The wait is almost over! Ever since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans worldwide have not been able to contain their excitement for the next episode of this new trilogy. Anxious for the next part of the story, their collective curiosity has generated hundreds of different theories. As geeks ourselves, we also cannot help but join in! Below are the thoughts and theories from some of GUG’s movie writers.
What do you think the focus of the story will be? What’s the main storyline?
Sarah Bennett: The main storyline has been and always will be about the Skywalker family and the push/pull of the Dark Side. Kylo will move away from the dark, Rey away from the light, both into a gray area. A Skywalker will die so that others may live, and I believe it is Leia…leaving Ben Skywalker an orphan, though not on Tatooine.
Ian Hancock: I think the overarching storyline will likely be the First Order building a massive fleet to hunt down and completely obliterate the Resistance. A plot like this would once again mirror the original trilogy–namely, the battle on Hoth. And, of course, it offers plenty of chances for cool space laser fights, which are a core component of any respectable Star Wars movie.
The focus will clearly be on Rey and Kylo Ren, and I think it would be neat if it centered around their respective transitions between the Light and Dark side of the Force. Cast out from Luke’s tutelage for whatever reason, Rey will be desperate for any answers she can get, no matter who she has to turn to. Kylo, on the other hand, is reeling from his own turmoil and uncertainty and will find it harder and harder to continue on his chosen path. If this happens, it should make for some neat character contrast, as the dynamics between the two of them will shift slightly every time they meet but they’ll always remain in opposition to one another.
Ultimately, I believe that Kylo and Rey will both choose to reject the Dark side/Light side dichotomy that characterizes the previous Star Wars films. The Jedi will always give rise to Sith, after all, and the only way to truly bring balance to the Force is to bring an end to both.
Juliana Purnell: Since The Last Jedi will be the middle film of a trilogy, it means that the villains can score a ‘win.’ None of the major story arcs will be resolved; rather the film will focus on the amassing of power on both sides of the conflict, and the repositioning of characters around the board. From the trailer, it seems that there are three main areas; Luke’s island, the white desert, and outer space (acts one, two and three, respectively).
Luke will train Rey for half of the film. We’ll get Kylo Ren’s murderous backstory in this movie, which will explain Luke’s reluctance and eventual refusal to train Rey once the extent of her power is realized. Star Wars is the franchise that made the Hero’s Journey famous, and that usually includes a story beat where the mentor figure dies (which would be Luke in this case). Yet being the middle film, I feel that most of the major deaths will be withheld until Episode 9.
Meanwhile, on the desert planet where the Resistance is hiding, there’ll be some MacGuffin (possibly an item that leads to Leia’s location) that the First Order will succeed in taking. After Luke’s rejection and unwillingness to participate further, Rey will rendezvous with the others, though she’ll appear fazed and looking for answers. She’ll continue to pursue her own path while Finn and Poe deal with Captain Phasma’s army. Snoke will take a particular interest in Rey, and with the weird Sith rule about there only ever being two, he will cast Kylo Ren aside, especially after his failure to kill Princess Leia. In a bittersweet ending, Ben will start to seek redemption (where he’ll meet up with Luke in the next film), whilst Rey will be lost to the Dark Side. Hence, the last Jedi can refer to either the loss of Rey or Luke’s voluntary isolation.
What will happen between Kylo Ren and Princess Leia?
Sarah Bennett: I believe the Princess will perish in this episode, though it will not be by her son’s hand. He may have killed his dad, but he won’t kill his Mom. And I believe it will be her untimely demise that will thrust him from Snoke, but not into the light, or towards Luke.
Ian Hancock: Leia seems like she’ll act as both a crossroads and a weak point for Kylo. Having already killed Han, I doubt he’ll have an easy time offing his mother, too. If there’s one thing we know about Kylo Ren, it’s that he isn’t the same as the cold, ruthless rulers he admires. His actions affect him–and deeply. So, while I am confident that this will be the film where Leia dies, I don’t believe it will be by Ben’s hand, and his inability to kill her will leave a lasting impression on him–for better or for worse.
Juliana Purnell: It might just be some clever editing by Disney in the trailer, but I do believe that Kylo Ren and Princess Leia will have a moment together in Episode 8. Kylo Ren will be tasked with killing his mother, as it will be both strategic, and also it will complete his journey to the dark side. But he won’t go through with it. I feel that Ben’s relationship with Leia is completely different to how he felt about his father (and the different perspectives Han Solo and Leia held about their son was what caused the couple to split in the first place).
