‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Theories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Lucasfilm likes to keep fans dangling when it comes to Star Wars, especially the core films in the Skywalker Saga. The Force Awakens marketing campaign kept the biggest takeaways close to the vest — not even journalists were allowed to screen the film for the domestic press junket — and a similar bare bones-style lead-in is happening with The Last Jedi. Opening this December, the film’s first trailer came out in April, and since then we’ve seen a photo spread in Vanity Fair with little else. This leaves lots of room for speculation.

One of the earliest reports I can remember of The Force Awakens was the alleged script that saw Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, grasped by his severed hand, floating through space and landing on a desert planet. That obviously was not in the film, but the theories and claims the online maelstrom spit forth ranged from pretty plausible to totally outrageous. Now we’re here, approaching the release of The Last Jedi, and once again sifting through all the hot takes, reports, alleged leaks, and clues left from the previews.

Here are some of the most plausible and most farfetched theories for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

1) The Grey Jedi

For so long, there’s only been the Light and the Dark, and it’s been the Jedi’s choice which to follow. If you choose the Light, you must renege on all emotional attachments and dismiss fear. If you choose the Dark, you tend to become a star-destroying megalomaniacal sociopath. There must be something in between, and that’s where this theory about Luke plays in — and not just because he’s donning a Gandalf grey color palette. A Grey Jedi is one that walks between the Light and the Dark and rebuffs the traditional practice of the Jedi Order. The concept has only really been a part of the Expanded Universe, but Luke stating the Jedi must come to an end might refer to an end of the traditional dogma. There’s also the notion of an imbalance to the Force, which occurs when either side has dominion. Maybe the only way to truly achieve balance is achieving this middle ground. Maybe the Grey Jedi is Rey, who finds her own way beyond the teachings of a given-up master.

2) The Journal of the Whills

Most of film Twitter seems to be in agreement on this one: that book, emblazoned with the Jedi Council insignia, Rey is caressing in the Last Jedi teaser trailer is The Journal of the Whills, making it cinematic debut. George Lucas originally intended the text to explain how the Star Wars universe connected to the real world as a series of stories recorded throughout history. The stories told in Star Wars, for example, would be stories from this compendium. It’s since been referenced numerous times throughout the canon, more recently in the novelization of The Force Awakens, which began with a poem from the journal about the struggles of the light and the dark.

3) Luke Turns to the Dark Side

This rumor goes back to The Force Awakens when some thought Kylo Ren was actually Luke behind the mask. But now it’s getting a second wind for which one can make a more sound argument. Even if our golden boy doesn’t shift into total Sith apprentice mode, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn the character lost his faith. Based on what we know from Han and Leia, Kylo was an apprentice of Luke and the psychological impact of losing the son of your sister and best friend to the Dark Side isn’t something that can be so easily mended. The trailer also sees Luke witnessing what appears to be his searched for Jedi Temple engulfed in flames from Captain Phasma — another likely source of emotional unrest. This also gives credence to the Grey Jedi theory.

4.) Rey Is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Granddaughter

While Ewan McGregor is busy answering the um-teenth question about returning for his own Star Wars spinoff, fans are trying to figure out how he might be able to fit into this new saga. The Last Jedi trailer featured a whisper from an older Obi-Wan, saying, “seduced by the Dark side.” As Thrillist points out, McGregor also recorded a voiceover part for Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, where he says, “Rey, these are your first steps.” Might this be a hint that Rey is part of the Kenobi family? At Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Josh Gad, who came out to host the Last Jedi panel, asked Daisy Ridley if her name was “Rey Kenobi,” to which she said, “That’s a popular answer, clearly.”

5) Rey Is a Clone of Luke

Clones are a recurring piece of the fabric of the Star Wars universe, but even this one might be stretching it a bit too far. Rey’s parentage is perhaps the biggest question driving anticipation for The Last Jedi, and the reveal already has to live up to Darth Vader declaring himself Luke’s father and Luke finding out Leia is his sister. Since these Episodes are dubbed the Skywalker Saga, one would assume the story of Rey is also the story of Luke, so perhaps this theory from YouTube user Mike Zeroh that posits Rey is a clone of Luke, made from the DNA off his severed hand, isn’t as outlandish as it might sound. I also keep thinking to that scene in the trailer where rubble begins floating around Rey’s hand and how it resembles Starkiller from the Force Unleashed video games. In the sequel game, he too was a clone wielding unprecedented control over the Force.

6) Snoke Is the Last Jedi

The title alone has sparked a lot of debate among fans, but director Rian Johnson clarified that The Last Jedi is a singular-referencing phrase and not to numerous Jedi. Two obvious candidates are Rey and Luke — Rey could be the last remaining Jedi to learn the ways from a retired knight, but Luke could also be the last of his kind. This theory from Reddit user AnakinKardashian posits the Last Jedi is a reference to Snoke. Between the Kyber crystals on Jedha in Rogue One, talk of an ancient secret on Jakku in the novels, and Luke’s search for the first Jedi temple, there’s been an emphasis on the history of the Jedi and Snoke, though we don’t know exactly how old he is, is ancient himself. Might he be the last Jedi, the last one to walk the true Jedi path? If so, then everyone we thought to be Jedi that followed him aren’t really Jedi.

7) Kylo Ren Is a Double Agent

This theory seems to have taken root in the denial of Han’s death: What if Kylo Ren was only pretending to join the Dark Side as a way of getting close to Snoke? What if Han was in on it and not actually dead? No, Han seems really dead. But even so, what if it was still just a way for Kylo Ren to get to the final stage of his training? Maybe he regrets killing his father and, as Bustle suggests, mad at Finn and Rey for bringing him to Starkiller Base and forcing his hand. It all seems like a stretch that, to me, would take away from the complexity of this established villain.

8) Force-Sensitive Trees

Two Force trees were featured in the Star Wars: Shattered Empire comic series, one of which was found in the possession of Luke. The other was gifted to Poe Dameron’s mother, an X-wing pilot named Shara Bey. The trees were said to be all that remained of the tree that grew in the heart of the Jedi temple on Coruscant. The books shown in the Last Jedi teaser trailer are on a shelf made of and surrounded by bark, perhaps a part of one of these Force trees. If they are revealed as a part of the films, then perhaps Poe is another Force-sensitive character, as he would’ve been growing up around a tree as a child.

9) Finn Feels the Force

This one isn’t hard to believe at all, considering John Boyega is playing one of the prime three characters in the new saga and he was able to wield a lightsaber with at least some skill, which not everyone can say. Han was an example of a non-Jedi picking up the blade, but only to cut open the Tauntaun and save Luke from dying of hypothermia. He didn’t actually go toe to toe with a Sith and live to tell the tale. However, Finn, though he’s severely injured and recuperating in a healing pod, can boast such a feat. So, perhaps, he too is another Force-sensitive character and he doesn’t know it.

10) The Knights of Ren Are Luke’s Ex Students

What if Kylo Ren wasn’t the only pupil Luke Skywalker lost to the Dark Side? He called Snoke in The Force Awakens the master of The Knights of Ren, his supervillain entourage, but Reddit user reverent_irrelevance put forth this idea that these knights had a different master once upon a time. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they were all studying the Jedi path under the tutelage of Luke, and perhaps they all became evil in following Kylo’s example. The weight of having failed not one, but all these students would be enough to prompt Luke’s self-imposed exile.

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