supreme leader snoke

Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

The biggest questions leading into ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Here's what we're speculating about before seeing 'The Last Jedi.'


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 6, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:53 am CDT

Warning: This article contains speculation for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Darkness rises in that galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Last Jedi on the horizon, and that means one thing: It’s primetime for Star Wars fan theories.

After the release of The Force Awakens in 2015, fans went into overdrive in an attempt to piece together and delve into the biggest mysteries. Who is the new hero who captivated us all? Where did they come from, and what secrets are hidden beneath the surface? What’s up with Supreme Leader Snoke? (Probably not that.) What could happen in The Last Jedi, then known as Episode VIII? And will Luke finally get to speak? (The answer to that last one is a definite yes.)

While some fans haven’t stopped theorizing since then, others are just getting swept up in the excitement of the pre-Last Jedi blitz. Nobody has seen The Last Jedi yet, so everyone can participate in the speculation and expansive discussions taking place online and in real life. 

And soon enough, we’ll have even more questions about Episode IX. Until then, here are some of the unanswered questions we hope to hear more about in The Last Jedi.

Who are Rey’s parents?

Rey from Star Wars swinging a lightsaber
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

The Force Awakens ended with Rey walking up to Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To with his lightsaber, and while we’ll see their relationship evolve throughout The Last Jedi, the mother (and father) of all questions on many fans’ minds has absolutely nothing to do with Luke. Maybe.

Fans are very much invested in fictional lineages of their heroes, and before The Force Awakens fans speculated which new characters were related to the older characters. We learned about Poe Dameron’s parents in comics while Kylo Ren’s parents—Han Solo and Leia Organa—were revealed on the big screen. Not much is known about Finn’s parents, but Rey, the Force-sensitive scavenger living on Jakku, offered the most intrigue.

Where does she come from? And what’s her surname? She’s kept that to herself, for now.

“Classified, really?” Rey replied to BB-8 when they first met. “Me too.”

Director Rian Johnson has said that Rey’s parentage would be addressed in The Last Jedi, and he, J.J. Abrams, and Daisy Ridley all know who Rey’s parents are. It’s not necessarily the most important thing revealed in The Last Jedi, but it will be important.

“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her,” Johnson explained. “And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this? What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.”

It’s not just important to Rey, but to the many fans who’ve been waiting nearly two years for that answer.

Luke Skywalker is Rey’s father

luke skywalker
Photo via Star Wars/Lucasfilm

Logically, it makes sense. Luke and Rey are both strong with the Force (as Luke’s father was before him) and she’s able to wield Luke and Anakin’s lightsaber, which responded to her summons over Kylo Ren’s. (As Luke’s nephew, Kylo Ren is an actual blood relative.) Related or not, Rey has a definite connection to Luke; she heard his voice and saw him in her Force vision at Maz Kanata’s castle.

On the other hand, Luke has no idea who Rey is when she shows up on his island and Rey made a point of matching her appearance to what she looked like when she was abandoned on Jakku at age 5.

But if Luke was Rey’s father, he’s only half the equation. Luke has exiled himself on Ahch-To after Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren destroyed his Jedi Temple, and there’s no indication who could be Rey’s mother if she’s still alive—or any indication that Luke ever had romantic feelings or lusted after anyone.

Han Solo and Leia Organa are Rey’s parents

leia organa han solo the force awakens
Photo via Star Wars

Out of all the  Star Wars characters who already exist, Han and Leia made a lot of sense. They were the only canonical couple in the original trilogy, and even though Han and Leia always got on each other’s nerves, we assumed they would always be together.

Spoiler: they part ways. And their son Ben (who goes by Kylo Ren now) turned to the dark side of the Force, committed mass murder, burned down a Jedi Temple, and killed his own father, making any future family reunion an awkward one. If Han and Leia were Rey’s parents, she would be Kylo Ren’s younger sister—which would make their confrontation on Starkiller Base (and likely struggles through The Last Jedi) far more personal. Han’s death would also be even harder of a loss for Rey if he were her father; she already viewed him as the father she never had in the short time that she knew him.

