It’s fairly common knowledge by now that the sequel Star Wars trilogy consisting of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t really meticulously planned out, and has had its fair share of real-world issues. But, to be fair, the original trilogy wasn’t really either, and even the prequels — 100 percent controlled by George Lucas — have some random course-corrections. But, now, with The Rise of Skywalker poised to wrap everything up, it looks like it’s very possible that a very old George Lucas idea might end up being the button that holds this whole thing together.
If you look at the final Rise of Skywalker trailer from a certain point of view, it seems like some of the action will take place in some kind of a metaphysical dimension. In other words, what if half of this movie happens inside of the Force? It might sound wacky, but here’s the evidence.
Speculation ahead. Which means accidental spoilers, maybe.
George Lucas’s “microbiotic world”
According to numerous sources — specifically George Lucas in 2018 and Mark Hamill in 1983 — Lucas’s original vision of the sequel trilogy dealt with conflicts happening beyond what we would call the “real world.” Lucas called this the “microbiotic world,” which is where the Whills existed, and where all the mojo with the Force happens. Mark Hamill retroactively corroborated his in a rare 1983 interview where he said that if he returned as to Star Wars post-Return of the Jedi it “would either be another plane of existence or not the same character.” The “not the same character” line could refer to the old rumor that Hamill could have played an older Anakin Skywalker in the prequels. (Fellow olds: Remember that? People thought Kenneth Branagh was going to play Obi-Wan, too!) BUT, the “another plane of existence” seems to corroborate the idea that some of the plot could happen in another realm, which, for the sake of making things simple, I’m going to call “Inside the Force.”
There are several contemporary canon precedents for major actions happening in “another plane of existence”
The notion that there’s Matrix-esque, spooky in-between version of existence in the Star Wars galaxy has precedent in real-deal canon. And, some of it has been pretty recent! In Rebels several of the characters encounter the Bendu, a kind of Force-buffalo who exists as a kind of Snuffleupagus. Sometimes he’s there. Sometimes he’s not. Then you’ve got the World Between Worlds, which full-on introduced time travel (or dimension-hopping) to Star Wars, and pulled Ahsoka Tano out of a fatal duel with Darth Vader. Prior to that The Clone Wars depicted Yoda in a metaphysical dream world, fighting all sorts of crazy motherfuckers, including, but not limited to Darth Bane and an evil version of himself.
Contemporary in-canon Star Wars comics have played fast and loose with this kind of stuff, too. In the past two years, Darth Vader hung out in a metaphysical realm wherein he not only witnessed his own conception (don’t call it “immaculate,” it’s a virgin birth) but also “fought” several dead Jedi he’d already sort of killed.
And then, there’s Mortis. In a famous three-part episode of The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka basically enter Lucas’ weirdo universe when they meet The Father, the Son, and the Daughter — immortal beings who sort of represent the Force and all of its extremes. In fact, there’s a good reason to believe that in the final Rise of Skywalker trailer, Rey is carrying the Dagger of Mortis, a weapon that can kill immortal beings. Or as I like to call it: a ghost-killing knife.
Okay, but why would The Rise of Skywalker cram all this stuff in at the last second?
At this point, if you’re a hardcore fan, you’re like, okay, so what? And if you’re more of a casual fan, you’re probably like, “huh?” The idea that J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio would recap or cram in a bunch of very confusing rules about the Force and other dimensions at the last second feels unlikely, right? Well, maybe not. The Star Wars films do a good job at touching on complicated canon without dwelling on it. Consider this: no one says the word “Ewok” in Return of the Jedi, and Palpatine’s name wasn’t spoken in a Star Wars film until The Phantom Menace. The point? The explanatory part of Star Wars canon can sort of exist underneath the films themselves. Weird shit like Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars can surface every once and while like a deep-sea creature coming up for air. Oh look it’s maybe a reference to an ancient Star Wars video game in Solo. Hey, look, Luke said “laser sword” in The Last Jedi. You get it.
The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t actually need to explain the idea of battles happening on a metaphysical plane to just go ahead and have it happen. We see Rey and Kylo Ren fighting in numerous locations, which has led many people to think that they are doing a Force flash instant teleport thing across the galaxy. And while this “Force flash” idea is cool (I prefer to calling “jaunting” because that’s what it is in Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination) a slightly neater explanation is that Rey and Kylo are partially battling within the Force itself.
For what it’s worth, I’m not alone on this idea. Jason Ward, the guy from Making Star Wars thinks that shots which depict Rey and Kylo standing in specific locations are happening “in a Force bond.” This would be kind of like in The Last Jedi, when Rey and Kylo appeared to be in the same location, but were, in fact, several light-years apart. If you think about it, whether it’s a Force bond or they’ve entered the Force, or they’re traveling via the Force or whatever, nearly everything about the final Rise of Skywalker trailer is trippy as hell.
Abrams and Lucas probably both love this idea
Supposedly, J.J. Abrams has consulted George Lucas on the script for The Rise of Skywalker. So, right there, you could argue you’ve got a smoking blaster that some of Lucas’s old ideas will be shoehorned into the movie. And, way back when Abrams was making The Force Awakens, he wanted Rey’s vision to be a kind of tour through the entire saga of Star Wars. That idea was truncated significantly, but now that everyone is ready to pay tribute to the entire saga, it seems like the ultimate trip through all of Star Wars might actually happen. Welcome to what it looks like inside the Force.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, This Is How the Force Works, Actually hits theaters on December 20.