News

10 Questions Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Must Answer

From the fate of Carrie Fisher's Leia to the truth behind Supreme Leader Snoke, Rey's origins, and – ugh – midichlorians, here's what we want to know.

by | December 12, 2019 | Comments

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker touted as the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, it has more to do than typical trilogy-wrapping films like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Matrix Revolutions, or, indeed, Return of the Jedi. It is designed to be the culmination of a nine-part saga told across 40+ years and has a lot to accomplish in less than 180 minutes. Even LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien would sweat at this writing prompt.

Nonetheless, there are questions the film definitely needs to answer, even if only in a glib way, before the curtain falls on the Skywalkers and their role in galactic affairs. The following are the 10 questions we think the The Rise of Skywalker must answer.


Who Are Rey’s Parents?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

We’ll be honest, we really like the idea that Rey (Daisy Ridley) comes from nowhere. The Star Wars galaxy gets a little too small sometimes and you need an outlier to shake things up. That was the solution seemingly given to us by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it is perfectly satisfactory. Unless, of course, you consider the way Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams set up the issue of her parents in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It requires some sort of resolution, even if it’s just an independent confirmation that her parents were, in fact, dirt farmers who sold her to Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg) for beer money.


Did Palpatine Will Anakin Into Existence?

TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection)

In one of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith’s best scenes, Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) suggests to the audience that he learned a way to force the midichlorians to create life. By implication, he is Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) father. Well, from a certain point of view, anyway. Was he really that skilled in Sith powers? Or was it all a happy accident he used to his advantage? Considering Anakin was central to his scheme, greater clarity about his birth may be in the offing. Granted, answering this question means confronting the existence of midichlorians, something a lot of Star Wars fans would rather avoid.


Who are Finn’s Kin?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Perhaps more interesting than Rey’s parents is the lost heritage of former First Order stormtrooper FN-2187 (John Boyega), A.K.A. Finn. Press-ganged into service as a child, there is a lot of unacknowledged terror in Finn’s past, but there’s also a lost world he might call home and a family he has never known. Considering The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi saw him running from things, maybe The Rise of Skywalker will offer him the chance to run toward something – the kin the First Order stole from him. And like our preferred answer for Rey’s ancestry, we’d like Finn to derive from a world and bloodline heretofore unseen.


Was This Palpatine’s Plan All Along?

As Emperor, Palpatine reached his zenith with the completion of the first Death Star, even if that apex of power was short lived. But even into his arrival in the Endor system during Return of the Jedi, he believed everything was proceeding as he had foreseen. We’re disinclined to believe his powers of prognostication were that absolute. For one thing: would he really allow himself to appear defeated for 30 years and allow a New Republic to establish itself? One imagines he will have the chance to explain his long absence in The Rise of Skywalker, and the true shape of his plan is something he might finally reveal.


Will Leia Survive?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Because of Carrie Fisher’s untimely death in 2016, this question is more of a minefield than it would otherwise be. Had she lived, Episode IX was to be her movie, much the same way The Force Awakens was Han’s (Harrison Ford) film and The Last Jedi was about Luke (Mark Hamill). And in that paradigm, we would expect her to sacrifice herself for the good of the next generation like her brother and her child’s father. But now, it’s all different. There are pros and cons to both killing Leia off and letting her survive into the last iris-out. Hopefully, it will be satisfying either way.


Can The Republic Ever Be Restored?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

This is one of the bigger-level questions Star Wars movies may not be equipped to answer. The sequels showed us a Republic so corrupt that Palpatine could use a meaningless trade dispute to slip into power. The sequel trilogy has revealed a New Republic so tolerant of wannabe Imperials that it led to the Republic’s destruction. Both were wiped away by more aggressive forces. Can the Resistance prove to be better at restoring government than the Rebel Alliance? This may be a question for tie-in novels after the film’s release, but it has to give us some inkling Poe (Oscar Isaac), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), and the others can do better.


