Welcome to Debate Club, where Tim Grierson and Will Leitch, the hosts of the Grierson & Leitch podcast, tackle the greatest arguments in pop culture.
We are just three months away from the final entry of the third Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which not only has to reveal what happens after Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi but also bring this entire story to a close. What J.J. Abrams began, J.J. Abrams will finish.
That's a big task, and it has fans and observers aflame with theories as to how this is all going to end. Thus, today at Debate Club, we rank the five best theories about The Rise of Skywalker. Who knows if any of these are actually correct, but let us, for a moment, pretend they will be.
Rey is a clone.
This one makes some sort of mad sense, no? Why do Luke and Rey seem to have this strange bond that neither can quite explain? Why is she connected to the Skywalker name and the Jedi ethos without any apparent familial bond?
Well, the theory claims that the Emperor took DNA from Luke's severed hand — wherever that ended up — and made several clones. Many of them are evil, but Rey was rescued and hidden by the Resistance. This... would explain a lot.
Mace Windu will be in the movie.
Hold up: Didn't the Jedi played by Samuel L. Jackson die in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith? Sure seemed like it, but if Emperor Palpatine is putting in an appearance in The Rise of Skywalker, it really opens up the door for any presumed-dead character who fell from a great height to be in consideration for the new movie.
The prequels remain unloved, but Jackson was among its highlights, and the actor (as well as George Lucas) has always insisted that Mace Windu was still alive. If so... where's he been?
The guy doesn't show up in the original trilogy, obviously, and thus far he's been MIA in this new trilogy. Also: He's probably a pretty old guy by this point, although Yoda lived for centuries, so maybe Mace can, too. If Jackson does make a cameo in The Rise of Skywalker, it would be a nice way to acknowledge the prequels.
Which brings us to our next theory...
Hayden Christensen shows up as Anakin.
This one is primarily coming from fan conventions, where Christensen and Ian McDiarmid were supposed to show up on a panel together but abruptly canceled at the last minute.
Is he a ghost waving goodbye, like at the end of Return of the Jedi? Maybe he's playing Stephen Glass!
The 'Skywalker' of the title refers to... oh man, there are so many possibilities.
When the title for Return of the Jedi was initially unveiled, it was... Revenge of the Jedi, but either way, it was pretty obvious that George Lucas was referring to Luke Skywalker. But with the new movie... well, which Skywalker is it?
Websites have spent the past several months trying to solve that mystery. Maybe the 'Skywalker' is Luke. (After all, Mark Hamill confirmed he’ll be in Episode IX.) Or maybe it turns out Rey actually is related to Luke after all? Or perhaps it's more of a theoretical idea: Rey represents the rise of a new generation of Jedi, following in the footsteps of Luke?
Our favorite crazy theory, though, is that 'Skywalker' will become a term for a specific kind of Jedi — the ones trained by Luke, which would mean Rey and Kylo Ren. All we know for sure is that somebody's definitely rising.
At long last, balance will be brought to the Force... and we know this because the movie's logo is in purple.
When you're staring at a poster's color scheme for clues, that's pretty hardcore.
Consider: When Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker battled Darth Vader in, respectively, Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, they used blue lightsabers, while their foe rocked a red saber. Kylo Ren has a red lightsaber. Darth Maul had a red lightsaber. Rey had a blue lightsaber. Basically, good guys are blue, bad guys are red. If you combined those two colors, what would you get? Purple, which is the primary color scheme for the Rise of Skywalker marketing materials. That's gotta be a clue, right?
The Star Wars saga has been about a lot of things, but a constant goal has been a desire to bring balance to the Force. (Remember Kenobi's angry lament to Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith that he was supposed to "bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!") If these characters can't do it after the ninth and final installment of this franchise, it's probably never going to happen. Perhaps at long last, there will be Star Peace.