Every Major Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Fan Theory
In a lot of ways, the months and years of speculation about Star Wars movies are just as fun as the Star Wars movies themselves. The actual film only last for a few hours, while the theories, the discussions, and the research leading up to the big release date seemingly goes on forever.
There are hundreds of thousands of posts and blogs on fan sites and Reddit and other forums in the expanse of the Internet. Hell before the Internet was even a thing, fans found a way to endlessly debate the nuances of a galaxy far, far away.
On December 20, Disney will release the conclusion of the Skywalker saga that has been 40 years and nine movies in the making. Not only must J.J. Abrams's finale live up to the massive legacy that is Star Wars, it must live up to the seriously imaginative theories that fans have cooked up about how it should end.
We're talking everything from clones to massive deaths to resurrections to redemptions and full-on ret-conning the controversial Episode Eight.
So, here we go, let's dive into the best theories about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and be sure to check back as we update this list with the many good ideas still to come.
1| Luke Has Been Chatting With His Father Anakin For Decades
As Inverse has reported, a canonical Star Wars book, The Secrets of the Jedi, which details the history of the order from Luke Skywalker's perspective, reveals key details that have major implications in the upcoming final film of the new trilogy.
The most important bit of information is how Luke learned the ability to become a Force Ghost after death. As Luke writes in the book:
“That knowledge was passed down to a select few, including Obi-Wan, Yoda, and my father. Their spirits guided me for many years but vanished when I shut myself off from the Force. It’s a relief to feel their presence after all this time.”
The perspective here implies that Luke wrote at least this portion of this book sometime during the events of The Last Jedi. This also reveals that Luke had been in contact with his father and Obi-Wan, along with Yoda, after the fall of the Empire. That means for something around two decades Luke was communicating with his father, Anakin. Imagine what he could have learned about Emperor Palpatine and the Empire as a whole in two decades. Certainly Darth Vader had intimate knowledge of the remnants of the Empire and, more specifically, what Palpatine's big contingency plan was for his possible death.
2| Luke Was Actually Dead the Whole Time
This fan theory from Reddit imagines kind of a Sixth Sense-style twist to the new saga, where Luke Skywalker had died long before Rey arrived on his island in The Last Jedi.
As one Reddit user writes:
He was killed when Kylo Ren attacked the Jedi Academy a decade ago. Luke didn't know how to turn into a ghost like Yoda and Obi Wan did (never learned that trick), so he was lost in some magical force plain of existence and couldn't really materialize before people. That's why he couldn't save Han, he couldn't kill Snoke, etc. He could only project visions into people's minds in one particular place in the galaxy that is strong with the force.
So we're seeing Rey on this island, having visions about Luke and Luke struggling to materialize himself as a force ghost. He's not really there, we're seeing everything from Rey's point of view, only visions of Luke. This is why we don't see Luke talking with Chewie, because Chewie can't see him. R2 was the closest sentient being to Luke when he died a decade before, so some part of Luke was in R2 which is why R2 was broken in Force Awakens.
Luke Skywalker is not some asshole that doesn't care about his friends, he's a confused ghost that's disconnected from the universe of the living. Then once he's able to figure out how to project his ghost to the world of the living, he immediately goes and saves everyone.
Yes, sure there are some major holes that need some more explaining, but it's interesting nonetheless. It also provides an answer to why Luke simply vanished and became one with the Force after helping the Resistance escape at the end of The Last Jedi.
3| Actually, Kylo Ren Is Good
A Star Wars fan on Reddit posed the idea that Kylo Ren "killed his dad to become closer to the dark side so he could draw out Palpatine and finally end it?" As another user suggested:
He could have made a conscious decision to join the Dark Side to save something--end Palpatine, whatever, but still have numerous emotional issues and trauma dealing with perceived betrayal from his family and abandonment issues, as well as his belief that his role is to be the monster everyone thinks he is. I had dismissed the "double agent" theory before, but I now see that I was viewing it too simplistically. It's not an either/or thing. Kylo could have very well believed he was doing something "right". But that also means he would have to become the monster everyone considered him to be, and with his fear issues, becoming that monster was not too difficult.
This reading of Kylo's personality and relationship to the dark side fits with what we saw after the death of Snoke in The Last Jedi. With Snoke dead, Kylo asks Rey to join him to end the First Order and lead a new society of their own. Rey turns him down, known that he's capable of horrible things. But, what if he truly believes that he's doing the right thing—that he's killed his father, attempted to kill his mother to end evil forever?
Let's also take into account a sneaky little line from A New Hope, when Aunt Beru says to Uncle Owen, "Luke's just not a farmer, Owen, he has too much of his father in him." To which Owen responds, "That's what I'm afraid of." Something along those lines is also said in The Force Awakens in regard to Kylo Ren, which might be a hint of what's to come for him.
