So I invite you on an imaginative journey: what if it turns out that we are actually totally and completely the only "intelligent" life anywhere? What if the whole rest of creation were, extravagantly, made purely for our own delight?
I can see God creating the outline for the big bang (something for nothing!) but only coloring in the sun and its planets, and setting them all to elaborate dancing, enriched with the seeds of us. Then over the next few billion years while we were still evolving out of fish, God, humming quietly, put together the nearer stars and night objects, knowing how they'd delight early humans. And as they grew more clever and curious they began to notice the movements of those lights and, like kids discovering one toy after another, long to see more, but by then God was hammering away somewhere else.
By the time we became more precocious and learned to peer farther away from home, God was already finished with those glorious galaxies and nebulae and had moved on to more distant ones, stretching each completed section into the deep past and attaching it to the rest of creation. Perhaps even now as we gaze with furious intensity into the very depths of history, maybe what we see is simply the most distant rooms, still somewhat bare of the endless varieties of toys that our loving God has put there not because the universe could not run without them, but simply for the delight God knows we experience every time we discover something new! (Dark energy and matter are both noises we hear from rooms with yet closed doors.) That's worth throwing a party for the whole neighborhood!