It’s hard to believe that in just two months Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be in theaters. Forty-two years after the original movie hit theaters, the Skywalker Saga is officially coming to a close. Hardcore Star Wars fans have been speculating for two years how it might end, and even casual fans are waiting to see how it plays out.
In the meantime, having a few years between The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker has given the internet plenty of time to come up with their own theories. Most fan theories are full of holes or require some fairly big reaches to make work, but some are, dare we say…plausible? Shockingly so, even.
Here are some of the most interesting and sound fan theories the internet has to offer about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
1. Rey And Kylo Are Two Halves Of A Karmic Whole
This is an interesting theory that plays around with the concept of the duality of the Force. Throughout the new Star Wars trilogy, the connection between Ren and Kylo Rey has been an important throughline, especially in The Last Jedi. The theory suggests this doesn’t mean they’re two opposing forces meant to regulate one another, but two halves of the same whole.
Consider: There have been multiple references to being split, both verbally and symbolically. Kylo tells Han before killing him he feels like he’s being torn apart between light and dark; later, Snoke mentions that killing Han “split” Kylo to the core. When Rey looks into the mirrors in the cave and asks to see her parents, she sees only a reflection of herself, split and fractured. At the end of The Force Awakens, the ground symbolically cracks between them and splits them apart.
The theory goes on to suggest that their story will have a bittersweet ending with them continuing to be connected even in death. Rey might kill Kylo, but he’ll live in on her as Ben Solo, never fully gone.
My prediction? If they’re both truly connected in that way, if one dies, the other dies, too. And then, hopefully, reborn as two people in one entity, finally becoming the long-prophesied perfect balance of the Force. Which brings us to the second theory…
2. The ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ Title Has Hinted At This All Along
Fans have speculated since the title reveal that “Skywalker” is not in reference to the Skywalker family name but, instead, refers to a new order of Force users that will rise: Neither Jedi, nor Sith, but Grey Jedi – also known as Skywalkers.
Whether they’re two halves of the same whole or opposing sides of the Force meant to balance one another, it’s been made clear that neither Kylo Ren nor Rey fully believes in everything they have been taught by their mentors on Team Dark and Team Light. That brings us to the concept of Gray Jedi, which can mean two things in the Star Wars universe. Either Jedi who operate outside the bounds of the Jedi Code, or Force users who walk the line between light and dark without giving themselves completely over to the dark side. True Grey Jedi are both.
Rey and Kylo have empathy for one another and a deep connection, something you don’t normally see between Jedi and Sith. Luke Skywalker himself recognized how rigid the Jedi Order had become, bogged down in the weight of its dogmatic religion. But Kylo himself exposed the hypocrisy and evil of the First Order. Rey and Kylo Ren teaming up to take out Snoke symbolically represents both of them turning away from their chosen sides and finding a compromise in the middle. Hence, Grey Jedi, i.e. Skywalkers.
3. Rey Is Actually A Clone Of Luke Skywalker
This theory has been floating around since at least 2016, one that addresses the uncanny connection between Rey and the Force, particularly Luke Skywalker. The theory states that the Emperor actually took Luke Skywalker’s severed hand he lost in The Empire Strikes Back and used it to make a few clones. Rey, however, was saved and hidden away by the Resistance so the Emperor couldn’t get to her and use her.
It’s kind of awful in one way – as the rare woman leading a Star Wars trilogy, you’d hate to see Rey simply being reduced to a clone of a famous male character to placate fans – but it does make sense. It would neatly why Rey has no memory of her parents, why she was dumped on a mostly-deserted planet in the middle of nowhere, why she has such a connection to Luke Skywalker and an immediate gift for using the Force. There are plenty of other explanations for all of those things, of course, but the clone theory would make sense.
