By Shelton Bumgarner
One idea is to steal more from The Foundation Saga and instead of having something to blow up, you have an evil Super Jedi (or whatever) who begins to acrew power across the universe using sooper-dooper “Jedi mind tricks.” Who he / she is a mystery for a few films and we learn that he has been there in front of us all along as a goofy Jack McBrayer-type character.
Might freak little kids out, but, hey, when you have a few billion riding on something, that’s not that bad a risk to take. Maybe.
Another idea is to put Ray in carbonatite, scatter the main characters we’ve established to date and have Ray’s frozen body pop up somewhere unexpected. Extra points if you can somehow resurrect Bubba Fett and make him a good guy.
That’s all I can think of right now.
I will note that had Lando been a woman instead of a dude, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation because you would have opened The Force Awakens with a brown-skinned Ray doing her thing and…ta-da, series saved!