4| Palpatine Has a Contingency Plan in Place For After He Died
Long before we heard his laugh at the end of the first Rise of Skywalker trailer, fans had been speculating that Palpatine would return in Episode IX. And his return is likely because Palpatine made plans in case of his death, and left behind instructions for anyone that would follow him. Was Snoke working to carry out Palpatine's wishes? Is Kylo Ren picking up where Snoke left off in carrying out Palpatine's final plan? Here's what the Star Wars wiki says of Palpatine's death:
Prior to the his demise, he created the Contingency to destroy the Empire in the event of his death, believing that the Empire did not deserve to survive without its Emperor. As a consequence, the Imperial remnants were further weakened and less able to resist the New Republic during the waning days of the Galactic Civil War. Ultimately, the Empire capitulated the war after the Battle of Jakku in 5 ABY, ending the era founded by Darth Sidious. Following his death, Sidious' legacy became the base of what became the First Order, an hermit state led by Supreme Leader Snoke, who was also a practitioner of the dark side of the Force. The reign of Snoke would untimely end with his death at the hands of his own apprentice and Skywalker's grandson Kylo Ren, who succeeded his master as the new Supreme Leader, desiring to let the past die along the Jedi and the Sith.
Given this, fans have a number of theories about the extent of Palpatine's contingency plan. Many of them involve a scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine tells young Anakin Skywalker about a Sith lord named Darth Plagueis.
"Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life," Palpatine explains. "He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying ... The only thing he was afraid of was losing his power. And fortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep."
This apprentice, as you may have guessed, was Palpatine, who we now know will be returning in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Fans have long theorized that Palpatine could somehow return using the techniques he learned from Plagueis.
The most popular versions of this theory say that Palpatine had used this technique to preserve his life essence in various host bodies. One of these might have been our boy Snoke. And now that Snoke has dead, it's possible that Palpatine might try to use Kylo Ren or Rey in the same way next.
5| Rey Will Turn Bad
The D23 Star Wars trailer showed a different side of Rey than we've seen in this new trilogy. She appears bathed in darkness, and in the very end, holding a red double-bladed lightsaber. In a new theory on Reddit—one posted before this D23 footage had been released widely—a user describes a situation in which Kylo Ren learns that Anakin's virgin birth was the result of Palpatine's experiments with the Force. As it turns out, Palpatine can possess beings that were powerful with the Force, which is his key to immortality. Rey arrives to challenge Kylo Ren and he is beaten when Palpatine intervenes. Rey is captured by Palpatine, and Kylo returns to the Resistance with this information to help them beat the Emperor for good. Later in the film, Kylo returns to fight Palpatine. As the theory reads:
She has a Darth moniker and was turned to the Darkside after being tortured. Sidious informs him that the Skywalker lineage was a mistake because it was corrupted with weak lightside midi-chlorians and that Rey was his latest experiment. Rey was created by Sidious as a new Force-being, as Anakin failed and that explained her powers, as she was a new "Anakin." In Sidious's opinion the Skywalker family was a mistake which needed to be eradicated. Now, wielding a double bladed lightsaber, fight Kylo. Kylo will toss the red crossguard for Anakin's lightsaber and fights Rey in the Star Destroyer.
It's interesting that in this reading, Kylo and Rey essentially switch places on the spectrum of light to dark. It fits with a number of other theories out there—including Good Kylo Theory.
6| Rey Is Some Sort Of Clone
I know on first read this sounds stupid, and trust me, it is, but there is precedent for clones in the Star Wars universe. There are various versions of this theory out there. Some of them say that Rey is a clone created in a lab as a copy of either Darth Vader or the Emperor as part of Palpatine's contingency plan. Others say that Rey is a clone of Leia, considering the bond we've seen between the two of them in Episodes VII and VIII. Some equally dumb ones say she is a clone made from Luke Skywalker's severed hand.
7| Rey's Parents Weren't Really Drunk Losers
Hey look, if she wasn't a clone, is it possible that Rey's parents were not who Kylo Ren said they were. Long before The Force Awakens hit theaters, the question was: Who is Rey, really? Now, here we are years after the release of Episode VII, and we still don't really know. Yes, Kylo Ren pretty bluntly told Rey in Episode VII that her parents were just some space bums who abandoned her on some crummy desert planet, but fans refuse to believe this. In April, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson hinted in an interview about the possibility of J.J. Abrams retconning Rey's origin story in Episode IX. There are a number of plausible theories of who her parents can be if not random drunks. There's evidence to support that she's the granddaughter of Obi-Wan or the descendent of Palpatine. Another theory says she's the daughter of Han Solo, which led to his estrangement from Leia.