Also, Episode 8 had finished filming before Carrie Fisher’s untimely death. We know that she supposedly had a huge role in Episode 9. Financially it would be smarter to rewrite the script for the future film than to commit to reshooting alternate scenes for the current movie. I also believe that while Luke brought a sort of balance to the Force, “there is another”, and Leia’s journey is one that shows a different approach, one that relies more on tactical wit and politicking rather than violence. So I’ll be surprised if we say goodbye to this character during Episode 8.
Will Rey’s parentage be revealed? If so, what is it?
Sarah Bennett: Firstly, if we get another midichlorian baby, I’ll be HIGHLY disappointed.
Within my own house, we have two theories. I tend to go with the Kenobi offspring. It’s probably because I love Obi Wan (even in the awful first 3 episodes) and always felt sad he had no family. But, I have some points:
1. Obi Wan was a strong Force Jedi. He had Qui-Gon Jinn as his master, so he learned from the best. Rey is also strong with the Force.
2. She’s a desert creature. Obi Wan lived on Tatooine. Maybe it was always in her blood.
3. This would make her a Kenobi granddaughter (since she’s not Luke’s age). That means her actual parents are still a mystery but Gramps was a Jedi master.
The other option is that she’s a Palpatine. The irony of a light Jedi from a dark background is intriguing, but not for me.
Ian Hancock: Oh, goodness. I’m not sure there’s a single stone in the Star Wars Universe that’s been left unturned by fan theories concerning Rey’s heritage, from Leia to Lando to Jar Jar , and I’m not sure I’m well-versed enough in the lore to have any better a chance of guessing correctly than a Star Wars name generator. I’ll be a good sport and give it a shot, though.
I think the fact that Rey is living inside of a ruined AT-AT when we first meet her in The Force Awakens is symbolic. Her parents are likely “Dark-aligned” just as Kylo Ren’s parents are “Light-aligned,” and such symbolism would suggest that Rey’s history is housed in the Galactic Empire and its fall. In light of my admittedly shoddy theorizing, my best guess would be that Rey is descended from, or at least related to, either Brendol Hux or Captain Phasma.
Juliana Purnell: I don’t think everything will be revealed–you have to leave something to explore in Episode 9. The cynical part of me wonders if it’s going to be another Matrix Revolutions, where everyone’s theory is better than what actually happens in the film. Maybe we’re all overthinking it and Rey is just simply Luke’s daughter? Nice, simple and safe.
Although my personal favorite is the idea that Rey is Anakin Skywalker reincarnated, with the Force using the character to balance itself out, taking the title of ‘The Force Awakens’ to a whole new level. There are a lot of nods to Episode 1 with Rey’s behavior and personality. But what I really like about this theory is the amount of conflict and tension it creates with the rest of the cast. We have Luke, who saw the goodness in Anakin, whereas Kylo Ren worships his grandfather’s dark side. Both characters can present Rey with the two different perspectives of the Force, while she alone decides how to proceed. To me, this theory offers the juiciest options when it comes to exploring the Skywalker’s complicated family dynamics.
Who is Snoke?
Sarah Bennett: First off, while I love the Star Wars franchise, I don’t LOVE it. I’ve never bought a comic or Star Wars book, so my guess is pure movieverse driven and fueled by coffee.
I believe this bad guy is the ultimate puppet master who has been pulling the strings of the Sith since (the tragic) episodes 1-3. He is the one who puts masters and apprentices together, to watch them tear each other apart, hoping to take others with them. So, along the lines of Maz Kanata, he has been around a long, long time.
The Star Wars episodes are about the Skywalker family, always. So somewhere back in time, Snoke was involved with them. Maybe they sold him a dying bantha or maybe he was a second born Skywalker brother, who always got the leftovers. And my favorite: what if he was Anakin’s baby daddy and was peeved about the “it just happened “ explanation by Shmi?
Either way, I believe Snoke is someone we’ve never seen before. He’s always been controlling the pawns, in the long game to end the Skywalker dynasty.
Ian Hancock: Hmm. Did Yoda have any descendants?
Kidding aside, it’s not clear to me that Snoke will end up being anyone particularly noteworthy lore-wise outside of being Supreme Commander. Of course, villains in this franchise are typically connected to the other characters through some sort of past Master/Apprentice relationship, so I look forward to being proven wrong.
Juliana Purnell: Is it weird that I don’t really care? It honestly surprised me when I saw all these theories concerning the character because I was always under the impression he was just another villain, completely original and separate from the other entries in the franchise. If he does have a deeper origin story, then I’d guess Snoke is really Palpatine, who has used the dark side of the force to unnaturally increase his lifespan and somehow survive the events in Return of the Jedi. To me, the narrative is more about the Skywalker family, and Snoke is merely a one-dimensional ‘big bad’ to inject some extra conflict into the story.