Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters this week, and with it, hopefully the answers to our most pressing questions. These questions don’t just pertain to the Sequel Trilogy either. This story has many loose ends that need tying up, from the Original Trilogy to the Prequels to the modern trilogy, even as this latest film opens a whole new can of worms with a particular character return. The 42-year Skywalker Saga has provided plenty of compelling mysteries to ponder. Now is the time to unravel them.
This weekend’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is Episode IX, the ninth part of this story. It is also the last chapter. It has been made quite clear that, at least for now, the Skywalker Saga and this epic journey ends with The Rise Of Skywalker. That makes this film the final opportunity to provide answers to the questions that fans have speculated and theorized about for years. Sure, there will be comics and novels in the years to come to fill out the story, but for all intents and purposes, this is it.
Director J.J. Abrams, who is best known for proposing intriguing questions than answering them, has said that he wants Episode IX to be a conclusive ending to the Saga and to answer as many questions as possible. But what are the questions that we want answered most; the ones we simply need to know? Here are nine important questions we hope Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker answers.
What Does The Title Mean?
The reveal of each episode’s subtitle has become an event and source of speculation unto itself, with each speaking to the plot or theme of the respective film. Star Wars: The Force Awakens told us about the Force awakening in Rey. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was about Luke and his noble act to ensure he wouldn’t be the last of that ancient order. So what does The Rise of Skywalker mean?
Who is rising? Skywalker is singular, not plural, so does that mean it is only one Skywalker is rising? If so, the last Skywalker as far as we are aware is Kylo Ren. Or maybe The Rise of Skywalker is less literal than that. Perhaps ‘Skywalker’ is being used as a title or the name for a group as opposed to an individual person. It’s a hopeful title to be sure, and it’s a safe bet that by the time the credits roll, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what it means.
What Is Rey’s Origin?
Let’s be honest, this is the big one. Since we met Rey in The Force Awakens, her origins have been an intriguing mystery. Rey’s parentage was the biggest question heading into Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and despite that film seemingly answering it, this remains the biggest question for The Rise of Skywalker. Did Kylo Ren lie to Rey? Are her parents someone we know as was once suspected, or is there more to the story of these filthy junk traders? Was there something special about her birth?
Was she a product of the midichlorians like Anakin? Or did Palpatine create her as has been theorized? It’s not only about her parents though. There are multiple mysteries to her origin, like why she is so powerful and gifted with the Force and what her history is beyond being stranded on Jakku. Fortunately, this is one question we should definitely get an answer to. Both Daisy Ridley and screenwriter Chris Terrio have indicated this question is answered, and now we only have a few more days to wait.
Who Are The Knights Of Ren And What’s Their Deal?
They’re Kylo Ren’s namesake and seemingly his claim to fame, but we have yet to actually see these enigmatic warriors in the story. To date, they have only appeared in Rey’s Force vision (more on that later), and in their absence, their mystery has compounded along with our anticipation to see them. Now, finally, the Knights of Ren are set to make their long-awaited debut in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
But where have they been all of this time and why are they just appearing now? Furthermore, who are they? We once thought that they were the students that left Luke’s temple with Kylo Ren, but that might not be the case. So we need to get an idea of who this group is, where they come from, what their goals are and where their loyalties lie. Presumably we’ll get more on this group and how Ben Solo got involved with them in the Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren limited comic book series, but it would be nice to get some clarity on the big screen.
Who Was Snoke?
I am skeptical that the answer to this question is the same as it would have been after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we are still owed some kind of explanation. Snoke may be dead, but his role in the story, having successfully turned Ben Solo to the dark side, makes his identity important even after death. Who was this person that built the First Order that now threatens to completely dominate the galaxy? How did he accumulate such power and end up being so triumphant in turning a Jedi dark that the hero of the galaxy went into hiding in shame?
Where was he during the days of the Empire and what is his relationship to the Emperor, if any? If Snoke was Emperor Palpatine in another form, we need to know that. And if Supreme Leader Snoke was being puppeteered or controlled by Darth Sidious, we need to know that too. Some of this may be fleshed out in comics and the like, but all it will take is a few lines of dialogue in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to help clear up the mystery of Snoke.
How Did Maz Kanata Get Anakin’s Lightsaber? And What Was Rey’s Vision All About?