8| Rey is Palpatine's Daughter
This is a theory that's been floating around since all the way back in 2016 right after The Force Awakens premiered. Fans have been arguing over Rey's lineage for years now, but this is one rumor that just doesn't go away. Fans have been pointing to one key commonality between Rey and Sheev (yes, that's his canonical first name)–their lighstaber fighting style. This one move, specifically:
Now, it may feel insane to derive an entire family lineage from one relatively uninteresting sword jab, but hey, weirder things have happened in the Star Wars universe. It seems easy to predict now, but at the time, no one expected Darth Vader to turn out to be Luke's father at the end of Empire Strikes Back. That major reveal fooled everyone, even some members of the cast. Also, Reddit users have pointed out that Rey has an accent that is "Imperial" in nature. We'll have to wait to see if she's going to laugh like Palpatine in the new film too.
9| The "Skywalkers" Are A Completely New Kind of Religion
"Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to." That's what Kylo Ren says in The Last Jedi, as he urges Rey to forget about Luke Skywalker, Leia, the Rebellion, the First Order, the Resistance–everything. Though he doesn't quite get his wish in Jedi, he sure gets pretty close, levelling the Resistance, and effectively getting Luke Skywalker to die in the process. But this theory, which may or may not have been started by director and notable Star Wars fanboy Kevin Smith, says that the Jedi and the Sith will come to an end in Skywalker, as an entirely new religion is started.
Slashfilm pulled some quotes from the director on his visit to the set of Skywalker, as he said:
The last movie was The Last Jedi. What if they are telling us the fucking title?…The way that Jedi has been used historically in these movies, including in the last movie – ‘the last Jedi, the Jedis must end’, all that shit – what if that’s it for the Jedis? And perhaps the new religion [are the Skywalkers]? Didn’t that just give you fucking chills? What if it’s that? Wouldn’t that be fucking dope? Like, [Luke] was so fucking important – like, I’m going to cry – to the universe, that from then on, they named the order after [him]. They’re all Skywalkers.
Smith has got a point. The Jedi are dwindling, as there may only be one left (Rey). It might be time to start all over again.
10| Kylo Ren is Possessed by Darth Plagueis
This is an intriguing one. Just like the Jedi with their mind control and force spirits, the Sith have some special supernatural powers of their own. And according to user "EmperorDeathBunny" (nice) on Reddit, possession is one of them. We've not seen anyone in the Star Wars live action films become possessed yet. Sure, characters have been tempted and "seduced" by the Dark Side, but none of them have been Exorcist-level possessed. As the Reddit user says:
Ever notice his name? Darth Plagueis. Plague, as in an infectious disease. Darth Plagueis unlocked the secret to immortality by moving from one body to the next, continuing his lifespan through multiple hosts over countless years. Ever wonder why Palpatine was so obsessed with training a powerful young apprentice? Surely he knew that one day the apprentice would want to overthrow him, so why train his own murderer? In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine continually provokes Luke to strike him down. Why would Palpatine want to be killed if the goal is longevity? Because Emperor Palpatine was assumed by Darth Plagueis and, through his death, he would then be able to transmit himself into a new host body. He wasn't just looking for an apprentice, he was looking for a new body since Palpatine's body was growing old. Luke Skywalker was meant to be the next host body for Darth Plagueis. But unfortunately for Plagueis, Darth Vader had a change of heart and defeated the Emperor.
We all know the famous line, "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." Obi-Wan says this before he dies. So it's been made clear that the Jedi are powerful after death, with capabilities that transcend the corporeal realm. What happens to the Sith when they die? We don't actually really know. Perhaps Skywalker will answer all that.
11| Matt Smith Will Be Playing a Young Palpatine
Doctor Who star Matt Smith will be appearing in the upcoming Star Wars film, but it's still not clear exactly who the actor will be playing. Inverse reported back on November 2018 that all arrows are pointing directly to young Emperor Palpatine.Why and how there could be a young version of the wrinkly old evil dude in this film is anyone's guess, but, though Disney officially retconned all these stories, there is actually a big precedent in Star Wars lore a younger version of Ol' Sheev. The now-irrelevant Star Wars expanded universe, which Disney put the kibosh on back when they bought Lucasfilm in 2012, had a few very notable versions of a young Palpatine–particularly one that's a clone of the old evil guy, appearing in the 1991 Dark Horse comic series, Dark Empire. You can read all about it here on the Star Wars fandom Wiki.
If this story is taking note from Dark Empire in any way, we may expect a younger cloned version of the angry old man seeking revenge on the Jedi, and Luke Skywalker–or perhaps, in this case, Rey–facing off with the clone to end the Sith once and for all.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.