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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – 6 theories as to the possible meaning of the title


The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer has officially broken the internet and sent the world abuzz with speculation. Here it is again for you to watch for the millionth time.

So what could The Rise of Skywalker possibly refer to? Here are six possible theories...

1. It refers to Luke's legacy

This is perhaps the most obvious theory. Judging from the closing moments of 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) ascended into the Force and passed the Jedi baton to Rey (Daisy Ridley), we can expect his legacy to live on through her.

The Rise of Skywalker trailer certainly indicates this – we see Rey squaring for a confrontation on a desert planet (Jakku? Tattooine?), lightsaber in hand. It alludes to her ascendency to the role of Jedi master, as the spirit of Luke lives on vicariously through her burgeoning powers. It would certainly be a neat way of tying up the original saga mythology through the context of the new characters.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

2. Luke isn't actually dead

From plausible to... less than plausible. Owing to The Last Jedi's more controversial plot elements, some fans have interpreted The Rise of Skywalker as possibly re-conning (essentially reworking) the events of its predecessor.

Could returning director J.J. Abrams, who helmed 2015's The Force Awakens, undo the closing moments of The Last Jedi and have Luke still be alive?

After all, the key theme of The Last Jedi was "let the past die", which some have taken as an implicit hint as to The Rise of Skywalker's narrative direction. And let's not forget Luke himself says "it's time for the Jedi to end".

Again it's highly unlikely – Abrams was producer on the latter movie and was supportive of director Rian Johnson's left-field swerves into the Star Wars mythos. Not to mention that the climax of The Last Jedi actively refutes Luke's doom-mongering attitude – far from the Jedi coming to an end, it culminates in a hopeful new dawn as the flagging rebellion is reborn and the Jedi code is handed over to Rey.

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

3. Rey is related to Luke

Again, this is a theory centering around ret-conning. In The Last Jedi, many fans took umbrage with the so-called revelation about Rey's parentage – namely, that they were not significant whatsoever, which some believed undercut the plot threads established in The Force Awakens. 

Will Abrams therefore re-write the detail about her parentage and work in a deeper family connection between her and Luke? It's highly unlikely – after all, why would the evil Snoke (Andy Serkis) have lied to her on the subject? Nevertheless, it's interesting to speculate.

The Death Star in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

4. Luke has ascended to a higher form within the Force

The Last Jedi also stimulated lively debate through its liberal tweaking of the Force's ground rules. From Luke Force-projecting himself onto the planet of Crait, distracting the warring Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), to the Force ghost of Yoda (Frank Oz) summoning down lightning and destroying the sacred Jedi texts – it was safe to say the movie threw out some curveballs.

Yet as Rian Johnson said, not entirely unfairly, many of the mysteries of the Force that we didn't know about were set down in those very same Jedi texts. Maybe Luke will manifest as an all-powerful Force ghost as Yoda did, actively influencing events and steering Rey towards the final, pivotal battle with Kylo Ren? The 'rise' referred to in the title may therefore refer to a higher form of being, the likes of which we haven't seen in Star Wars before.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

5. It refers to Leia

Owing to her death in 2016, Carrie Fisher's role as General Leia in The Rise of Skywalker will comprise unused footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. We're all intrigued to see how that will look – in The Rise of Skywalker trailer, all we get is a brief glimpse of Leia hugging Rey.

It may be a wild and somewhat vague suggestion, but will the Skywalker of the title turn out to be Luke's sister Leia? After all, she is one of the two surviving members of that family now left alive, and maybe it is her wisdom and strength that will best shape Rey's destiny. It would certainly be an emotional way of championing Fisher's presence throughout the series, forever cementing her as a Star Wars icon.

Carrie Fisher as Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

6. It pertains to Kylo Ren

Technically, the evil leader of The First Order is a Solo, being the son of the deceased Han Solo (Harrison Ford). But of course, his mother is Leia and his uncle is Luke Skywalker – we discovered the exact circumstances of the Kylo/Luke betrayal in The Last Jedi.

Is the title of this new movie therefore describing Ren's ruthless ascent to power? In the trailer we see him mending the signature helmet that he destroyed in The Last Jedi, so it seems he's more serious than ever about galactic domination.

Kylo Ren's helmet in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer

What fan theories do you think will come true in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? The movie is released on 19th December so let us know @Cineworld.