Skip to main content

5 questions we want Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to answer

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

star wars: the last jedi review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
Want to enjoy the Star Wars TV shows more? Watch the cartoons, already!
Ahsoka Tano prepares for battle in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I’m pretty nerdy about a lot of things: turntables, vinyl records, barbecue, Game of Thrones, and yes, Star Wars. To a fault, I can be hard to shut up once my string is pulled, and lately, much of my blathering has been focused around a couple of Star Wars TV series -- The Mandalorian and the upcoming Ahsoka, the latter of which I am super-excited for. But I’ve had a few conversations about these shows with friends recently that have been driving me nuts. The latest involved me gushing over a live-action cameo of the animated Star Wars: Rebels series character Zeb Orrelios in season 3, episode 5 of The Mandalorian. My friend exclaimed that he had no idea who Zeb was and that he'd never watched "that cartoon," and here we are.
But a couple of notes before I continue: First, I know that Star Wars: Rebels and its precursor, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, are “cartoons.” Second, I’m aware that I’m a grown man. The point is, I’m often amazed to learn that, for those and other reasons, many people have avoided these excellent animated Star Wars series -- and this is a mistake. Much of what happens in The Clone Wars and Rebels has direct ties to shows such as The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Book of Boba Fett, and especially Ahsoka, as they introduce incredible characters and crucial backstories. Do you need to watch them to know what's going on? No. You don't even need to watch every episode to get a better understanding of the live-action shows: We have great essential episode guides for Clone Wars and Rebels to set you up. But time and again I’ve been rewarded with excitement, a better understanding of characters and plotlines, and a more satisfying cathartic payoff because of watching these "cartoons." Plus, they’re just really good.
And whether you’ve just started watching The Mandalorian or are, like me, waiting eagerly for Ahsoka in August, here are a few good reasons you should take the next few months and get caught up on some of the best cartoons you’ll ever see.
Note: There are Mandalorian spoilers ahead.
Ahsoka Tano gets her due

Making her live-action debut in season 2 of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano began her journey as Anakin Skywalker's tenacious young Padawan, and her adventures throughout seven seasons of the animated Clone Wars made her one of the most exciting and loved Jedi characters in the Star Wars universe. Not only does she endure betrayal through Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader, but her arc connects her to the warrior Mandalorians when she helps Bo-Katan Kryze liberate the planet Mandalore from occupation. The series concludes when Darth Sidious issues Order 66, which triggered the betrayal and extermination of the Jedi, aligning the show with the film Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith.

Read more
Why Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’s Cal Kestis needs his own Disney+ show
Cal wielding his blue lightsaber and walking with BD-1 in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor key art.

As Lucasfilm finally seems to be getting the ball rolling again for Star Wars on the theatrical front, the video game space has been showing the franchise's continued narrative strength. The latest example is Respawn Entertainment's Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. The sequel to 2019's successful Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fleshes out the journey of Cal Kestis (voiced by Gotham and Shameless actor Cameron Monaghan), with his story feeling every bit as worthy of a live-action series.

Shows like Dave Filoni's Ahsoka look promising given Rosario Dawson's pitch-perfect performance in season 2 of The Mandalorian and Filoni's passion for the franchise. Should Lucasfilm want more Jedi-centric storytelling on Disney+, the Star Wars Jedi games have rich characters (all hail Turgle!) and intriguing storylines that could be an ideal fit for the episodic format that made Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor so compelling.

Read more
Spotify celebrates Star Wars Day with soundtracks and audio books
The Mandalorian and Grogu in a poster for the Disney+ series.

In May 1977, the original Star Wars hit theaters and changed cinemas forever. And although the actual release date was May 25, 1977, fans have embraced May the Fourth as the annual Star Wars Day celebration (for obvious reasons). To celebrate this year's Star Wars Day, Spotify has something special in mind for music fans and audio book connoisseurs.

Composer John Williams' iconic Star Wars music from all nine of the main feature films is streaming under Spotify's Best of Star Wars Playlist alongside some more recent additions to the musical canon. That includes Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab's score for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, the hit video sequel that just hit stores at the end of April. Kevin Kiner's music from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch is also featured, as is Michael Giacchino's powerful score from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Additionally, Spotify's Playlist for The Mandalorian now has Joseph Shirley's score from season 3 alongside Ludwig Göransson's soundtracks for the first two seasons.

Read more