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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams discuss the 'provocative' title of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

By Brian Silliman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Rey looking at wreckage)

You're probably already aware of this, but the latest Star Wars movie recently got an official title as well as a teaser trailer. Fans everywhere wasted no time in attempting to decode the new images seen in the teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but people are also trying to wrap their heads around the title itself. What does it mean? What are the rules? Which Skywalker is being referred to? Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams both recently discussed the nature of the title. 

"The Rise of Skywalker, it doesn't answer anything ... it's provocative, it asks questions, and it could mean a lot of different things," said Kennedy an interview with Yahoo. "And I think that that's what was important to us, we didn't want to have a title that felt like it was telling you the story."

Still, she maintains that the title needed to feel "emotional, which is a challenge," and that the word Skywalker captures "all 40 years of what's gone before." 

Over at The Playlist, J.J. Abrams somewhat echoed these statements. “The title feels like it’s the right title for this movie, and I know that it’s provocative and asks a bunch of questions,” he said. He also added that when fans see the movie itself, they will definitely know what it means. We would hope so! 

Abrams went on to talk about how this particular film had "a very weird responsibility," as it was "to be the end of not just three movies, but nine movies, and the idea of having to incorporate the stories that have come before strangely is the story of the movie." The new film's characters are "inheriting" everything that has come before (something made very clear in the teaser), and Abrams said, "...the question is, are they up to the task, can they stand up to what they have to?" 

The same can be said of the work before Abrams and Kennedy themselves, as they have also inherited the entirety of the Star Wars saga. "I feel like we, coming into this movie, have inherited a lot... and the question is can we do it? And that question we ask ourselves every day," he said. 

If their goal was to excite people and spark a million debates and theories with this title, then mission accomplished. People were theorizing about who the titular "Last Jedi" was right up until it was flat-out confirmed in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We can most likely expect the same here, whether it's people still thinking that Rey's a stealth Skywalker, Ben Solo's redemption is being confirmed, or "Skywalker" is possibly becoming the new name for people who can tap into the force. 

After Luke's legendary exploits spread throughout the galaxy in The Last Jedi, it would make sense for that particular name to "rise." Then again, there was Palpatine's laugh at the end of the teaser... what if Rey, Luke, Klaatu, Boss Nass, and Qui-Gon Jinn's ghost all had a secret method of... whoops, there we go theorizing again. It's just so easy to do with a title like this. 

Expect to find out the true meaning behind the title Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker when the film is released Dec. 20.