Ever since Lucasfilm first revealed the official title for Star Wars: Episode IX, the Force faithful have speculated about what The Rise of Skywalker actually means. Will Luke come back from the dead? Will some other character be revealed to be Luke’s secret son or daughter? Is Anakin actually the Skywalker that rises?
As we approach the movie’s December 20 release date and learn a bit more about its story from official (and decidedly unofficial) sources, we’re starting to get a clearer picture about what that title could mean. This week, a particularly compelling interpretation of The Rise of the Skywalker made the rounds on Reddit, extrapolating from what we’ve seen in the previous films and credibly sourced story leaks.
Speculative spoilers mixed in with some credible leaks ahead for The Rise of Skywalker. Consider yourself warned!
Over on the Star Wars Speculation subreddit, u/Majestic87 builds upon an oft-referenced September leak from spoiler site Making Star Wars, which claims Rey will adopt the Skywalker surname at the end of the movie as as tribute to her former mentor. (No, this doesn’t mean they are blood relations, as many have long suspected.) Majestic87 instead argues that “Skywalker” will come to refer to “a new power that Rey and Ben will unlock,” allowing them to easily move — or teleport — throughout the galaxy using the power of the Force.
The seeds for this are planted throughout The Last Jedi, where we saw Kylo Ren and Rey able to talk to one another via their Force bond. There’s also evidence to suggest they were physically in one another’s presence, as when Kylo wipes some Ahch-To seawater off his glove after speaking with Rey, even though he never left the Star Destroyer. Of course, we also know from Last Jedi’s setpiece battle on Crait that Luke Skywalker mastered the ability to be in two places at once. Though it cost his life, he was able to buy some time for the remaining scraps of the Resistance to escape through the tunnels.
The theory ties these established story elements to another MSW leak from April, which claims that Rey and Kylo will engage in a “Force flash” duel in The Rise of Skywalker. Here’s what that might look like on-screen, according to MSW:
Rey and Kylo clash and as they battle the backgrounds change into places throughout Star Wars’ vast locations from the nine part Skywalker saga.
While we haven’t seen any footage of this in official Lucasfilm promos, the lead-in to the D23 trailer evokes a similar mood by splicing together scenes from all eight previous Star Wars movies.
Basically, the new Reddit theory claims that Force bonds and Force flash battles are stepping stones towards teleportation. Majestic87 suggests Rey may eventually be able to “teleport through the Force, or at the very least, be able to pass physical objects from one person to another, no matter the distance, through the Force. Hence, the Skywalkers.” In this interpretation, “Skywalkers” literally traverse the sky using the Force, rather than starships.
While it’s not clear how Palpatine, Kylo and the First Order might fit into all this, this theory is both plausible and narratively satisfying. The Jedi Order may have passed into history by the end of Episode IX, but the rise of “Skywalkers” like Luke and Rey (and Kylo?) allows the sense of interconnectedness at the core of Jedi teaching to endure for future generations.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes to theaters December 20.