Going Forward in Episode 9
With episode 9 Kylo will be a true dark sider now. There will be no light left in him. Had Carrie Fisher lived to shoot her scenes for episode 9, I think Kylo and Leia would have had a face off and Kylo would have killed her. Kylo’s rage will remain intact and he will be ruthless and obsessive with ending the Resistance.
The state of the First Order will be supreme. Oscar Isaacs recently talked about how right now the Resistance is basically a band of gorilla fighters, striking out of the shadows and disappearing again because what they face is so much larger than themselves. The First Order will have power, but leadership? Kylo proved in the end of The Last Jedi his rage is unbalanced. He threw Hux around like rag doll and ordered an entire division of walkers to open fire on one man. Hux himself is described by Snoke as a rabid cur. Snoke was the brains and the brains are now gone. Can the First Order survive ran by two out of control lunatics?
What Kylo faces in episode 9 largely depends on if there will be an episode X at some point down the road. If this is truly the last of the saga/Skywalker movies, the story will be limited. Obviously Rey and Kylo will face off. Star Wars is still Star Wars so there is no chance Kylo beats Rey and the series ends with the dark side winning. If there are no further movies, Kylo will indeed die. Redemption is out of the question. No one is beyond redemption. It is just that you will have told the Anakin Skywalker story all over again.
Now there are two things out there that can challenge Kylo and his position besides Hux, but with all JJ Abrams has to cover, most of which will be light side based, there will not be room to cover these two options. These options being The Knights of Ren and a certain apprentice.
JJ Abrams introduced the Knights of Ren back in The Force Awakens, but Rian felt he could not fit them into his movie and still do them justice with so little time they would be afforded. The fans want them back. I’m sure JJ wants them back, but can they fit the current story? My thought is no. The biggest obstacle to them coming back is simple logistics. If rumor is true that episode 9 will only jump ahead about 1 year, it will be Team Ren vs Rey. Rey is not going to win when its 8:1. Rey will not have the time to recruit or train new Jedi that would be ready to fight Team Ren. It the Knights end up in opposition to Kylo as some have theorized, It would take a Rey/Kylo team up to stop them. That cant happen again with how TLJ ended.
Now there are two options that would help equalize the sides and make the Knights more plausible. Granted I think the option for either of these options is a whopping 1%. The first would be if Ahsoka, Ezra and Sabine return from the outer rim. These additions, plus the possible addition of Thrawn, since his loyalties to the empire will now be meaningless, would greatly shift the war into the Resistance’s favor. I do not think the timing is right for this. It really needs to be Filoni who handles this, and most movie goers would have no idea what was going on. In short – not happening.
The other option, slightly more plausible, would be if Keri Russell is indeed playing Mara Jade, the lost wife of Skywalker (or perhaps even daughter). A fully trained Jedi with the experience of Legends Mara, would be a huge asset to Rey. Those two, under the right circumstances, could handle Kylo and Co.
The only other thing out there that could challenge Kylo is the mysterious apprentice of Snoke’s that was mentioned in Star Wars Insider Magazine. If there were indeed another apprentice that comes into the picture, you would all of a sudden have a three way fight going on. This could be done, or the new apprentice could be introduced after the death of Ren, But that would again require Disney to make more Chapter/Skywalker movies. Otherwise there is just not enough time to introduce the new character correctly.
I think in the end, Kylo’s story will be kept fairly simple and it will simply come down to a battle like no other between he and Rey with Rey being the final winner.