problem it has. Small stat buffs don't really change anything, nor does making the condition less restrictive, though both obviously help the card a bit.
Health from 1 to 2 (2) Ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (3) Stats from 2/1 to 1/3 and ability from 2 or less strength to others with 3 or less cost (1) Stats from 1 cost 2/1 to 2 cost 1/3 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) Stats from 2/1 to 1/2 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) My thoughts: I can't see what reason there is to buff cards that are already staple cards for entire classes of decks. Disconaut still being a staple is just a testament to how broken it was before it didn't give bullseye to cards with 3 strength, and it's still a great card now with no reason to be getting buffed.
Stupid Cupid (8):
Strength from 4 to 3 and has gravestone (3) Has gravestone (4) Health from 2 to 4 (1) My thoughts: The card is never going to be good without gravestone or completely insane stats. The question then becomes "is 4 attack on a 4 cost gravestone that shuts off a card for combat too much?", and I'm inclined to say yes for the time being (the difference between turn 4 and turn 5 is massive, which means the difference between this and cryo yeti is also massive as far as the effect goes), so I like making it a 3/2 along with it and then it can be buffed back if it's still bad.
Orchestra Conductor (8):
Strength from 0 to 2 (1) Health from 2 to 4 (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 1/3 (2) Stats from 0/2 to 1/4 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 3/3 (1) Has gravestone (1) My thoughts: This card is so bad I really don't have a suggestion here. It needs something massive though.
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Cost from 4 to 5 (3) Ability from 2 strength to 1 strength (1) Can't do bonus attacks (1) My thoughts: Putting the card back at 3, where it' basically autoinclude because it's so easy to make overstatted, does not sound like a good idea. At the same time, making it cost even more also doesn't sound like a good idea because the deck, finally, has had enough of its broken cards hit that it's more or less fair. It can't kill until 7 now which gives plenty of time to establish a kill and doesn't have a broken aggro package that all but guarantees a kill even without valk. It's still a great deck because that aggro package can still take games without valk and valk can still kill, but it's significantly more beatable to the point where it's actually in line. As for the other changes, reducing the strength gain makes it unplayable, and making it not do bonus attacks is awkward though a good nerf if the card ever gets out of hand again to avoid killing it for other heroes.
Damage from 4 to 5 (4) Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Now has "gain a cakeplosion" (1) My thoughts: All of these changes are good and make the card much more worth playing. Increasing the damage means it hits that many more things and sometimes gains tempo, making it cost less means it can actually gain tempo by costing less than things it removes, and having it gain itself makes it the ultimate value tool for hard control decks to never run out of small removal.
Quickdraw Conman (6):
Health from 3 to 2 (2) Loses bullseye (2) Stats from 1 cost 1/3 to: 2 cost 2/3 (1) 2 cost 1/4 (1) 2 cost 1/5 (1) My thoughts: Honestly, I think all of these changes kill the card other than 2 cost 2/3. 1/2 for 1 is terrible stats that get traded cleanly by 90% of playable 1 costs, losing bullseye makes it a massive block charger, and 2 cost 1/4 and 1/5 are also terrible stats with the ability not being impactful enough at 2 cost to make it worthwhile.
Disco Zombie (5):
Health from 1 to 2 (3) Health from 1 to 3 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 and backup from 1/1 to 2/1 (1) My thoughts: I think the best buff to this is making the backup dancer less completely useless, so it having 2 strength at very least, which I presume some people intended for to affect this through buffs to basic 1/1s.
Imp-throwing Gargantuar (5):
Now throws: Random 1 cost imps (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less and when an imp is played it (the imp) gets +2 strength (1) stats from 5 cost 5/5 to 4 cost 4/6 (1) Stats from 5/5 to 6/7 (1) My thoughts: There are two different lines of buffing here and neither one is a bad idea. 3 people decided to buff the cards that ITG throws so that the ability isn't a liability. Of those I think having it throw 2 cost or less imps (to mirror ITI) is the best idea seeing as at this stage of the game they won't really be anywhere close to too strong. The second line, chosen by 2 people, is to just overstat it to compensate for the fact that the ability is indeed a