However, Rey isn’t the only one whose autonomy is undermined by fan theories…
4. Kylo Ren Is Possessed By The Spirit Of Darth Plagueis
When Jedi die, if they’re powerful enough in the ways of the Force, they can become Force ghosts and continue to live on in a manner even after death. Powerful Sith have a similar trick called “transfer essence,” in which they can project their consciousness into another host body or, in some rare instances, an inanimate object. They Horcrux themselves, basically. That’s the foundation of this theory, which states Darth Plagueis never actually died but now resides in the body of Kylo Ren, explaining why he took over the First Order at the end of TLJ after asking Rey to help him burn it all down.
Darth Plagueis is known to Star Wars fans as Palpatine’s mentor, whom Palpatine later killed when Plagueis’ powers failed. But Plagueis was an ultra-powerful Sith Lord, one who could manipulate midichlorians to create life and stave off death, so he should have foreseen that his apprentice planned to kill him. The theory posits that Plagueis never actually lost his powers as his plan all along was to have his apprentice kill him, then project his consciousness into the younger body of Palpatine. Plagueis had simply groomed Palpatine as a powerful Sith in order to one day be a host body for him.
Palpatine, in turn, also became obsessed with finding a new apprentice to train for his next host body. Luke Skywalker was the target, but Palpatine, i.e. Plagueis, had his plans foiled when Darth Vader unexpectedly turned on Palpatine and killed him. That left Plagueis chilling without a new host body until Snoke, known as a seeker of arcane and ancient lore, presumably stumbled across the corpse of Palpatine while in the wreckage of the Death Star at one point. Plagueis then hopped into his new host body of Snoke and immediately took up training his next powerful apprentice – Kylo Ren.
Much like when Palpatine turned on his master and killed him, the theory suggests that Snoke/Plagueis knew all along how he’d die. It’s why he kept goading Kylo, provoking him in order to push him further into the dark side, knowing full well Kylo would snap and kill him one day. Kylo was always meant to be the next host body, and that’s exactly what happened once Kylo struck down Snoke in the throne room: The consciousness of Darth Plagueis then transferred to Kylo Ren, which is why Kylo suddenly seems to have a change of heart and assumes the mantle of Supreme Leader. It also explains the moment in the Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer when we hear a supposedly dead Emperor Palpatine laughing maniacally as Luke Skywalker’s voiceover notes no one is ever really gone.
Last, a theory that actually doesn’t focus on Kylo and Rey, but another character entirely.
5. Finn Is Also A Force-Sensitive Jedi
(Source: Star Wars Shadow Council)
Most of the theories for TROS understandably focus on Rey and Kylo, and to a slightly lesser degree, characters from the original and prequel trilogies. And that makes sense. In all honesty, outside of Kylo and Rey, the new, supporting characters introduced in the new trilogy have gotten almost no character development to speak of. That makes this theory somewhat implausible simply because it would require too much attention being paid to Finn, a supporting character who has to this point barely gotten a backstory.
Nonetheless, it’s a really interesting theory – and one that could work if, say, some of those supporting characters from the new trilogy show up in spinoff movies: What if Rey wasn’t the only one whose powers awoke in The Force Awakens? The theory suggests that the Force entered Finn at the start of that movie, back when he was still a Stormtrooper and was reeling from the loss of his friend in battle – we just didn’t know it. Every novelization and adaptation of TFA describes that moment as emotionally devastating for Finn, who was in command of his squadron. In that raw moment is when the Force seized upon him – or, at least, when Finn was open and unguarded enough to finally notice it. In that moment, he acts an awful lot like Rey did in her awakening – first, the sounds of battle fade away. Then, he hears a sound no one else seems to hear and follows it. After that, he clearly loses his appetite for battle, even though he’s meant to be a loyal stormtrooper foot soldier.
It’s worth noting that just a moment later, when Kylo Ren is heading back to his ship from the battlefield, he pauses and takes note of Finn. There is absolutely no reason for Kylo Ren, high-ranking member of the First Order and apprentice to Snoke, to notice a random, lowly stormtrooper. But Kylo looks right at him and marks him – or rather, as the theory explains, he marks the Force that has awakened in Finn.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters on December 20, 2019.