star wars the rise of skywalker

Lucasfilm debuted the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode 9 at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago this Friday, and with that, the official title of the final film in the Skywalker Saga. The title Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at first seems like an appropriate bookend for a franchise that started with a young farmboy 40 years ago (and plays into director J.J. Abrams fascination with synonyms for “get up”). But that title also raises a lot of questions for the plot Episode 9 that may retcon some answers about Rey (Daisy Ridley) already established in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Or perhaps it could suggest a promising new arc for our trilogy villain, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Whatever the case, this title, and the trailer accompanying it, has raised several Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker title theories. Let’s dive in.

Kylo Ren is Reedeemed

Before he changed his name, Kylo Ren may have gone by the name Ben Solo, but he is still half Skywalker. The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa has walked the most tragic path to villainy –  all by his own choosing. His uncle Luke Skywalker’s brief moment of weakness may have pushed the darkness-prone Kylo to the Dark Side, but he has only embraced villainy more with each chance he gets for redemption, killing his father Han Solo, and betraying both Snoke and Rey in order to seize power of the First Order.

But could the title of the third and final film in the new trilogy suggest that Kylo could find redemption after all? Kylo is a fascinatingly flawed, modern villain — prone to hero worship and childish tantrums, but all the more unpredictable for it. But there’s an element of tragedy to him that Episode 9 might tap into in order to bring out the Skywalker side of Kylo and give him the same eleventh-hour redemption that his grandfather and idol Darth Vader received.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Rey is a Skywalker

Well, here we are again. Endlessly debating the truth of Rey’s lineage. The Rise of Skywalker may have the most troubling connotations for this theory, which is one I’m sure you’re all familiar with: that Rey is a lost Skywalker, either by Luke, Leia, or some other far-flung relative. It was a theory that was decidedly put to bed in Star Wars: Last Jedi, which established that Rey’s parents were “nobody.” That was a bold, striking decision that aligned with the film’s overall message that anyone can be a hero. Rey may have come from nothing, but her rising to be a hero that could save the galaxy was monumental — and recalled the early days of Star Wars when we all thought that Luke was just a farmboy.

But now we’re back. And boy, does this title have the potential to pull a messy retcon of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With Rey’s inarguable status as the trilogy’s main hero and her prominence in the trailer, which teases “Every generation has a legend,” it could be leading us to the revelation that Rey is a Skywalker after all. Which makes that sexual tension between her and Kylo Ren even more disturbing!

“There is Another…” and it is Leia

It seemed a waste of a super cool quote from Yoda to never learn whether he refers to Leia in Empire Strikes Back. “No, there is another,” Yoda vaguely responds to Obi-Wan’s statement that Luke is their last hope. Until The Force Awakens kicked off the new trilogy in 2015, it was always assumed that the “other” was Leia, Luke’s twin sister. Before Carrie Fisher’s passing in 2016, it was reported that Episode 9 would be Leia’s movie, just as Force Awakens was Han’s and Last Jedi was Luke’s. The most touching way to send off Fisher’s iconic character would be this revelation that she is the all-important Skywalker.

luke skywalker's last words

The Legacy of Skywalker Lives on in All of Us

The enduring message of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was that everyone can rise to be a hero…if they so choose. While some elements of the trailer point to Abrams retconning some of Rian Johnson’s decisions in Last Jedi, it would be a fitting follow-up if the Episode 9 title refers to the lasting legacy of Luke Skywalker and how it inspires people into action.

Star Wars The Last Jedi - Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Luke Returns as a Powerful Force Ghost

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” We saw in The Last Jedi that Yoda returned as an unusually powerful Force ghost who could even control the elements. Could Luke possibly do the same and live up to his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous line from A New Hope? That could be one of the new “Force tricks” that Abrams teased during the film’s Celebration panel, and would certainly be something we’ve never seen in a Star Wars movie before.

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Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver will be joined by series newcomers Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, and Naomi Ackie in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Billy Dee Williams is set to reprise his role as Lando Calrissian, while Carrie Fisher will return as Leia Organa through archival and unreleased footage.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.

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