There’s a considerable age gap between Kylo Ren and Rey, one that doesn’t necessarily work in favor of the theory. He’s around 29 or 30 during The Force Awakens while Rey is 19, and the estimated timeline of the massacre at Luke’s temple places the events to be when Kylo Ren was at least in his 20s and Rey had already been on Jakku for several years. Earlier iterations of this theory worked if Kylo Ren had turned to the dark side of the Force at an early age or if Leia had Rey when she and Han Solo were estranged, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is Rey’s grandfather

obi-wan kenobi a new hope
Screengrab via Marcelo Zuniga/YouTube

Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed by Darth Vader in A New Hope, which takes place more than 30 years before The Force Awakens, so it’s impossible for him to be Rey’s father. This theory, however, posits that Obi-Wan had a child, who would eventually become one of Rey’s parents. They already have a connection; Obi-Wan’s the one who utters “Rey, these are your first steps” in Rey’s Force vision.

As to when Obi-Wan could have fathered a child, there are two possibilities: during his self-exile in Tatooine while he kept his eye on Luke from afar, or during The Clone Wars, the Star Wars canonical TV series that aired on Cartoon Network. Obi-Wan develops a relationship with Satine Kryze, the Mandalorian leader during the Clone Wars, and he even admits that he would’ve left the Jedi Order if she had asked him. Although she dies in The Clone Wars, the theory rests on the idea that they had a daughter, one who was raised as a Mandalorian, who would become Rey’s mother. (More on her below.)

The Jedi Code—which Obi-Wan, much more so than Luke, learned while he trained—forbade the Jedi from marrying or falling in love. Fans have long known Obi-Wan as a dedicated Jedi, so the idea of him breaking the code doesn’t sit well with some fans.

One version of this theory hinges on Star Wars canon introduced in animated TV series Star Wars Rebels, which isn’t as well-known as the films. Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni has denied the connection, but animated characters have made the transition to the big screen before, mainly with Forest Whitaker’s Saw Guerrera and the namecheck of Star Wars Rebels’ Hera Syndulla in Rogue One.

Ezra Brigadier and Sabine Wren are Rey’s parents

ezra brigadier and sabine wren star wars rebels
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

The ensemble animated series Star Wars Rebels takes place shortly before A New Hope, and it often delves into the early years of the Rebellion. Is it possible that it would eventually introduce us to Rey’s parents?

Ezra Brigadier is a Force-sensitive kid from Lothal who trained to become a Jedi under the tutelage of Kanan Jarrus, one of the few to escape Order 66 (the event in which clone troopers enacted a protocol that resulted in the deaths of most of the galaxy’s Jedi). Sabine Wren is a Mandalorian warrior who can wield a weapon called the Darksaber. They’ve worked and fought together on the Ghost, the ship the Rebels crew travels in during the course of Star Wars Rebels.

The theory that Ezra and Sabine, who are somewhat close in age, could be Rey’s parents could potentially work two ways. One, Sabine is secretly Satine and Obi-Wan’s daughter, which would make both theories correct. Or two, Obi-Wan isn’t related, so Rey is just the daughter of two powerful fighters (one of whom is Force-sensitive).

This theory has a couple of factors working against it. There’s the initial “Who?” that the Obi-Wan Kenobi/Satine Kryze grandparents theory struggles with; fans who don’t watch Star Wars Rebels won’t know who either of these characters are. But for those who do watch, the revelation that Ezra and Sabine are Rey’s parents—and their possible fates—would end up spoiling the end of Rebels in a big way. The second half of the final season won’t air until 2018, so it’s unlikely The Last Jedi would reveal Ezra and Sabine’s fates months before fans can watch it play out on TV.

Who else could Rey’s parents be?

Screengrab via Marcelo Zuniga/YouTube

With nearly two years of speculation under our belts, just about every character old enough has been suggested as Rey’s parents or grandparents.

Is Rey the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine? It’s possible, and not only might that name still carry weight among the Empire-sympathizing First Order, she’d be an enticing pawn for Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren (who would almost definitely be drawn to someone related to his grandfather’s final master). It’d certainly explain why her parents placed her in the middle of nowhere in Jakku.

Is Rey royalty? Maybe, if you think Adam Driver calling Rey a “princess” is a spoiler. (Plus, her name means “king” in Spanish, so etymology-wise it might check out.) Is Jyn Erso Rey’s mom? Rogue One blew that guess up in our faces. And she’s probably not a product of immaculate conception, although that’s been floated around too.

