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Commentary TV and Movies

This is the best Star Wars: Episode IX title rumor yet

Commentary: Star Wars: A New Order would give a deserved nod to the 1977 original, and bring the film series full circle.

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There's plenty of time to speculate about the title of Star Wars: Episode IX, so let's start.

Disney

Eight down, one to go.

Now there's just a single Star Wars film remaining, if you ignore the rumor that Disney will break Episode IX into two separate movies. And since we're in that eternal galactic limbo between The Last Jedi's 2017 release and Episode IX coming late in 2019, there's plenty of time to speculate about what the final film's title will be.

So here's my favorite title rumor, courtesy of Reddit, but repeated in other places: The final film might be called Star Wars: A New Order.

This title works on every level for me. That simple three-word directness. The reference to the Jedi Order that has forever been the spine of the series. A hint at the creepy First Order, because evil always rises to oppose good. A suggestion of freshness, of bringing newness to a franchise that's been around for 40 years.

And as every old-school fan worth his or her R2-D2 sleeping bag will note, it's a smart nod to the original 1977 film. Even if we didn't know it as A New Hope then, that title is now well-associated with Luke, Leia and Han's first adventures, back when Elvis was still with us and Charlie's Angels ruled the tube.

I feel a little sheepish to be rooting for this title, because as an old fart who saw Star Wars in theaters in 1977, I still resist calling that first film A New Hope. Back in my day, our Star Wars movie didn't HAVE a subtitle, and we LIKED it that way. Get off my space lawn!

No one spoke of standing in long lines to see "A New Hope" for the fifth time that summer -- it was Star Wars, plain and simple. The subtitled film names that followed felt like kids named for their parents, little Juniors, needing nicknames to tell them apart.

Sure, there's no real evidence that Star Wars: A New Order will be the actual title. Another Reddit idea was Star Wars: The Last Hope. Admittedly, that's also a nice throwback, but it's undeniably negative, as if the last hope is a wavering thin filament that could break. A New Order sounds like things have been settled, like we're back on track, and in this world of political clashes and internet outrage, that'd be a nice feeling for once.

I've since researched it. The title A New Hope shows up as far back as 1975 (on the revised fourth draft of the script, as shown in the 1979 book The Art of Star Wars). We third-graders didn't know that at the time, but A New Hope was as much a part of that era as our Kenner Millennium Falcon toys and our cheap Chewbacca Halloween costumes with the plastic masks.

Forty years is a long time. I still call that first film just Star Wars, but when I see the full title written down, it brings nothing but nostalgia now. I think of a lonely orphaned Luke on Tatooine, staring at two suns, Mark Hamill a gawky 25 but somehow looking 17. I think of Carrie Fisher, barely out of her teens, a scrappy princess who had no problem taking charge of her own rescue. I think of Han "never tell me the odds" Solo, who shot first, because of COURSE he would have.

You look back over 40 years of any life and there are regrets and forgotten loves and mistakes, but it's all washed over somehow with a film of innocence. We were younger then and we didn't know as much about the world. Good would always triumph, scrappy orphans and ragtag smugglers could defeat gleaming armies, and hope was really, truly new.

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