What The Poodoo Was The Real Prophecy?

TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection)

In our recent rewatch of the prequels, we were struck by how ill-defined the prophecy really is. When it is confronted directly, we’re only told a chosen one will emerge to bring balance to the Force — but the actual wording of this prophecy is nowhere to be found in the films. Now, there is something poetic about the Jedi failing to see it as a warning, but it is never framed as such in Episodes I-III. Was it a textual hand grenade left in the Jedi library by an older Sith Lord, or was it something Palpatine himself planted? He was fond of using the truth as a weapon and skilled at obscuring his presence from the Jedi.


Who Was Snoke?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

The two halves of his corpse may still be rotting aboard his broken and abandoned Star Destroyer, but Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) identity finally matters now that Palpatine is back in the picture. Was he the last surviving Inquisitor? A cover identity for the disembodied Palpatine? Or just a hapless Force-sensitive seduced by the Dark Side? Like some of the other questions we need answered, this one just needs a brief word from Darth Sidious about his role in the formation of the First Order, but even in that brevity, he needs to slot into place.


Are The Jedi Worth Saving?

Walt Disney Studios
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

This is another philosophical question the movie may not have the bandwidth to address, but considering the scenes of Rey training in the Jedi arts featured in trailers and commercials, we have to ask if the Jedi are worth saving. True, The Last Jedi ultimately makes a case for their restoration, but it was the rigidity of their philosophy that led the galaxy to Sith rule. Players of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games will recognize this question, as it lurks at the heart of its narrative, but it also seems to matter here, as Rey holds the future of Force-wielding in the Galaxy. Like the others in the Resistance, can she do better?

Outside of the film, there are big financial reasons for the Jedi to be restored past the Skywalker Saga — at least a few people have not made their own saber at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — but the soul of the order is as important to the overall saga as Anakin’s soul. And for that reason, Rey must make a definitive choice.


When Will We See Episode X?

TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved courtesy Everett Collection)

Long, long ago, Star Wars creator George Lucas let slip an initial plan for the series to be 12 parts. At the time, it was envisioned as more of a James Bond-style serial with fewer overarching plots. When the ongoing plot became important, he revised this number to nine (and then to six during the prequel era). We fully expect this original plan to be Lucasfilm’s excuse when Episodes X-XII inevitably happen.  But how long will we have to wait? It’s a question The Rise of Skywalker can actually answer if it gives the audiences an authentic and complete ending.

And the chances of that happening are about as good as Palpatine meeting his true, final fate.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 20.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