Or is it possible that Rey’s parents are people we’ve never seen before? I personally like the idea that her parents are in the First Order—perhaps not by choice—and after sensing or realizing her abilities they hid her away in the deserts of Jakku so that she couldn’t be used as a weapon. Just ordinary people thrust into making a hard decision to leave their daughter behind. Rey rises up to become the hero of this trilogy, but it’s a path of her own making, not one burdened by a famous name.

Will any of the characters switch sides?

kylo ren the last jedi
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

The second film in both the Star Wars original series and the prequels left its heroes at a crossroads. Attack of the Clones set the path for Anakin Skywalker to head down the path toward the dark side of the Force. The Empire Strikes Back showed Luke facing temptation and an identity crisis as he learned who his father was. While we’re not saying that The Last Jedi will be a retread of Empire Strikes Back like critics say was the case for The Force Awakens and A New Hope, it’s highly likely that our heroes and antagonists will have a moment of crisis in The Last Jedi.

Will Luke turn evil? Will Kylo Ren earn redemption after killing his father? Will Finn fight for the Resistance? And after Rey sought out Luke, will she be yet another padawan to disappoint him?

As for the last one, a recent commercial certainly wants us to think that’s the case, setting up (through editing of course) the possibility that she might run toward danger to save a friend like Luke once did. We know that at the very least she won’t spend the entire movie on Ahch-To and will encounter both Snoke and Kylo Ren.

Of course Star Wars promos aren’t going to drop major reveals in the trailers. We’ve seen the Jedi face temptation before and we’ve also seen Jedi succumb to it. Rey’s possible temptation toward the dark side of the Force could explore the fall of a female hero, while Kylo Ren’s temptation also offers something new: a path toward redemption. In the end, he’d be following in his grandfather’s footsteps, although we don’t imagine he’d be pleased to hear that right now.

Who is Snoke?

supreme leader snoke the last jedi
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

We won’t meet Snoke in the flesh until The Last Jedi, but aside from Rey, he’s the character fans have speculated about the most.

Andy Serkis has said that Snoke is a new character and not a Sith, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating he’s secretly everyone from Emperor Palpatine and Darth Plagueis to Jar Jar Binks or one of several dead characters like Mace Windu or Darth Vader. What he is, according to Serkis, is someone who finds people who can help him achieve his goals and is willing to throw them away when they can’t help him anymore.

He’s also extremely powerful. He seduced Kylo Ren to the dark side of the Force and we see him using his own powers on Rey. In the end, who he is might matter less than the damage he’s capable of inflicting on our heroes.

Will Luke and Leia reunite?

leia organa the last jedi
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

Unless Harrison Ford made a secret cameo for a Last Jedi flashback, we’ll never see the original Star Wars trio together on film again. But there’s always hope for the Skywalker twins.

They start the movie on what feels like opposite sides of the galaxy, and although there aren’t any hints of a Skywalker reunion from the trailer and promotions, it’s certainly a possibility. Leia knows where Luke is now that the Resistance has the map of the galaxy, and Luke could seek Leia out if Rey runs into danger or is taken by the First Order. 

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. And after the passing of Carrie Fisher last year, this is the last chance Luke and Leia have to see each other on-screen again. 

Who won’t make it out alive?

captain phasma the last jedi
Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

As The Force Awakens demonstrated with Han Solo, even being a beloved legacy character doesn’t protect you from death. Now that the Resistance and the First Order are fighting out in the open, even more people won’t make it to the end of Episode IX.

Fans are already speculating who might die, and even the small fragment of footage we’ve seen suggests some characters are in real danger. Finn is facing off against his old boss, Captain Phasma, in a grudge match they’ve both been waiting for. Luke has cut himself off from the world, but that’s about to change. General Hux hasn’t been in much of the footage, but his death would be detrimental to the First Order (though the audience is unlikely to shed any tears for him). New characters Rose Tico, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and DJ all offer their own complications for our favorites returning.

As for Rey and Kylo Ren? Their stories have already run parallel to one another, and we’re likely to see that even more in The Last Jedi. We don’t really expect to see their fates play out until the end of the series, so they’re probably safe for now.

Are porgs secretly evil?

Obviously. Just look at those little devils dressed up like adorable space puffins—the one pictured below probably wants revenge after flying headfirst into a window on the Millennium Falcon.

porg splat the last jedi
GIF via

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released Dec. 15.

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*First Published: Dec 6, 2017, 9:16 am CST