The Star Wars sequel trilogy that began in 2015 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued with 2017’s polarizing Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches its conclusion this week with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
With four years and countless universe-expanding films, television series, novels, video games, and other franchise tie-ins filling the gap between The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker, fans have had plenty of time — and research material — to speculate on what this chapter could mean for the greatest sci-fi saga of all time.
While middling early reviews have already made a statement, Lucasfilm and the Star Wars team are doing their best to maintain the mystery heading into the film’s official debut in theaters on Friday. With that in mind, here are the five biggest questions we want The Rise of Skywalker to answer.
Who are Rey’s parents?
In one of many controversial moments in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren tells Rey (and all of us, really) that Rey’s parents were inconsequential. (“They were filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money,” are his exact words.) But here’s the thing: He’s not exactly a trustworthy narrator in this story.
We have our own theory about Rey’s parents, and we’re not alone in wondering whether there’s much more to her story than being a random person with a powerful ability to use The Force. Rumors have suggested she’s a long-lost Skywalker, a descendant of Palpatine, or even the reincarnation of one deceased character or another. Here’s hoping we get a definitive answer to that question from someone who isn’t a perpetually angsty Darth Vader fanboy at some point during the film.
What happened to the Knights of Ren?
We know that the Knights of Ren were a mysterious group of warriors seduced by the dark side of The Force, and were instrumental in slaughtering Luke Skywalker’s apprentices, but that’s about it. After getting a glimpse of them in earlier films and watching Luke toy with Kylo Ren — their most powerful member — the final installment of the trilogy seems like a good time to bring them back for a showdown.
Are they all former Jedi apprentices? Where have they been while Kylo was traveling around the galaxy, hunting Luke? The Knights of Ren have some explaining to do.
Who’s really behind the First Order?
After Supreme Leader Snoke met his end in The Last Jedi, it seemed as if Kylo Ren would be the one to fill the leadership void in the First Order — but that doesn’t seem so certain anymore.
The announcement that Sheev Palpatine will return in some form for The Rise of Skywalker — along with a recent clip released by Disney — now seems to hint at the possibility that the former Emperor (aka Darth Sidious) has actually been pulling the strings all along. After all, death rarely prevents us from seeing key characters again.
Can it really be as simple as the original trilogy’s primary villain, Palpatine, coming out from behind the curtains? Who does the First Order work for?
Is Rey the last Jedi now?
No matter what the cast or filmmakers say about who the real “Last Jedi” is, everyone has a theory. However, the more important question might be whether there are any more Force-wielding potential Jedi out there.
There have been some hints that The Force is back to being strong with other individuals in the galaxy, but thus far, Rey and Kylo Ren appear to be the only confirmed wielders of The Force to come out of younger generations. Who else is out there? Anyone? Skywalker? … Skywalker?
And that conveniently leads us to …
Will The Mandalorian connect with the sequel trilogy?
The Disney+ series The Mandalorian has been a massive hit for the streaming service, particularly when it comes to the pint-sized character officially identified as “The Child” but informally known as Baby Yoda. While the miniature, Force-wielding infant is a big part of the series’ popularity, he’s also become quite the elephant in the room when it comes to the Star Wars saga.
Both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi have led us to believe that Rey is one of the few remaining individuals with a powerful connection to The Force, thus making her an important figure in the battle between good and evil raging across the galaxy. And yet, The Mandalorian is set just 25 years before The Force Awakens, and features a powerful, Force-wielding character still in his infancy at 50 years old.
Sure, we realize there’s a good chance that The Mandalorian himself might not be kicking around 25 years after the events of the show (bounty hunting is a dangerous profession, after all), but Baby Yoda should be in full-Force-effect when the story picks up in The Force Awakens. It will be intriguing to see how, if at all, this ties into the final film in the trilogy.
The final installment of Disney’s sequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, hits theaters December 20.
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