11 Popular Star Wars Fan Theories Debunked

"Star Wars" fans are distinguished by their love of battles — not the ones with flashing lightsabers, but those with one another. From the beginning, the serial nature of the films has encouraged speculation, prediction, and theory-mongering, which naturally lead to heated debates between the franchise's most ardent followers.

However, thanks to an ever-shifting canon and that good friend of the human brain, confirmation bias, it's easy to misunderstand "Star Wars" media. The mythical nature of "Star Wars" invites widely varying understandings of its stories and main players. That's part of its staying power, but it can also split the fanbase. While fan theories might make for excellent YouTube videos, there's a thin but definite line between the intent of the screenwriters, directors, and actors, and simple wishful thinking.

Further complicating the issue is that Disney decanonized entire swaths of novels, video games, and comics after it purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. But, as "Star Wars" fans know better than just about anyone, no one's ever really gone. Various characters, objects, and places from the old "Expanded Universe" began to seep into new canon material. That means certain parts of Star Wars lore once relegated to high-level fan fiction have been resurrected, although the storylines that originally surrounded them haven't. 

This, fueled by the instant reach of social media, has created a fantasy world as chaotic and contradictory as the real one. In other words, the Star Wars universe is a breeding ground for wild fan theories, many of which don't pan out when you examine the details. Here are 11 Star Wars fan theories that caught fire, then were extinguished forthwith.

Lando is Jannah's father

The Theory: Lando Calrissian was the smoothest man in any galaxy. Leia knew it, Han knew it, and Lando especially knew it. While he didn't receive any ties on space Father's Day, it stands to reason that he must have left some of ... himself in at least one corner of the universe. "The Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary" even states that the First Order lashed out at the heroes of the original rebellion, and that Lando's daughter was kidnapped as an infant. 

As the theory goes, this kid grew up to be "The Rise of Skywalker" newcomer Jannah (last name unknown, interestingly), who was abducted by the First Order and trained to be a stormtrooper. At the end of the film, Lando and Jannah have a conversation in which Lando tells her that he is from the Gold System, but she doesn't know where home is. He suggests that they find out together, which implies a deeper connection between the two. In addition, on Twitter, Disney Publishing's Jennifer Heddle responded to a fan complaint about the scene by saying, "It will still be in the novelization!" Many assumed that "it" was confirmation of Lando's fatherhood.

The Reality: "The Rise of Skywalker" novelization confirms that Lando did indeed have a daughter, but she wasn't Jannah. The former First Order soldier simply reminded him of his lost baby. The novel "Shadow of the Sith" goes on to reveal that Lando's daughter's name is actually Kadara. Maybe we'll see her pop up in Lando's upcoming Disney+ series?

Palpatine created and controlled the Rebellion

The Theory: Palpatine, who managed to control both sides of an entire war for years in order to take over the Republic, also allowed the Rebellion to grow to give him an excuse to clamp down on uprisings. His only mistake was his inability to predict that his own apprentice would throw him down a reactor shaft. Also, Ewoks. The poor dolt didn't plan for the Ewoks.

The Reality: Palpatine might have welcomed the Rebel Alliance as a useful excuse to exert his power, he didn't necessarily create or nurture it. The core of the Rebellion was formed by Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, queen of the sensible caftan. In the early days of the Rebellion, certain cells, like Saw Gerrera's, used terrorist tactics, which caused a great deal of moral agonizing amongst its leaders. This was illustrated in "The Clone Wars" and "Rebels."

Palpatine did control the Separatist movement, but he had a man on the inside: Count Dooku, who did his bidding as a Sith apprentice. Palpatine had no such hook-up in the Rebellion. Unless Organa and Mothma were playing some shocking game of eight-dimensional chess that we don't know about, Palpatine's fatal flaw was that he underestimated the Rebel Alliance and the degree to which the light side of the Force would re-assert itself in Anakin.

