This December, a saga comes to a close with Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. The film's release does not simply mark the end of a trilogy, but will wrap up a series of nine films spanning more than forty years. Two trilogies have concluded before, but this one promises to end the story fans have been following for decades. Star Wars will undoubtedly continue after, but not in the same way audiences have come to expect.
Before speculating on the series' future after the trilogy's closing, lets think about the upcoming title. What could possibly transpire in this hotly anticipated movie? As of now, only the filmmakers and actors know, leaving fans with mere breadcrumbs to stimulate their imaginations. With confirmed facts being sparse, one can bet their bottom dollar that the rumor mill is functioning at full force. The next twenty entries will examine some of these theories, dictating whether or not they would be beneficial to the movie. Some of the speculation is outlandish, while others are more believable. Regardless of which ones turn out to be true, talking about The Rise of Skywalker's endless possibilities is an excellent way to pass the time until December.
So practice your Kessel Run, because here are 14 Star Wars Episode 9 Fan Theories That Could Be True (And 6 We Hope Aren't).
20 Could Be True: Matt Smith Is In It
A Variety article seemed to have confirmed Matt Smith's participation in the movie, but then the story got weird. Months afterwards, the actor, most famous for portraying the eleventh doctor on Doctor Who, firmly denied being involved in any way. Was Variety mistaken in their initial article, or did he deny it to avoid further questioning and change the subject due to confidentiality requirements? The talented actor is no stranger to long running science fiction series, so he wouldn't feel out of place in the Star Wars universe. Here's hoping he trades his sonic screwdriver and phone booth for a lightsaber and force powers.
19 Could Be True: Luke Skywalker As A Force Ghost
The farmer turned Jedi master said it himself, "no one's ever really gone." The series is used to members of the sacred order returning as apparitions in order to guide the living on their quests and training. It only feels appropriate that Luke should return in this film as a force ghost. Their is a chance that his part in the film is entirely flashbacks, but we sincerely hope that is not the case. Not everyone was happy with his part in The Last Jedi, so seeing his arc end here would probably satisfy some of that crowd as well.
18 Could Be True: Benicio Del Toro's Return
Del Toro is always a welcome addition to a cast. By the end of The Last Jedi, DJ has cleared the scene after betraying Finn and Rose. It's impossible to know for sure what he will do now that he has successfully broken out of prison and made an enemy of the resistance. Will he find a way to redeem himself, or will he dig an even deeper hole of mistrust and knavery? Whatever transpires, we want it to be shown on screen, with Benicio Del Toro back in the shoes of the sneaky con man as he is either saved or condemned.
17 We Hope Isn't True: Rey Is A Skywalker
These nine films have generally centered around one family - The Skywalkers. The original trilogy follows Luke on his quest to become a Jedi, while the prequels detail the rise and fall of Anakin as he is manipulated by Palpatine. The heroine of the new films is not a part of the lineage, but that could all change with one simple revelation. Someone not destined for greatness having a strong connection to the force is more interesting and hopeful than another Skywalker. Besides, Kylo Ren is already a part of the clan, so this trilogy is still following the dysfunctional family.
16 Could Be True: Phasma's Return
The amount of complaints lobbied against The Last Jedi could fill a football stadium. One gripe displeased viewers had with it was the perceived wasting of Captain Phasma's character. People wanted the intimidating figure to have more screen time and maybe even some development of a backstory. As a member of the first order, though, she doesn't get to have an identity, having sold her soul to the evil empire. While she seems to be down for the count, it is possible that she could make a return, causing more trouble for the resistance and trying to reap sweet vengeance against Finn.
15 Could Be True: One Year Time Jump
Time tends to pass off screen between sequels. In Star Wars, the only time a preceding entry picked up almost immediately after the prior film's events was The Last Jedi. With this in mind, it is a safe bet to assume that several months, or even a year, will have gone by when The Rise of Skywalker starts. In an interview, John Boyega dropped a subtle clue that the time jump is real, before later claiming to have no recollection of said interview. Whether he remembered it or not, the interview is documented and cannot be wiped from the record.
14 Could Be True: Richard E Grant As Admiral Thrawn
To comic book fans, Richard E. Grant will be recognizable as the sinister Zander Rice from Logan. The talented actor will soon be bringing his talent to a galaxy far, far away this December. No information is out there about his character, but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating that his role will be none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars: Rebels. The actor has denied such claims, but that doesn't mean he isn't hiding the truth. It also wouldn't be the first time a character from an animated Star Wars series made their way to a live action film.
13 Hope Isn't True: Rey's Parent's Weren't Nobodies
The Last Jedi eschewed including popular fan theories as a part of the canon, because screenwriters aren't known to take dictation from the internet. One of the biggest upsets was the revelation that Rey's parents were nobodies who abandoned her, while fans had their own ideas of what her lineage should have been. There is a chance that Kylo Ren lied to her, but the character would be better served if her parents weren't special. The franchise is full of people inheriting greatness, so an outsider toppling that legacy and becoming more powerful than all of them is a more interesting arc.
12 Could Be True: Return Of The Hutts
With this film wrapping up a story spanning eight prior films, there's no telling just who will be brought back into the fray. If this theory proves true, the Hutts will be making a return to the big screen. Obviously, Jabba is worm food now, so the Hutt in question would be his son, Rotta. Fans of The Clone Wars will remember Rotta from the theatrical movie that kick started the classic series. If he were in the film, he would be a full grown Hutt, and not the tiny slug Anakin and Ahsoka has to rescue all those years ago.
