With just a few weeks to go before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Force jumps into theaters, everyone involved is doing their best to promote the movie while also keeping all its secrets from spilling out, and that’s led to some pretty cryptic clues. Enter Daisy Ridley, who offered a particularly interesting answer when Entertainment Weekly asked her to tease Episode IX in one word.
“Do you know what springs to mind?” the Rey actress replied. “Cyclops.”
Of all the hints and teases we’ve gotten so far, this might be the most confusing. Is Ridley talking about some new and important alien creature in The Rise of Skywalker or is this a more metaphorical reference to another cyclops from pop culture? There’s no shortage of possible answers, but we’ve landed on a few that we think are all pretty plausible.
Here are three possible explanations for how “Cyclops” explains the plot of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, written by the editors of Inverse’s entertainment section.
Warning! Heavy speculation, and possible spoilers, for Star Wars: Episode IX below.
3. “Cyclops” is a reference to The Odyssey
Could Daisy Ridley be talking about the original famous Cyclops? No, not the visor-wearing leader of the X-Men, I’m talking about the one-eyed giant named Polyphemus that Odysseus fights during Homer’s Odyssey. If that’s who Ridley is talking about, her little clue could have big implications for how The Rise of Skywalker will make us rethink Rey’s mysterious backstory.
An intriguing theory from the fansite Star Wars Shadow Council argues that the tricky way Odysseus defeats the Cyclops in that story could reveal how Kylo Ren tricked Rey in The Last Jedi. Basically, Kylo was lying to Rey when he said her parents where unimportant “junk traders.” But to fully understand, we’re going to have to brush off our dusty old copies of The Odyssey and do some reading.
When Odysseus encounters the Cyclops he’s in a pretty dire situation. The monster demands do know his prisoner’s name, but our hero stalls until Polyphemus drinks himself into a stupor. Then, Odysseus tells the Cyclops his name is “nobody.”
Later, when Odysseus attacks the monster and escapes, it cries out for help from the other Cyclopses in the area, shouting“Nobody is killing me, my friends!” So, of course, they all ignore him and the hero gets away.
I’m sure you’re seeing the connection by now, but let’s spell it out: When Kylo told Rey her parents were nobody, maybe he was lying just like Odysseus did in The Odyssey. If that’s the case, then Rey might actually be a Skywalker — or even a relative of Emperor Palpatine as some fans have speculated.
And before you discount this entire theory as pure nonsense, keep in mind that Daisy Ridley studied classical civilization before becoming an actor. So when she drops a hint like “Cyclops,” there’s a good chance she knows exactly which ancient story she’s referring to. — Jake Kleinman
2. Actually, Jane Eyre explains Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Reddit user Observa draws an unexpected, though quite convincing, parallel between the sequel trilogy and Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, arguing that The Rise of Skywalker will culminate in Kylo Ren’s Rochester-esque sacrifice that results in him losing an eye.
Jane Eyre tells the tale of a poor orphan domestic worker who longs for a sense of meaning and connection. She’s strangely drawn to her creepy boss, Mr. Rochester, who we later learn secretly keeps his mentally ill wife locked in the attic. There’s a whole lot of rapey, colonialist subtext in Jane Eyre that doesn’t really overlap with Star Wars, but Rochester and Kylo both fill that “powerful, repulsive men the heroine shouldn’t like but does anyway” role.
The Jane/Rochester and Kylo/Rey relationships are similar as well: both are broken people, and each sees the other as the only person who truly understands them. They consider themselves intellectual equals, but Jane/Rey are tacitly acknowledged to be “morally superior” because they don’t murder their parents or lock women in attics, which is simultaneously both alluring and infuriating to Rochester/Kylo.
The ending of Jane Eyre seems custom-made for a certain type of Reylo stan: Rochester’s crazy wife escapes from the attic and tries to burn the house down. Jane comes to find him amid the smoldering ruins of his manor — perhaps there’s a hint of this in the scene of Rey standing over Kylo’s demolished TIE fighter. Rochester gets disfigured and his secret wife throws herself off the roof, but he and Jane still live happily ever after.
“My first thought was that Ben will lose an eye or his eyesight, like Edward Rochester does, through a selfless act of saving others,” the redditor writes. “For Rochester, this was saving his friends and staff from a house fire when falling beams collapsed on him, severely burning his face and eye area.”
Sure, it would be a weird ending, but it would also offer the unexpected twist of Ben being redeemed without dying that so many Kylo Ren fans are hoping for. — Jen Glennon
1. The Star Wars Cyclops is this tardigrade looking creature
Whether you call them moss piglets, water bears, or tardigrades, there is definitely going to be one in Rise of Skywalker. The image seen at the end of this People TV segment puts it right out there. The screens behind a crouching J.J. Abrams show what certainly looks like a water bear. The micro-animal that exists everywhere on Earth now may also exist in Star Wars, and we couldn’t be happier.
While they likely will be much, much larger in Star Wars than they are here on Earth (the largest ones reach a length of only 1.5 mm), they will certainly be at home in any setting in the Star Wars universe. Be it in the dunes of Tatooine or the brackish waters of Dagobah, tardigrades will be comfy wherever they end up in Episode IX. Let’s hope these strikingly similar images actually do mean something. — Nick Lucchesi
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.