Ahsoka will decanonize the sequel trilogy

The Theory: The sequel films are so unpopular that Disney will wipe them out of continuity via the live-action series "Ahsoka." "Star Wars Rebels" introduced the "World Between Worlds," or the Vergence Scatter, where the Force connects all places and timelines. Ezra Bridger used this mysterious location to reach through time and rescue Ahsoka from Vader; the idea is that some similar time travel shenanigans will wipe Rey, Poe, Finn, and the rest from history.

The Reality: That's wishful thinking. "Rebels" creator Dave Filoni himself has said so. 

According to CinemaBlend, Filoni intentionally destroyed the temple Ezra used as a portal to the World Between Worlds. That wasn't because he likes big crashing noises. Somewhat ironically, he just didn't want a story about changing the past to become a mechanism to undo existing "Star Wars" tales. "It's mainly a place [where] people would go to see the future and the past. It's not such an active place," Filoni says. The World Between Worlds is a plot device designed for a specific story. Like a firecracker, it's only good for one use.

Besides, the Galaxy's Edge theme park expansion and the Galactic Starcruiser hotel are resolutely themed to the sequels era, and to change that now would be expensive, not to mention a mortifying corporate admission of a decade-long, $4 billion mistake. It would also throw every single Disney+ streaming series currently under development into chaos. "The Mandalorian" season 3 trailer has already revealed the presence of a certain sequel-era droidsmith, and Disney probably isn't eager to re-ignite the worst split in the fanbase that the franchise has ever seen. So, no, flying-through-space-Leia ain't going anywhere, kids.

Luke Skywalker was cloned

The Theory: There are two Luke Skywalkers. There's Prime Luke, who we know, and then there's one created by Palpatine from DNA harvested from the hand Luke lost on Bespin. The cloning theory explains why Luke's personality seems to have changed so drastically between the end of "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens," and provides a reason why Luke appears to stand at different heights throughout the original trilogy. 

In the "Thrawn Trilogy," the series of novels that kickstarted the old Expanded Universe, Palpatine created a clone of Luke named — yes, this is real — Luuke. Since Thrawn and other characters from those books have been pulled into the current continuity, it stands to reason that the clone might've survived as well.

The Reality: We don't really know yet. The "Thrawn Trilogy" was wiped out with the rest of the EU in 2014, and while some elements of it have reappeared in the new canon, Luuke doesn't seem to be among them. In issue 11 of Marvel's latest in-canon "Darth Vader" series, Vader stares at a hand in a tube-like device on Exegol, where the Snoke clones were created. Palpatine says that he's able to "use it to make anything." The implication is that this is Luke's hand, but we don't know for sure. Maybe the comic is setting the table for a major shake up in the Star Wars universe ... or maybe it's just a hand in a jar.

As for the apparent height discrepancies in the original trilogy, that's a completely different rabbit hole. Known as the "Bigger Luke Theory," it posits that Luke was sometimes played by an actor other than Mark Hamill. Look it up; we'll see you in a few years when you climb back out.

Anakin used a Jedi mind trick to secure Padme's love

The Theory: Unable to attract Padme with charming one-liners like ""So have you. Grown more beautiful, I mean. For a Senator," Anakin used an extended Jedi mind trick to make Padme his wife. We see Anakin using the Force in a casual manner while he and Padme are eating in "Attack of the Clones," indicating that he was powerful enough to alter Padme's will without her noticing. The couple also has a chat about Force powers, and Anakin says that, while these techniques only work on the weak-minded, he's pretty okay with forcing people to agree with him.

The Reality: Padme just has crap taste in men. Still, this one has (mechanical, bacta-infused) legs to stand on. It's a running joke that no one can understand why Padme fell for the murdery, awkward Anakin when Obi-Wan Kenobi was standing right there. Anakin wasn't only at a disadvantage due to his own lack of game — he also looked petulant next to the more mature, decidedly non-fascist Jedi. So, mind trick.

But, to quote a certain scruffy smuggler, "That's not how the Force works." Whenever we see a Jedi use the ol' mind trick, the effect is extremely temporary, and is only shown affecting simple actions — stormtroopers setting down their blasters, dumping death sticks, and deciding that, you know what, these aren't the droids they're looking for.