venice what to watch christmas movies DC Comics south america hispanic mutant The Purge streaming Showtime miniseries FX Election psychological thriller critics halloween tv Character Guide Mudbound Crackle The Walking Dead Martial Arts hist PBS YA Cartoon Network science fiction french TCA Winter 2020 cancelled talk show parents Grammys Nickelodeon based on movie medical drama child's play television See It Skip It Cosplay Box Office Horror Awards Tour spy thriller Lifetime theme song chucky Tumblr blaxploitation GLAAD SDCC Columbia Pictures BBC America versus Super Bowl spanish obituary historical drama Star Trek emmy awards Disney Channel reboot Biopics CNN Animation golden globes Sundance TV Netflix Fall TV joker Tarantino Shudder toy story TNT Trailer spain renewed TV shows OneApp Netflix Christmas movies worst movies screenings A24 justice league crossover asian-american LGBTQ comics films canceled spanish language Pet Sematary YouTube Premium Arrowverse The CW Premiere Dates 2015 boxoffice Music spinoff werewolf Comedy Central zombies Stephen King news nbcuniversal true crime rotten movies we love BET Bravo Warner Bros. FOX Trophy Talk Hear Us Out Extras superhero documentary discovery game show romance casting Walt Disney Pictures Thanksgiving Mary poppins stoner Anna Paquin Disney streaming service GIFs Watching Series toronto SundanceTV Calendar Spring TV Trivia ITV Ellie Kemper football fast and furious HBO 2019 Lucasfilm thriller teaser Marathons ghosts Opinion Marvel Studios Action BAFTA Sci-Fi 45 NBC harry potter technology composers finale MCU movies remakes tv talk nature satire Women's History Month Song of Ice and Fire FX on Hulu Discovery Channel CBS All Access zombie dramedy Set visit Rocky Spike Peacock Avengers Acorn TV IFC slashers Esquire Disney History DC Universe Emmys transformers TCA 2017 cartoon Best and Worst National Geographic ABC Family space twilight police drama New York Comic Con WarnerMedia screen actors guild Lionsgate Creative Arts Emmys universal monsters RT21 Tomatazos Universal GoT halloween robots FXX Christmas Winter TV IFC Films dc Certified Fresh PlayStation Rock Britbox romantic comedy die hard elevated horror Academy Awards Comedy DirecTV scorecard supernatural Amazon Prime Video franchise best El Rey CBS anthology facebook Shondaland MSNBC game of thrones 2018 witnail quibi comiccon directors Black History Month green book doctor who criterion Hallmark Oscars LGBT dogs Rocketman Disney+ Disney Plus TV Land independent Summer Fox Searchlight NYCC animated Hallmark Christmas movies social media First Reviews HBO Max Tubi canceled TV shows scary movies Sundance Now Film Festival Vudu adventure Heroines binge USA strong female leads Photos anime Holidays Freeform cancelled television cooking Chernobyl 20th Century Fox docudrama Apple TV+ breaking bad First Look Comic Book BET Awards ratings japanese batman Syfy Countdown sequels WGN video on demand VOD cults 2017 President nfl CMT Paramount Reality Competition cats Video Games AMC sequel Epix Food Network adaptation blockbuster jamie lee curtis Family 007 Amazon Studios revenge BBC cars YouTube Red Starz Spectrum Originals Emmy Nominations Chilling Adventures of Sabrina APB Turner spider-man reviews ABC period drama Funimation Quiz RT History movie Musicals worst Black Mirror Schedule foreign CW Seed Film OWN series biography American Society of Cinematographers 21st Century Fox VICE crime drama book TV cops Toys TCA Awards ESPN Marvel Logo Writers Guild of America Pop Adult Swim comic 2020 Mindy Kaling 72 Emmy Awards Television Critics Association Sundance Nominations Comics on TV award winner SXSW VH1 4/20 Masterpiece latino Western kids TIFF MTV Pride Month dragons Mary Poppins Returns TruTV Superheroes Teen Classic Film children's TV all-time unscripted serial killer richard e. Grant The Arrangement Travel Channel Pop TV Amazon politics mission: impossible classics Amazon Prime Sneak Peek 71st Emmy Awards San Diego Comic-Con Holiday Red Carpet Endgame The Witch video TCA Winners Musical festival Apple TV Plus BBC One hollywood dark zero dark thirty sag awards E! Brie Larson archives dceu festivals documentaries Awards Baby Yoda sports sitcom mockumentary 2016 name the review Interview indie Pirates war Cannes DGA YouTube italian singing competition indiana jones free movies Paramount Network Rom-Com TV renewals Fox News Ghostbusters australia stand-up comedy Year in Review Crunchyroll Star Wars A&E TCM Nat Geo Infographic cancelled TV series stop motion political drama Country psycho Pixar E3 Elton John PaleyFest Podcast Binge Guide crime thriller vampires Kids & Family Drama HBO Go Disney Plus Mary Tyler Moore travel diversity disaster Television Academy TBS aliens Captain marvel Hulu Sony Pictures Marvel Television Turner Classic Movies Valentine's Day Superheroe natural history Apple DC streaming service 24 frames The Academy cancelled TV shows comedies Dark Horse Comics X-Men rotten concert crime Ovation Mystery USA Network laika Polls and Games TLC a nightmare on elm street Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Reality Lifetime Christmas movies cinemax Fantasy