‘Star Wars’: Questions That Still Need to Be Answered After ‘The Last Jedi’
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was packed with mystery upon mystery, which gave fans a lot of room to speculate in the years following its release. Surprisingly, The Last Jedi is not nearly as mysterious, and it answers a lot of those open questions.
But it’s not totally free of ambiguity. After seeing the latest installment in the saga, we’re still left with some major lingering questions, some that we already had walking into the theater, as well as some brand new ones. These are the biggest open questions following Star Wars: The Last Jedi — and some theories about what the answers could be. Warning: Spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead!
Where did Supreme Leader Snoke come from?
Perhaps the number one question after The Force Awakens was, “Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?” That film gave us so little information about him that viewers went wild with theories that he could be Darth Plagueis, the Emperor reborn, or even the first Jedi.
But fans will have to keep guessing, as The Last Jedi does not answer that question. Not only that, but it actually kills off Snoke in a shocking twist. So who was Snoke? Where did he come from? How did he rise up and become the leader of the First Order? We’ll probably end up getting these answers in upcoming novels or TV shows but not in Episode IX.
In the books, there have been hints of a mysterious dark presence in the Unknown Regions during the events of the original trilogy. So perhaps this explains Snoke: He’s just an evil entity who rose to power sometime after Return of the Jedi, but he’s an original character, and there’s not some giant twist behind him.
Are Rey’s parents truly nobodies?
The second big mystery about The Force Awakens was, “Who are Rey’s parents?” This is a question that The Last Jedi answers. Well, it seems to, anyway.
In the movie, Kylo Ren tells Rey that her parents were nobody junk traders who sold her away and died a meaningless death. Though she has been waiting around for them to return and bring her meaning, in reality, they’re two people who never wanted her and will never come back.
But is that really true? Rian Johnson has confirmed that Kylo Ren wasn’t lying in this scene. But he won’t confirm that the information is actually accurate. In fact, he leaves open the possibility that Episode IX could change course.
“I can’t speak to what they’re going to do,” Johnson said, referring to the writers of Episode IX. “And there’s always, in these movies, a question of ‘a certain point of view.'”
Granted, Rey does seem to agree with Kylo’s description of her parents in The Last Jedi. But this is something we’ll need further confirmation of before the issue can be considered officially settled.
How do Force ghosts work, and will Luke become one?
The original trilogy establishes the idea of Force ghosts, i.e. that Jedi can appear to the living after they have died. In those movies, that concept is introduced mainly so that Obi-Wan can communicate with Luke. The films never really explained much about Force ghosts, though. There are no Force ghosts in The Force Awakens, so a lot of fans weren’t even sure if the Disney movies would retain this idea.
The Last Jedi does, as Yoda appears in a key scene. According to this movie, Force ghosts can still use their powers, as Yoda summons lightning. He also physically interacts with Luke.
So how, exactly, do Force ghosts work? Can they all use their powers all the time? If that’s the case, why is it that they never get involved in the events of the movies? Couldn’t Yoda swoop in during a battle and use the Force to actually help someone rather than just to mess around with Luke on an island somewhere? The new Star Wars canon really hasn’t delved into any of this, although in the original trilogy, Obi-Wan makes a vague comment about not being able to interfere.
On a related note, will Luke become a Force ghost in Episode IX? Is it possible that he will become something else entirely? Now that Force ghosts have turned into a major part of the new canon, we have quite a few questions about them that future movies, books, and games will hopefully answer.
What, exactly, are Leia’s Force abilities?
Fans were taken aback in The Last Jedi when Leia is blown out into space, only to pull herself back into her ship and survive. Clearly, she’s using the Force in this scene.
But this was a bit jarring since we’ve never seen Leia use the Force before, and now she’s using it in the most grandiose way possible. Sure, we all assumed she is Force-sensitive, considering she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Jedi of all time. But seeing her suddenly pull such a powerful trick came as a shock.
This raises the question of just how strong in the Force Leia is. What else is she capable of? And did Luke train her after Return of the Jedi? Unfortunately, due to Carrie Fisher’s death, we likely won’t get these answers on screen. But this can be addressed in future novels.
Update: Since the original publication of this article, the Last Jedi novelization answered one of our questions by explaining that Luke did, in fact, train Leia after Return of the Jedi.
Are Captain Phasma and Snoke really dead?
The Last Jedi seemingly kills off both Captain Phasma and Snoke. With Phasma, she falls off-screen after fighting with Finn. But is it possible she’s still alive? It’s been established that her suit can withstand quite a bit of damage. Plus, we as viewers have been trained to not believe that a character is dead until we see their body. Certainly, the final moment with Phasma plays like a death scene, but there’s definitely some ambiguity there.