In addition, mind tricks also only seem to work when in physical proximity to the target, and Anakin and Padme spent plenty of time apart after their secret marriage. If it was a mind trick, she should have become wide awake the second he left the planet. As such, there's a better explanation: Love is just weird, man.

Stormtroopers aren't actually bad shots

The Theory: Obi-Wan Kenobi, who would know, describes the stormtrooper's aim as "precise." As such, Han, Leia, and Luke were allowed to escape the Death Star so that the Empire could track the Millennium Falcon. This ploy included instructing stormtroopers to miss the trio on purpose as they ran through the moon-sized battle station. 

The reality: 'Tis mere plot armor. The real problem might be that stormtroopers don't seem to have training outside of their pre-designated specialties. When accuracy was needed, for example, the Empire enlisted Imperial Marksmen; we know this because Bill Burr's Mayfield angrily objects on "The Mandalorian" when referred to as a mere stormtrooper. There's also a scene-long inside joke in episode 8 of "The Mandalorian" featuring two biker scouts who shoot at a nearby object and miss — a lot.

It could also be their equipment. Standard-issue blasters, like the ones carried by the troopers who encountered the Rebel heroes on the Death Star, don't seem particularly calibrated for precision shooting. In addition, stormtroopers' helmets obstruct their view. Rex confirms this in "Rebels" when he fails to hit the broad side of a space barn while wearing one; after Ezra teases him about it, the helmet is cast aside and the targets easily hit.

Willow is part of the Star Wars universe

The Theory:  George Lucas came up with the story for "Willow" before he made "Star Wars," and he intended them to take place in the same continuity. As evidence, people note that the pre-Disney form of StarWars.com contained references to a trilogy of novels set in the Willow universe. A few moments in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," like the appearance of "Blackroot" in the third season episode "Monster," also reference the film. Magic in "Willow" is similar to the Force, some sound effects from "Willow" were used in the prequel trilogy, and designs produced for Ron Howard's film seem to have influenced the Jedi's wardrobe.  Besides, E.T.'s race is a member of the Galactic Senate. Why not Willow's?

The Reality: Not all roads lead to Tatooine. The Star Wars Databank entries were just an April Fool's gag. It's true that a certain amount of inter-universe crossover takes place in Lucasfilm properties — the bar named Club Obi-Wan in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," for example — but those are just Easter eggs. The creative similarities are simply the result of the same man working on the two concepts at the same time.

Howard, who directed the original 1988 movie, confirmed during a Q&A that "Willow" does not take place within the "Star Wars" universe. "I never heard anything about that," Howard said, when asked about the connection. "George never suggested anything like that."

Poe Dameron is Force-sensitive

The Theory: Poe's incredible piloting skills are akin to Anakin's tremendous podracing abilities in that the Force allows him to see what's about to happen before it actually took place. Poe's parents had an adventure with Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: Shattered Empire," after which Luke gave them a tree to plant at their home on Yavin. According to Luke, this sapling, a cutting from the tree at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, was strong in the Force; perhaps some of that ability flowed into young Poe as he played near it or ate some of its fruit.

The Reality: Nah, Poe's just that good. There's much more to good piloting than fast reflexes. We know that Poe's mother, Shara, was a pilot, and that she trained him from childhood in her A-Wing. Poe was then tutored by original series ace Wedge Antilles. An early start in the cockpit, combined with natural ability and skilled mentors, easily explains how Poe became the best pilot in the galaxy. It's also entirely possible to be a hotshot pilot without the Force — there's Han Solo, for one, and Din Djarin's not so bad behind the controls himself.

Poe and Rey discuss Poe's possible Force-sensitivity in Marvel's "Poe Dameron" #27, but Poe shuts the idea down. "If I had it, I think I'd know," he says. So, while he may have a sense as to what the Force feels like — it's a mystical energy field that binds every sentient being together, including Poe — he doesn't have the innate ability to use it. Besides, as the prequels made perfectly clear, Force-sensitivity is tied to a high midi-chlorian count, which is passed on genetically. We know Poe's parents, and they don't seem to have Force abilities. Odds are, Poe doesn't, either.