11 Could Be True: Lando Has A Large Role
Billy Dee Williams is one of the coolest people to ever walk on this green earth, and every second of screen time he has in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is a gift from heaven. How sweet it was, then, when Lando Calrissian was announced as a returning character for The Rise of Skywalker? Other than the shots from the trailer, however, few details are known about his part. In a perfect world, he would be a heavily featured supporting player who plays an integral role in the plot, and not a simple cameo for the sake of fan service.
10 Hope Isn't True: Snoke Is Still Alive
Of the many twists and turns The Last Jedi takes, one of the most surprising was the untimely demise of Supreme Leader Snoke. Some have theorized that the character did not bite the bullet, and is still kicking thanks to Sith powers. It would be better if this was not the case, as his resurrection or trickery would lessen the impact of his demise in the prior film. With that being said, there should be more light shed on his backstory and motivations. As it stands now, nothing is known about his rise to power or what his intentions were.
9 Could Be True: Ewan Mcreggor's Return
If Ewan Mcreggor showed up in The Rise of Skywalker, it would not be the first time he participated in the new trilogy. In The Force Awakens, he contributed a minor voice over role during one of Rey's visions. It's not too outlandish to speculate that the actor may play an even bigger part in the new film. Obi Wan has been key to the story, even when the character is not directly on screen, so it is only right that he shows up to see off this epic story. It would also help connect the prequels if the actor showed up.
8 Could Be True: Leia's Part Is A Satisfying Conclusion
The loss of Carie Fisher left a hole in fans hearts around the world. Despite her physical absence, the actress's spirit lives on. Disney has confirmed that Leia will be in The Rise of Skywalker, using footage from The Force Awakens. Everyone involved has said the scene, comprised of previously shot footage from The Force Awakens, is a tasteful and satisfying sendoff for the beloved general and talented actress and writer. The new trilogy already has many moments where keeping dry eyes is a challenge; it'll be impossible not to cry when seeing Carrie Fisher on screen one last time.
7 Hope Isn't True: Snoke Had A Secret Apprentice
One theory floating around is that Snoke had another apprentice besides Kylo Ren. This is an unflattering idea for two reasons. Firstly, it too strongly echoes The Force Unleashed, where Darth Vader kept a secret apprentice; Secondly, and more importantly, it would not feel right if, all of a sudden, there was a previously unforeshadowed Sith. If this apprentice were to be a new villain, it would feel even cheaper. It's all fine and dandy if new characters are introduced in the last chapter, but not if said character comes in and tries to steal the spotlight from the main ensemble.
6 Could Be True: Keri Russell Is A Bounty Hunter
This is far from the first time Keri Russell has worked with JJ Abrams. In fact, they both rose to television prominence together with the popular college drama, Felicity. She also appeared in the filmmaker's feature length debut, Mission Impossible III. Even though the film is in post production, the creators are keeping hush as to who she is playing. Many fans are putting their money on a bounty hunter, which would be pretty sweet to see. If this is the case, would she be one of few words like Boba Fett, or would she have a larger speaking role?
5 Could Be True: Greg Grunberg Will Be In It
Where JJ Abrams goes, Greg Grunberg will probably be somewhere in close vicinity. The actor has been in most projects that Abrams has worked on, so it is easy to assume that he will make an appearance in The Rise of Skywalker. However, if he is in it, will they explain how he survived the events of The Last Jedi? If that is all that is left of the resistance, was his character out on assignment in a different part of the galaxy away from all the chaos? Whatever the explanation will be, it'll be good to see him again.
4 Hope Isn't True: Keri Russell Is Rey's Mother
It will be disappointing If Rey's parents turn out to be more important than Kylo Ren reveals. They can show up, but they should not be Jedi or bear the Skywalker name. Rey is special because she is not bound by a name, legacy, or predetermined destiny. It would be a shame if Keri Russell's part was wasted on her playing Rey's mother. At this point in time, however, there is no reason to believe that her parents will be in the movie at all. If they are, let other actors play them and give Keri cooler things to do.
3 Could Be True: Sith Coming Back As Force Ghosts
Up until now, only Jedi have had the ability to come back as force ghosts. With the first teaser of The Rise of Skywalker on the internet, there is reason to believe that Sith possess the power to do the same thing, or at least something like it. When the trailer closes with Palpatine's iconic evil laugh, chills were sent down the spines of fans everywhere. But exactly how will the emperor make his return? Will he come back as an apparition, or will there simply be flashbacks of him? Perhaps there will be something else nobody has thought of yet.
2 Could Be True: Darth Vader Being Included
Since this film will presumably spell the end for the Skywalker family's story, they have to bring back as many people as possible, including Anakin Skywalker. There are several logical ways for the character to be included. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Anakin is seen as a force ghost, and could return as one to guide either Rey or Kylo Ren. The new trilogy's villain tries to model himself after Darth Vader, so perhaps the legendary Jedi could appear before him and try to correct his path and bring him back to the light side of the force.
1 Hope Isn't True: Poe Is Force Sensitive
Tie in materials related to the new trilogy imply that Poe is force sensitive. There is certainly a history of non Jedi having a connection to the Force, such as Leia Organa, but it would be best to keep the expert pilot the way he is. Not every character has to be in touch with The Force, and the ability to do so becomes less special with everybody that does. Poe is as skilled as he is because of his training and combat experience, and not because he has been saved by the mythical energy that permeates through all life.
What do you think will happen in The Rise of Skywalker? Sound off in the comments below!