This question is a two-parter. The first is how did Maz Kanata wind up with Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber? It might seem irrelevant, but we still want to know the whole story. She said it was a good question for another time. Well, guess what, Maz? It’s now another time and officially the last time, so it’s time to start spilling the beans! Many suspect the answer has to do with Lando Calrissian, who will return in Episode IX, but a definitive answer would be good.
Speaking of Anakin’s lightsaber, what was Rey’s vision all about? When she first touched the lightsaber, she saw visions of Luke, the burning Jedi temple, her parents leaving and the Knights of Ren. Some of that stuff is pretty self-explanatory now, but was there more to it than that? Does it have anything to do with her origins or her future? And why was it that Obi-Wan, who never owned that lightsaber, spoke to her?
How Is Emperor Palpatine Alive (If He Is)?
Although J.J. Abrams has explained his justification for it, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opened a massive can of worms and basically doubled the questions heading into this film by bringing back Emperor Palpatine. We have yet to see him in the flesh in the marketing, but he’s definitely back in some way. First off, if the Emperor is truly alive and not just a Force Ghost or spirit of some nature, how is he alive?
Did he actually die in Return of the Jedi? If so, how did he come back and in what form? If not, how did he survive? Did he actually learn Darth Plagueis’ secret to conquering death? Where has he been all this time and why is he just now making his return? Basically everything about Ian McDiarmid’s character is a huge question mark in this film and it is extremely important that we get answers to all of the pressing Palpy questions. It’s a good thing that villains are prone to monologuing because ol’ Sheev has got some ‘splainin’ to do.
What Is The Future Of The Galaxy?
It’s funny that many fans lamented the politics of the Prequels because now it feels like we could use a little more of that in the Sequel Trilogy. That’s because the Sequel films have done a poor job of establishing the structure and dynamic of governance in the galaxy. The Resistance is secretly backed by the New Republic, which for reasons unknown (in film canon at least) won’t come out publicly against the First Order. It’s all very murky. Hopefully Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker clears some of that up and paints a clear picture of what the galaxy looks like moving forward.
Will the New Republic return? If so, how will it prevent another fascist faction like the First Order from again subjugating the galaxy? Or will there no longer be a governing body for the galaxy? I think we can assume The Rise of Skywalker will have a happy ending, but it would be nice to get a sense that the peace will be lasting and why it will be so. This one might be a long shot though given the Sequel Trilogy’s reluctance to dive into this topic.
Will The Jedi Order Return?
Episode VI of the Skywalker Saga signaled the return of the Jedi order in its title, but we have yet to really see that happen. Luke Skywalker attempted it, but ultimately failed when Ben Solo turned to the dark side. Before his death, Luke Skywalker promised his nephew that he would not be the last Jedi, and Rey took the ancient Jedi texts, indicating that this order could once again return. But will it?
There’s a question of whether or not the Jedi Order even deserves saving, but if the Jedi are integral to bringing balance to the Force, you would think the Order would have to return in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But with Rey at the helm, maybe the Jedi Order will return differently, better than it was before. It is important that we know if the Jedi Knights have a future by the time Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is over.
Can Balance Be Brought To The Force?
“A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.” So reads the famous Chosen One prophecy in Claudia Grey’s canon novel Master & Apprentice (via Slash Film). Bringing balance to the Force was a driving narrative in the Prequels, and after eight films in the Skywalker Saga, the Force remains out of balance. Can balance finally be brought to the Force in Episode IX? If so, how and by whom? And what does balance even look like?
Supposedly Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One, and by killing Emperor Palpatine he brought balance to the Force. But evil persisted and now Palpatine is back, so he either failed or it was only a temporary measure. Was he not the Chosen One? As the end of the Skywalker Saga, you’ve got to think that balance is a part of this film’s necessary closure, but how that will be achieved and what it really means for the Force to be in balance are questions this movie will have to answer.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there is a myriad of other questions audiences will carry with them into the theater this weekend. But whereas questions like what’s Lando been up to, what will happen to Leia, will Rey turn dark and what Luke’s role will be are interesting, they will obviously be answered during the course of the film. These are the greater mysteries, the answers to which are critical to delivering a satisfying ending to the Skywalker Saga.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on December 20. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all our coverage of this momentous event and check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what’s headed to theaters next year.