The Rise of Trailer
Okay, so the title for this column isn’t the best, but it’s gotta fit in with the newly announced title to the final episode in the Star Wars saga: The Rise of Skywalker. Like The Last Jedi, there’s a whole lot to unpack in those four words, and since JJ Abrams and the cast of the movie aren’t going to spoil it for us, we’re just gonna have to get ourselves all worked up trying to figure out just what the hell it means.
For starters, a lot of people are thinking that this title means that Rey is a Skywalker. Honestly, I don’t think that’s going to be the case at all (sorry, Last Jedi haters). Instead, there’s a bigger chance that the Skywalker the title is referencing is actually Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, who is technically a Skywalker by blood. One of the biggest subplots in the new trilogy has been Kylo’s struggle with his inner demons, and whether he is truly committed to the Dark Side or not. One of the big theories throughout these new additions to the saga is if Kylo Ren can be redeemed for his actions, and depending on how this new film plays out, we could see Kylo renouncing his Dark Side ways and embracing a new path as a Skywalker.
Another plausible theory is that Rey restarts the Jedi Order, albeit under a new name. Near the end of The Last Jedi, it was revealed that Rey had secretly taken the ancient Jedi texts from Luke’s hideaway o Ach-To. While we don’t know how much time will have passed between Last Jedi and Rise, JJ Abrams has stated that a “good amount of time” has gone on in between films. Perhaps Rey has gained some new perspectives into the Force, and decides to start a new order of Jedi, not unlike Kylo Ren’s fabled Knights of Ren (that have only been seen briefly). By starting a new order of Jedi in the namesake of Luke Skywalker, she not only starts to bring balance to the Force once again, but can also honor her former teacher by fighting for good with an order in his namesake.
Of course, there’s also the possible reveal that Emperor Palpatine plays a role in this new film, despite being dead since the end of Return of the Jedi (not that that’s stopped Force sensitive people in the past). While it remains to be seen how much of a role the Emperor will have in this film, it’s possible that he could be a menace from beyond the grave, guiding (or torturing) Kylo Ren in his path on the Dark Side, much like I assume that Luke will guiding Rey in this film. But what if the Rise of Skywalker title is literally about the return of Luke Skywalker? Either as an all powerful Force Ghost, or as some resurrected uberpowerful Jedi, not unlike Gandalf’s transition from Grey to White in Lord of the Rings. It’s certainly an out there theory, and the Star Wars films have yet to get really out there with the Force like the tie in novels and shows do, but if Solo showed us anything, it’s that Disney and Lucasfilm are open to using (or acknowledging) some of the more out-there aspects of the Star Wars franchise.
Regardless of if any (or none) of these theories come to fruition, we have another Star Wars film to look forward, and for the first time since Disney kick started a new batch of films, we have zero idea of what will happen. We knew Force Awakens would reintroduce to our old favorites and introduce us to to new ones. We knew Rogue One would end in tragedy and the Death Star plans reaching the Rebels. We knew Last Jedi was going to have Rey be trained by Luke. And we knew that Solo would have Han meet Chewie and Lando and tell us that his last name is because he doesn’t know anyone from his family (okay, not so much about that last one). But with Rise of Skywalker, we don’t know really….anything about it, other than it’s the “last film in the Skywalker saga”. That not knowing is a little worrying, but it’s honestly more exciting than anything else. The wait for December is going to be a long one.