In comparison with other franchises, Star Wars fans have always been spoiled for material that allowed them to theorize about the fate of their favorite characters. Whether it was the wild theorizing that took place between the premiere of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, or the excitement after The Force Awakens came out and J.J. Abrams walked away with his mystery box full of questions, leaving the audience high and dry. Because George Lucas drew on the mythical structure of Campbell's The Hero’s Journey to compose Luke Skywalker’s initial adventure, and also because Star Wars is not very subtle in its iconography, references, and foreshadowing, it seemed very easy to predict where the script would take the heroes in the next installment.
Even the prequel trilogy is structured like a Greek three-act tragedy, which makes it very tempting for fans to pick up a thread of influence to weave a theory that might fit in the Star Wars universe. However, many of these threads lead to a dead-end in the Star Wars labyrinth. Let’s explore some that were proved wrong in the movies, and the reasons why they gained a lot of traction in the collective mind.
The Darth Jar-Jar theory stipulates that the mastermind behind the debacle of the Republic was Jar-Jar Binks. This is supported by his perfect timing to be where he needed to be to draw the Jedi further into the Naboo conflict, his meteoric rise as a Senator in The Attack of the Clones, and his uncanny self-defense abilities. Although Lucasfilm confirmed that Jar-Jar was a character designed to appeal to small children, this didn’t stop his detractors from trying to attribute much darker motives to his arc.
The roots of this particular theory are part of the murder mystery tropes, where the assassin is usually the character that seemed irrelevant to the plot up to the very last minute.
It plays on the classic mystery novel trope of the silly/superfluous one being the actual assassin, and another fantasy franchise where you can see this trope at play is Harry Potter, where the silly Quirrell, the blushing Ginny, and Ron’s pet rat end up being behind the machinations of books one, two and three.
Rey's parents are important people
Despite the fact that so far everyone in the sequels has confirmed that Rey’s parents were nobodies and that the plot twist of The Last Jedi was that she had known this all along, there’s still a large part of the fandom that insists that she must descend from an illustrious Galactic bloodline, whether it is Skywalker, Kenobi, Solo, Naberrie or even Palpatine.
Although the heart of the story works much better if Rey’s goodness stems from herself despite her hardships, and not from an external factor such as her family, fans that are stuck in this “heir of” idea are basing their insistence on millennia of stories where a beggar turns out to be the rightful king, and a concept that is hammered into the fabric of the saga: Luke turns out to be not a simple farmer, but the son of Darth Vader and Queen Amidala, and Anakin himself is revealed to be a Force miracle baby, not just a lowly slave born of slaves.
Other works that include this trope are Discworld, where the orphan guard Carrot is the rightful heir to the city of Ankh-Morpork, The Da Vinci Code, where Sophie Neveu turns out to be much more important than the audience thought, Tangled, and Anastasia. One of the first occurrences of this is the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, where Oedipus, an orphan that doesn’t know he’s the crown prince of Thebes, ends up killing his father, becoming the king and marrying his mother, and which is a clear undercurrent of the entire saga.
Kylo Ren And Rey are brother and sister/twins/ cousins
An off-shoot of the theory above, there are still fans insisting that Rey and Kylo Ren must be related, despite the evidence that they are not and the romantic enemies-to-lovers subtext of their interactions so far. The reasoning behind this theory is that Rey couldn’t possibly be as powerful in the Force as Kylo Ren unless they shared the same blood.
So, the seeds of the theory in-universe are Leia and Luke’s interactions in A New Hope and that infamous kiss in The Empire Strikes Back. George Lucas said that until The Empire Strikes Back, Luke and Leia were going to be each other’s romantic interest. In Legends, Han Solo and Leia went on to have twin children, Jacen and Jaina, which were strong in the Force.
Force users in Star Wars occupy a place between gods and royalty, with immense powers that normal sentients could only dream about. And, in most of the myths featuring divine couples, there is marriage between siblings: every god in the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pantheon is related to each other; Hera is Zeus’ older sister, the Egyptian Pharaohs married their sisters in order to keep the divine bloodline pure, and even nowadays most of the European royalty descends from a handful of noble lines. In fiction, this concept was subverted in Game of Thrones (the Lannisters and the Targaryens.)
