The release of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, also known as Star Wars: Episode IX, is imminent and the internet is a roiling mass of fan theories as to what will happen next. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the film will mark the final installment of the so-called “Skywalker Saga” a trilogy that includes The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). Obviously you may not want to read this if you haven’t seen the previous films, but if that were the case you probably wouldn’t be here. Also, fan theories are only spoilers if they turn out to be correct, which they only occasionally do. Otherwise it’s just fun speculation and an exercise in getting hyped for the return of a beloved franchise like Star Wars which returns with The Rise Of Skywalker on December 20th.
Here are some of the top Rise Of Skywalker fan theories in order from least surprising to most galaxy-altering.
1. Luke will return as a Force ghost
There’s “dead,” there’s “mostly dead,” and then there’s “Star Wars dead.” Take who you thought was definitely definitively dead and throw those notions out the window because speculation is rampant that certain characters *cough* Luke *cough* will be returning in the form of Force ghosts ala Obi-Wan.
2. There are multiple clones of the Emperor…who is also still alive
The Emperor is like a bad penny. We all saw Darth Vader chuck him down a shaft, lightning bolts and all, in Return of the Jedi, but many speculate that not only did he not die, but that there may be multiple clones of him in existence. Some sleuths have even pored over trailers to determine that the Emperor appears to be voiced by multiple people and that Rey appears to be looking at multiple figures offscreen during a very Force-looking lightning storm to bolster their theory of a gaggle of Emperors. Of course, whether he’ll return as a Force ghost or as multiple flesh and blood clones remains to be seen.
3. Leia will fulfill her destiny and join with the Force
Though she hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to flash her powers we know that Leia, like her brother Luke, is Force-sensitive. With the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, it’s unclear how large Leia’s role in The Rise Of Skywalker will be, but she will likely play an important part and might also leave her physical body to become one with the Force and more powerful than ever before.
4. Kylo Ren will sacrifice himself for good
This wouldn’t be all that shocking for a character who has been more emo evil than full evil the entire time. Will the ever-conflicted Kylo choose to do the right thing and nobly sacrifice himself in the process? Possibly in an epic battle with Palpatine? Probably.
5. R2-D2 has Luke’s missing green lightsaber
A post on Reddit theorizes that everyone’s favorite cheeky droid R2-D2 may contain a big secret…as in literally contain it. The theory explains that R2 has a compartment that has held Luke’s lightsaber before, points out that the last time viewers saw Luke’s green lightsaber R2-D2 was in the shot and that we never saw it again after that moment. The theory speculates that at a critical moment in Rise Of Skywalker R2 will prove to be the ace up our heroes’ sleeves by revealing the secret saber. Or as the post concludes: “My theory is that sometime during Episode 9 when it looks like all hope is lost and our hero(s) are on the edge of certain defeat R2D2 will launch the green Lightsaber out of the hidden storage compartment to Rey who will use it to save the day.”
6. Kylo Ren is possessed by… Darth Plagueis?
This will be a head-scratcher for casual fans, but there is strong speculation among learned Star Wars fans that Kylo Ren is actually possessed by the spirit of the long-dead Sith Lord known as Darth Plagueis. Plagueis was Palpatine’s mentor and a legendary master at manipulating midi-chlorians and having power over life and death itself. And who would make for a better host body than that tall drink of water, Kylo Ren?
7. Finn is also a Jedi
You get a lightsaber…YOU get a lightsaber…EVERYONE gets a lightsaber! According to this fan theory, The Force Awakens saw the Force, well, awaken in not only Rey but also in Finn. The theory suggests that when Finn saw his beloved comrade Slip die on Jakku it awakened the Force within him, we just didn’t notice because of all that doofy Stormtrooper armor. (I doubt this one. You can’t just give everyone the Force or the shine starts to wear off a bit.)
8. Dark Side Rey is Palpatine
These theories are getting dark but here goes. A split-second shot of an apparently evil Rey wielding a very un-Jedi looking red lightsaber is making everyone speculate on what Rey choosing the Dark Side would mean. Is she a Palpatine clone? Does she take up the mantle of the Dark Side? Or more likely, is “Dark Side Rey” just a vision of what she could become if she chose the path of darkness and hate?
9. Rey is a clone of Luke Skywalker
While this one sounds as wacky as a drunk wookie, this is how the theory goes: It’s speculated by some that the Empire used Luke’s famously severed hand to make clones of the Jedi master and that one of those clones was either lost or hidden on a remote planet, namely Rey. It’s speculated that this is why she doesn’t know who her parents are…she may not have parents at all.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes out on December 20th.
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