For 41 years fans have been engrossed in the saga of the Skywalker family, their friends and the fight against the evil Empire. Now, with the December 2019 release of Star Wars: Episode IX that story is set to come to an end. Lucasfilm recently put out a press release confirming that the cast would include familiar faces from the previous two episodes, as well as Star Wars favorites Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and will also feature unreleased footage from The Force Awakens of Carrie Fisher. J.J. Abrams has a huge task ahead of him as he must answer all the remaining questions, pay tribute to one movies greatest heroines and wrap up the most popular franchise in entertainment. No pressure.
When we left off in The Last Jedi, our heroes had suffered a crushing blow to the Resistance, but were still hopeful that there was a spark of hope left in the galaxy. In perhaps the most surprising moment of the movie, Luke Skywalker became one with the Force and apparently passed. Though, as he informed his sister Leia, “no one is ever really gone.” On the other side, Kylo Ren had taken over as Supreme Leader, much to the chagrin of General Hux. We are left wondering if the Resistance will be able to find enough support in the galaxy to overthrow the First Order, and of course, how will it all end? As usual, fans have no shortage of theories about how everything wraps up. So, as the film begins production let’s examine some of the craziest fan theories for Star Wars: Episode IX.
19 HAN SOLO RETURNS
Star Wars fans everywhere were devastated when Kylo Ren ended his father Han Solo in The Force Awakens. However, there are some, including director/podcaster Kevin Smith, who think Han may not be gone after all.
These fans posit that since Starkiller Base was running on a form of dark matter, when he fell into the depths of the base, he was actually transported through time. While anything is possible in the Star Wars universe, this seems too far fetched even by Star Wars standards. Also there’s that pesky lightsaber-sized hole to worry about. That’s one wound time can’t heal.
18 LUKE CONTINUES TO TRAIN REY
In The Last Jedi, Rey barely started training with Luke before she left to rejoin her friends in the fight. She did take a souvenir in the form of the original Jedi texts, so she’s clearly still committed to learning the ways of the Jedi.
With the announcement that Mark Hamill will be returning for Episode IX, we can guess that he may visit Rey just as he was visited by Obi-Wan and Yoda. His face off with Kylo Ren shows that he once again understands what’s at stake. Though we have no idea what Luke’s involvement in the story will be, we think this idea is a safe bet and not so crazy.
17 REY AND KYLO REN'S FINAL BATTLE
In The Force Awakens there was no question Rey and Kylo Ren were enemies. He took her, then chased her and Finn down, injuring him in the process. They had an epic lightsaber battle, where she kicked his butt and would have ended him if the base wasn’t destroyed.
The Last Jedi saw them reach a tense truce as Rey sought understanding. Ren even saved her from Snoke and his guards, though ultimately she chose the Resistance and severed their connection. The evolution of their relationship means that Episode IX must end with them doing battle for the fate of the galaxy and perhaps Ren’s soul. Again this seems more likely than not, though nothing is guaranteed in Star Wars.
16 LEIA PASSES THE TORCH
Once fans worked through their grief over the passing of Carrie Fisher, they began to wonder what it would mean for Leia’s future in the franchise. Most obvious guesses thought producers would give the character a heroic exit in The Last Jedi, but by the end of the movie she was still leading the Resistance.
The announcement that Fisher would be included in Episode IX using unreleased footage from The Force Awakens, has fans wondering what role the general will play in the closing of the Skywalker Saga. A common assumption is that these scenes will be edited to feature Leia urging Poe to step up and take control of the Resistance. A natural choice considering their relationship in The Last Jedi.
15 A NEW RESISTANCE LEADER
Though Mark Hamill is set to return for Episode IX, likely as a Force Ghost, the Resistance will be lacking in senior leadership. Thankfully, the coolest man in the galaxy, Lando Calrissian will finally join the new trilogy. An appearance fans have been begging for since The Force Awakens.