In any case, pure logistics (Rey is 10 years younger than Kylo Ren) and theme (her arc is more powerful if she’s not related to the Skywalkers at all) play against this particular narrative echo.
Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron are brothers
Another “everyone must be related” outlier. Another fan theory suggests both Kylo and Poe are closely linked with Leia. Both of them are excellent pilots like Han, both make disastrous spur-of-the-moment tactical errors and they even look similar, with dark wavy hair, brown eyes, and prominent noses. When they interact in The Force Awakens, they're like two brothers fighting for the same “toy,” BB-8, and playing the same scavenger hunt to find Luke Skywalker. Poe wins in that movie, but Kylo retaliates by blowing up his X-Wings in The Last Jedi. It also doesn't hurt that Leia even acts a little bit like a mother to Poe.
So, although Poe Dameron is definitely not related to Kylo Ren -- his parents were Shara Bey and Kes Dameron -- the theory itself has illustrious mythical precedents: Castor and Pollux, the twin son of Leda (which even sounds like “Leia”) from different fathers. Castor was the son of a mortal king, while Pollux was the son of Zeus and a demi-god in his own right. They were the patrons of sailors (Poe, with his X-Wing ship) and horse riders (Kylo, who is a Knight of Ren, and knights usually have horses.) Castor and Pollux are not the only pair of mortal/immortal male twins in ancient myths; they are only one of the more notorious.
Han Solo had planned for Kylo Ren to kill him
That doesn't sound like Han, who believes until the end that he can talk his way out of anything and is as surprised as Rey, Finn, and even Kylo to find himself impaled by the latter. But the fact is that for all intents and purposes, the result is the same as that of a Messianic sacrifice, and it is the act that breaks Kylo Ren’s freefall into the Dark Side. Not only because, in Snoke’s words, “his spirit is split to the bone;” but because it allowed Rey to unlock her untapped rage, first against him in The Force Awakens, and then against Snoke himself.
The sacrifice of a father, or king, so that his son can ascend has more than a handful of mythical precedents -- Oedipus being a perfect example. There’s also Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld and the fertile lands, who died at the hands of the red god Seth, eventually allowing his son Horus (the young falcon) to rise. Sir Frazer, in his book The Golden Bough, explores ancient myths and cults where the sacrifice of an annual king was an essential part of the rites of the seasons, and it is actually creepy to see how well this reigning-through-summer-and-spring and dying at the eve of winter fits Han Solo’s arc in The Force Awakens.
Luke was a Force Ghost all along in The Last Jedi.
No, he was not, or he wouldn’t have felt the need to milk the Thala Sirens, and he wouldn’t have been so surprised to see Yoda’s ghost in Ahch-To, and, most importantly, he wouldn’t have died again at the end of the movie.
But if you put this idea through a metaphorical filter, Luke is not ONLY dead inside, but he has tried to kill his connection to the Force and is letting the universe pass him by, just like a ghost.
Snoke was Palpatine all along
Well, no – Snoke was Snoke, and in the novelization of The Last Jedi, he even laughs at the idea of wanting to be like Palpatine. However, fans that argue that Snoke was possessed by Palpatine might have picked up on the many subliminal clues that indicate Palpatine’s insidious influence, from the red throne room, that looks like his office in the Senate, to the Emperor’s theme playing in the background as Snoke tortures Rey. Not to mention that golden ring that Snoke wears and that contains inscriptions from one of Palpatine’s prized sculptures.
Snoke was more likely an unwitting Palpatine puppet, placeholding for him until he got his groove back in The Rise of Skywalker.
So, if you have a Star Wars theory that is also based on a myth, how can you know if it might happen in The Rise of Skywalker? A good rule of thumb now that Disney has taken over the franchise is that if your idea can be developed into a happy ending, and it includes values that Disney is known to back up -- empathy, love, bravery, redemption, freedom, and fraternity -- then there's a good chance that you are on the right track.