The death scene with less ambiguity is Supreme Leader Snoke’s. He’s flat out sliced in half with a lightsaber, after all. But we don’t know how powerful Snoke is, so could he still be alive somehow? Based on his appearance, he has already come close to death even before the events of the movies. And seemingly dead bad guys have returned in Star Wars before; just ask Darth Maul.
Before The Last Jedi, there was a theory that Snoke has the ability to move his consciousness from body to body, so maybe something like that can happen here. This is probably just wishful thinking from fans who hoped Snoke would amount to more. But until proven otherwise, there will continue to be questions about whether he is truly gone for good.
Who are the Knights of Ren?
In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is referred to as the “master of the Knights of Ren.” Later, during Rey’s “Forceback” scene, we see Kylo standing over a bunch of dead bodies surrounded by these knights. So who are these people?
We never find out, as in The Last Jedi, there’s no reference at all made to the Knights of Ren, at least not overtly.
Luke does state that some of his other Jedi students went with Kylo, so perhaps these are the Knights of Ren. But there’s no concrete evidence to prove that at this point. Hopefully, future canon material will shed some light on this.
How did Maz get Luke’s lightsaber?
In The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata is in possession of Luke’s lightsaber, the one that fell into Cloud City during Luke’s duel with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. So how did Maz get it?
J.J. Abrams avoided answering this in The Force Awakens, just having Maz say that this is a good question “for another time.” That other time, clearly, was not The Last Jedi, as we didn’t get an answer in the new film.
It seems pretty likely that Abrams just couldn’t think of an explanation for why Maz has the lightsaber, and this isn’t something that will be touched upon in the movies. But hopefully, we’ll at least learn more about this in an upcoming book or another piece of canon material.
What would a new Jedi Order look like?
Based on the marketing for The Last Jedi, some fans thought that the film might end with the Jedi Order going away and with Rey starting something entirely new. She could train a new generation of Force-users who are not Jedi.
That doesn’t seem to be the direction the story is going in, though. By the end of the film, Rey is referred to as a Jedi, and she is revealed to still have the ancient Jedi texts that we thought Yoda burnt on Ahch-To. So if Rey is to train a new generation of Jedi, what will that look like?
Will they stick to traditional Jedi philosophy and encourage students not to give into their feelings? Or will they alter the Jedi teachings in some way to account for the order’s past failings? Will they understand that part of the reason Luke was victorious in Return of the Jedi was precisely because he gave into his feelings for his father? Will Rey retain the fundamentals of the Jedi Order but update it for “modern” times?
If there are to be more Jedi in the next movie, it’s completely up to J.J. Abrams to decide what direction the order should go in.
How will Carrie Fisher’s death be dealt with?
Heading into The Last Jedi, one of the key questions was how the franchise was going to deal with the tragic death of Carrie Fisher. By the end of the movie, we still don’t know. The film makes no attempt to write her character out, and Rian Johnson clearly did not alter it in any way after her death.
So in Episode IX, how will the storyline be adjusted to reflect Fisher’s absence? What seems most likely is that there will be some sort of time jump, with Leia having died off-screen in the years between films. But how will she die? Will we simply learn about it through dialogue or the opening crawl? Or will we see her ship being destroyed from a distance? Will the movie provide Leia with a big sendoff, or will it just shuffle the character out of the story and move on?
J.J. Abrams is in an unfortunate situation with Episode IX, which was meant to feature Fisher heavily. It remains to be seen how he will dramatically alter the story due to this real-life tragedy.
Is there still good in Kylo Ren?
The Last Jedi offers a dramatically different story than Return of the Jedi. Rey is placed in a similar position as Luke in that movie, confronting the main villain while fully believing that there is good in him. But although Kylo kills Snoke, he does not wind up turning from the Dark Side. By the end, Luke suggests in a conversation with Leia that there’s no saving Ben Solo, and Leia seems to agree, saying that her son is gone.
So is that the conclusion that this franchise has reached? Is Ben Solo really irredeemable? Has Rey made the decision that he is beyond saving, or will she once again attempt to bring him back to the light in Episode IX? The next film could echo Return of the Jedi, with Rey finally pulling Kylo Ren to the light. Or it could go the complete opposite way, this time giving us a villain who has an opportunity at redemption but refuses it. The possibilities truly are endless, meaning we can once again spend two years debating theories about what’s next.
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