Donald Glover’s performance as the young Lando in Solo has brought a renewed interest in the character and many are wondering what the smuggler/gambler/thief has been up to since the Empire fell. It would be completely logical for Lando to show up and help once he finds out about his old friend’s passing.
14 A SPARK OF HOPE
Before the title of The Last Jedi was announced, there was nonstop speculation about what it would be. Once everyone found out the title, they did what the internet does best and began the conspiracy theories.
The Last Jedi is featured as the last words in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. With this in mind, it didn’t take long for some fans to guess that Episode IX would be titled A Spark of Hope. With the number of times hope is called the spark that will save the Resistance, this makes sense. However, there’s no way J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy will give everyone the title they’re expecting.
13 TIME JUMP
The Last Jedi picked up right where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey meeting Luke on Ahch-To. Then all Hell broke loose and the Resistance suffered major losses, while Kylo Ren dropped Snoke and assumed control of the First Order.
Considering how much went down in The Last Jedi and the state of the Resistance at the end of the movie, it would make sense to see a time jump of some sort. Theories vary on the amount of time that passes, with it being somewhere from five to 15 years. While this seems completely possible, we can’t be sure how much time will go by when we rejoin the action.
12 A NEW JEDI MASTER
By the end of The Force Awakens, Rey knows that she has special abilities she just doesn’t understand their origin or why she has them. She spends most of The Last Jedi trying to figure out her relationship to the Force and her weird connection to Ren.
Once she makes up her mind to choose her own path, she doesn’t completely give up on the Jedi, as she steals the sacred texts before leaving. With her new confidence and the knowledge that there are more force sensitive people out there, it would make sense if she sought them out to join the Resistance. This would make her the most senior Jedi and Rey would be the new Jedi Master.
From the moment he met Rey in The Force Awakens, Finn has been infatuated with her. He was actually headed out to save her when he met Rose. It was a fun turn of events when she was obsessed with him the same way he was with Rey.
Their adventure to Canto Bight and on Snoke’s ship brought them closer together, and she even ends up saving his life. She teaches him the real importance of hope, and surviving to fight another day. When last we saw them on the Millennium Falcon, he was taking care of her in a way that seemed more than just friendly. If we learned anything from The Empire Strikes Back, it’s that rebellions can sometimes be very romantic.
10 CAPTAIN PHASMA RETURNS
Everything we’ve learned about Captain Phasma in movies, solo comic series and her origin novel has told us she’s a survivor. So we have to wonder if she would let a little thing like falling into the burning hole of Snoke’s ship would actually end her. And we definitely know that Hux will need his most trusted ally as he tries to overthrow Ren, because we all know that’s his goal.
Actress Gwendoline Christie is presumably still filming the final season of Game of Thrones, so her schedule may be tied up at the moment. Her name was also not included in the press release of cast members. Of course, that means nothing, as Star Wars has been known to surprise audiences.
9 KYLO REN'S SACRIFICE
One of the great parts about the prequels is that it did provide insight into how a Jedi of Anakin Skywalker’s caliber could turn to the Dark Side. It also made his turn back at the end of Return of the Jedi make more sense.
If Kylo Ren is truly a follower of his grandfather’s then it would fit the balance of the Force theme if he realized the error of his choices and once again became Ben Solo and saved the galaxy from the First Order. The main problem with this theory is that everything he did in The Last Jedi tells us that he has given himself over fully to the darkness and has no regrets.
We know Rey is aware of Finn’s crush on her -- there’s no way she can’t be. However, she’s clearly not interested in him that way. Meeting Rose has seemed to finally break Finn of his obsession with her and they can just be friends now.
The end of The Last Jedi saw Rey and Poe finally meet and have a moment that left audiences wondering what if. They are both hot shot pilots and adventurers who are devoted to the cause. If producers wanted to pick a couple to carry on the Han/Leia torch they would be the likely choice. Though, as we mentioned, they did just meet.
