OK, here’s my proposed episode VIII:
One year has passed since episode VII, the Imperial Remnant is starting to consolidate its power through more overt attacks, sowing distrust within the governments, spreading misinformation and sowing distrust within the ranks of the regional governments, undermining Leia and her allies. Rey has been training under Luke, however unbeknownst to Luke, her fateful encounter with Kylo Ren has created an unusual Force bond between her and Kylo in which Rey represents embodies the light with a touch of darkness, and Kylo the dark with a touch of light. This bond allows for communication between them just like TLJ, and just like in TLJ, these events are involuntary and spontaneous. Initially Kylo tried to turn Rey to his cause, which Rey rejected, however a growing mutual understanding develops between them.
Meanwhile Poe, Chewbacca and Finn are aiding a local resistance militia in an outer rim system, and conquering this particular system will prove key in the IR’s rise to power. We learn here that Poe used to be a Republic soldier and an ace pilot whose problem with authority led to his reassignment as an Intel gatherer and a scout who reports to Leia on IR activities. Their mission is complicated when it is revealed that one of the Knights of Ren is leading the effort, and their very presence leads to the IR’s first major victory. Our trio of friends escape with the resistance militia thanks to the help of a Bespin fleet sent by Lando and Chewie’s contacts from his smuggler days. Other Knights of Ren achieve similar, lesser victories in other outer rim systems.
As Rey’s training and mastery of the Force progresses, so does Kylo’s, and we see him exploring places powerful with the dark side, such as the cave in Dagobah, and after being informed of the accomplishments of his fellow Knights, gathers them and informs them that the time has come to attack the New Republic, but the bond with Rey inadvertently alerts her of his plan. Luke views the encounter between Rey and the Knights of Ren as inevitable, and allows her to depart on her own, cryptically saying that will join her when the time is right.
Poe, Finn and Chewie arrive on Coruscant to present irrefutable evidence of the IR’s growing threat over the past three decades before the Senate, and suddenly the Imperial Remnant launches a surprise attack and Kylo, alongside two other Knights, personally takes Leia hostage. Upon sensing Leia’s Force potential, Kylo is puzzled about a Force wielder such as Leia not using her position to exert greater control upon the population through the Force, to which Leia responds that giving up such power is the true meaning of strength. Rey arrives in the nick of time to prevent Leia’s execution at Kylo’s hands, Kylo orders the other two Knights to stay away, as he wants to deal with Rey. Rey is no match for Kylo, at which point Luke makes his entrance with a renewed sense of justice, which evens the scales prompting Kylo to call upon the other two, and Luke and Rey being outnumbered three to two, it is then that Leia unconsciously uses her battle meditation by focusing on Luke and Rey, giving them the edge over the three Knights. Luke dispatches the two lesser Knights, but Rey and Kylo are cut off from Luke and Leia, however just when Rey is at Kylo’s mercy, Kylo realizes that he can’t bring himself to finish her off, and neither can Rey, even though they are at opposite ends, and so Kylo retreats along with the fleet.
The attack on Coruscant has galvanized the Republic into freeing the oppressed systems and stopping the Imperial Remnant once and for all.