Sebulba appears in Attack of the Clones

The Theory: We've already established that no one's ever really gone in "Star Wars." According to this theory, that includes Sebulba the Dug, young Anakin Skywalker's rival on the podracing circuit in "The Phantom Menace." Some fans contend that Sebulba appears in "Attack of the Clones" during a chase scene on Coruscant, and makes another cameo when Obi-Wan Kenobi talks with Dexter Jettster. 

The Reality: Are you saying that all Dugs look alike? Not cool, man. Not cool. 

While Sebulba did indeed survive his crash in the Boonta Eve Classic, he wasn't the Dug who showed up in the air taxi in "Attack of the Clones." That was Seboca, who was a "holovid star" living on the capital planet, as identified on a Topps card, in "Star Wars: Complete Locations," and in "Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia." Seboca was also the Dug who left Dex's Diner. Although Seboca doesn't have a Databank entry on StarWars.com, he's movie-level canon. 

If you're looking for more Sebulba, though, you'll find him in the video games "Star Wars Episode I: Racer" and "Star Was: Racer Revenge." He also appeared in plenty of "The Phantom Menace" tie-in merchandise, such as novelizations and comics, but most of these are no longer considered canon.

Palpatine created Anakin through the Force

The Theory: Qui-Gon states that Anakin was created by the midi-cholorians, but maybe he's so strong in the Force because Palpatine manipulated Shmi Skywalker's womb. She claims that Anakin has no father either because this was done without her knowledge, or because she was mind-wiped by the Force. This was seemingly confirmed in Marvel's 2018 comic "Darth Vader" #25, in which Vader sees a vision of Palpatine looming over an expectant Shmi, suggesting that Palpatine influenced her pregnancy. Shmi's eyes even shift affectionately towards Palpatine, indicating that this could've happened with her consent. 

The Reality: It absolutely looks like Palpatine is grinning triumphantly as Shmi Skywalker cradles her pregnant midsection. However, all the action in this scene takes place in Anakin's head; it's not necessarily a vision of what really happened.

Still, this panel caused enough of a kerfuffle online that Matt Martin, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, stepped in with a tweet to clarify the situation. "It's part of my job to ensure the [comic] stories are aligned with the overall vision of 'Star Wars,'" Martin wrote. "If the intention was to make a direct connection between Palps and Anakin's birth, I would have had it removed." And so, millions of "Star Wars" YouTube channels were suddenly silenced.

Yeah, the image is pretty misleading. But that's the point: The Dark Side is not to be trusted.

Ewoks feasted on dead stormtroopers

The theory: Ewoks planned to roast and eat Luke, Chewbacca, Han, and R2-D2 in "Return of the Jedi," and were only stopped when they came to believe that C-3PO was a god. Later, they're seen using stormtrooper helmets as a xylophone — did they belong to the Ewoks' previous victims? And where did they get that human-sized dress for Leia to wear, anyway? 

The Reality: WTF, no. Well, okay. Probably not. 

Sometimes, cutesy family moments filmed in 1983 take on a different cast in the Modern Age of All Is Irony. Lucas originally envisioned the Ewoks as Wookiees, but downsized the creatures to emphasize the triumph of "the little guy" over the big, bad, technologically-advanced Empire. Making the Ewoks nasty carnivores undermines his deliberate conceptualization of them as trusted allies. 

In addition, consider that the Rebels enjoy a feast with the Ewoks during the "Return of the Jedi" finale. If stormtroopers were on the menu, it's a fair bet that the humans wouldn't be smiling. It's much more likely that the Ewoks were cooking up Luke and Han as an offering to Threepio, and that the helmets-as-instruments was just a jaunty Lucasfilm moment.

We have an answer to the mystery of Leia's dress, too. According to "Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy," the Ewoks created the dress for her, likely from the skin of a non-humanoid kill. The costume was even deliberately constructed to make it seem as if little paws were responsible for the sewing. Perhaps fast fashion was a particular Ewok talent.

In any case, a "Star Wars" fan film called "Alone" appeared on YouTube in 2020. It's not canon, but it does show an Ewok eating a stormtrooper, so if you need that imagery in your life, go ahead and watch.