7 THE RISE OF HUX
In the novel of Captain Phasma’s origin story, we learned about how she and General Hux met, and the lengths he would go to to feed his ambition. One of The Last Jedi’s most interesting moments is when Hux walks in, finds the chaos in Snoke’s chambers and has a quick minute where he’s about to end Ren.
Hux is a true believer in the First Order, who is obviously already planning his coup. If this happens he will prove to be a more unpredictable, dangerous threat than Snoke. The only hesitation comes as Hux has not been portrayed on-screen as the sharpest knife in the drawer. Or is he just playing a role until the right time comes along?
6 THE KNIGHTS OF REN
In The Force Awakens we got a glimpse of the Knights of Ren. They are fellow students of Luke’s who followed Ren’s rebellion and in The Last Jedi, Snoke called Ren commander of the Knights of Ren. Ever since, we’ve wondered who they are, why they did it, and what they’ve been up to.
As big a role as they played in shaping the story, it seems odd that they haven’t been seen since. We have to imagine J.J. Abrams will not leave a thread that loose hanging. Though he has been known to leave viewers with plenty of unanswered questions.
5 ANAKIN RETURNS
Kylo Ren’s role model through all of this has been his grandfather Darth VadeR -- perhaps not the best person to mimic your life choices after. Now that Snoke is gone and he has full control of the First Order, it might seem like he’s too far gone, but maybe it’s just that only one person can bring him back.
Some fans have suggested that Hayden Christensen could appear as a Force Ghost version of Anakin to try and talk some sense into Ren. Given that the actor has seemingly distanced himself from the franchise, this feels like a longshot, but when it comes to Star Wars never say never.
4 KERI RUSSELL'S ROLE
The announcement that The Americans star Keri Russell was joining Episode IX had fan speculation instantly going into overdrive. Rumors have her playing everyone from Mara Jade Skywalker to one of the Knights of Ren to Captain Phasma’s replacement. The only information we have to go on is that the character required someone who could do “action and heavy fight scenes.”
The prevailing theory is that she will play Rey’s mother. Though Ren revealed that Rey’s parents were actually nobodies, no one really believes him, as he’s not the most credible source. While this is absolutely possible, we don’t think J.J. Abrams would take the obvious road.
3 ADMIRAL THRAWN
Richard E. Grant (Logan) is set to join Episode IX in an undisclosed role, but many fans think there’s no question who he’s playing. Various fan sites are almost unanimous in their guess that he will be the live action version of Admiral Thrawn.
The character was a part of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, so if true, this would be the films’ first major crossover with the animated side of things. He was last seen with Ezra in his severely damaged ship. Rebels EP Dave Filoni says they survived, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Thrawn now working for the First Order. With makeup and effects Grant could easily look like the character, but to us it just all seems too easy.
2 SNOKE ISN’T REALLY GONE
We’ve long heard stories of a legendary Sith lord who had the power to stop his own passing. Since we don’t know anything about Snoke or his origins, it’s plausible that he could be this Sith lord. Though we have to wonder if anyone has the power to come back from being cut in half by a lightsaber.
Snoke is an enigma, who has clearly been planning whatever he has in store for Ren for some time. He also manipulated the connection that brought he and Rey together. We don’t doubt Snoke’s powers or abilities, but once again he was cut in half by a lightsaber. No one is surviving that.
1 A FIRST ORDER VICTORY
One of the weirdest theories circulating fan sites is the idea that when all is said and done the First Order will actually win and the Resistance will fail. Come on, everything we know about Star Wars tells us that there’s no way they would end the Skywalker Saga this way.
Star Wars trilogies tend to follow a certain pattern. First time out, the good guys defy the odds and beat the bad guys. In the second movie, the bad guys win, but the good guys still have hope left. The third film ends with a big showdown where the good guys beat all the odds and finally triumph. The new movies have followed the pattern, so we assume Episode IX will do the same.