15 Star Wars Fan Theories that are Better than Rise of Skywalker

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“You know, we could talk about this… Oh, fans like lightsaber fights? Action, it is!”

Ah, there’s snow in the air and frost on the windows and… no Star Wars movie in the theaters. Well, we can’t blame that one on COVID because Disney’s visions of near endless Star Wars movies derailed rather horrifically with Solo followed by Rise of Skywalker. So what went wrong? I would argue that the main problem is Disney choices in writing talent. Whether you liked The Last Jedi or not, there’s no denying that that film spawned a huge number of reaction videos, reviews, film analyses, and debates. In Rise of Skywalker, there’s not much to discuss. The film is an amalgam of “good boy!” fan service, dropped threads, needless fixits, incomplete character arcs, and bewildering plot points. But it didn’t need to be this way! I honestly believe that if Rise of Skywalker had been expertly and cleverly written, even the most bitter fans might have reevaluated the entire film series and sold a ton more BB-8 t-shirts. To prove this theory, I present to you…

15 Star Wars Fan Theories that are Better than Rise of Skywalker

  1. The Force Bond is forged when Kylo Ren attempts to read Rey’s mind and she pushes into his. Their minds meet, the Force is further awakened, and the bond is created by the two of them pushing their Force abilities together. The bond could have been strengthened by Snoke, once he realizes that it’s there, but it makes fine sense by Star Wars logic if it begins in the interrogation chamber. This idea genuinely helps the plot, not only by removing potentially confusing Snoke influence and explaining why it continues after his death, but also because…
  2. Rey’s force abilities (partially) come from Kylo Ren. Plenty of fans have wanted to know how Rey is immediately so good at mind control and lightsaber fights without training with a Jedi and this would explain it. If she can pull muscle memory and technique unconsciously from Kylo Ren who has been rigorously trained his entire life, it would make sense that she can do everything that he can. It would also help explain why she’s his equal in fighting if she’s literally using his own moves against him and he’s not trying particularly hard to kill her. It would also explain their feelings of being linked together if they’re drawing on the same pool of skills. This doesn’t mean that Rey is without her own power, indeed this bond would be impossible if she weren’t naturally powerful with the Force, only that she doesn’t need years of study on her own when she can pull from him.
  3. The blue lightsaber is literally Kylo Ren’s from his dorm room. Some eagle-eyed person noticed that in the box of stuff at Maz’s there’s a calligraphy set that looks identical to the set on Kylo’s (or Ben Solo’s) bedside table in the flashback scene Luke tries to kill him. It would suggest that someone, possibly Luke, but possibly Leia or Han packed up all of his left behind things and gave them to Maz for safekeeping. They may have done this because, while they were important objects, they were too painful to keep. The idea is that when Kylo says “that saber belongs to me” he means it literally belongs to him, not just that it’s a legacy object from Anakin Skywalker. It would mean that Kylo, on some level, wants a piece of his past for sentimental reasons which has a lot of thematic resonance.
  4. Specific Force users have specific talents and Kylo’s is mind reading. Basically, not every Force user has the same set of skills- some may be particularly talented at levitation, spacial relations, thought control, fighting, healing, etc. There was some suggestion of this in other Star Wars films, such as Palpatine’s Force Lightning and it makes sense on a human level. For example, many people are amazing athletes, but their abilities may vary in terms of agility, flexibility, strength, speed, and so on. An Olympic weightlifter wouldn’t necessarily be the best sprinter and there’s no reason to think Force abilities would be any different. I think the reason many of us groaned at Yoda’s lightsaber fight in the prequels is because we feel Yoda doesn’t need to be able to fight with a sword to be powerful; he has his own skills. We know Kylo is an expert interrogator, but if that’s his particular skill it would help explain his Force bond with Rey and why Snoke found him easy to exploit. It would even help explain his emotional problems. If he was a child who could feel every time his parents or peers were creeped out by him, it might easily lead to trauma, isolation, and a need to prove himself to others.
  5. Rey’s ability to fly ships and repair electronics comes from her childhood on Jakku. She grew up in a planet-sized junkyard and it would make sense if she had to build or repair everything she has herself. Since she worked for Unkar Plutt who owned the Millenium Falcon and other ships, it’s likely enough that she would have had to move them from time to time. Some authors have even speculated that she might have managed to repair a flight simulator that taught her how many of the ships worked. Personally, I don’t find her flying ability that difficult to explain since we have no idea how difficult flying is in the Star Wars universe, since Luke had little issue going from a little speeder to an X-wing.
  6. Rey has traits from her neglectful childhood that make it hard to fit in in the Resistance. This idea had a lot of nice character development. Since she grew up almost completely alone, it would make sense that she is uncomfortable at the Rebel base because of the sheer amount of people in a small space. This might make her pull away from others and volunteer for side missions just to avoid feeling overwhelmed. She might also have a hard time connecting casually to others, either avoiding people completely or latching too quickly on to those who show her kindness. This would explain why she’s so immediately devoted to Leia, Han, and Finn and why she spends so little time with other Resistance members. Similarly, she might hoard food and other objects because she grew up with a constant threat of starvation. This wasn’t ever shown on film, but it would be a nice character trait if she could explain why she miraculously happened to have a needed item.
  7. Poe is pansexual. I don’t have a clear reason why I like this idea so much, but I really do. Poe has a lot of chemistry with Finn, but he seems to have a lot of chemistry with almost everyone. It would fit with his casual style, his willingness to see the good in others, and his abilities to connect with really diverse people. Since we only get a Poe “no homo” in Rise of Skywalker, this isn’t developed, but I can imagine Oscar Isaacs being onboard. From here on out we get into uncharted territory. Jump on your bantha and let’s see where this wild quest takes us.
  8. Finn turns the Storm Troopers against the First Order. Many people were really disappointed in how little Finn got to do in the Rise of Skywalker and this would have been an exciting and appropriate turn. As a former Storm Trooper, he would know how they live, how they’re trained, and what methods might influence them the most. For instance, maybe the Troopers are whispering about the guy who got away and, through a series of contraband holocrons, he sneaks messages about how they too could rebel. Maybe he makes a series of speeches in places where the First Order’s hold is weak and causes a rebellion. Many he could attempt to reunite individuals with their homeworlds. A rebellion within the First Order would be the hardest to stamp out and the most permanent way to destroy it and Finn should have been instrumental. This would further the films’ theme that anyone is capable of being a hero, regardless of their background or maybe even because of it.
  9. The Force Bond between Rey and Kylo Ren shows them how unhappy Kylo is being the Supreme Leader. Let’s face it, Kylo does not seem like a good strategic leader or someone who would relish the day to day running of an enormous political organization. If the Force Bond continues, Rey might see him stressed out and depressed and encourage him to leave it behind. He might turn to her as the only person to whom he can express himself honestly. This might help lead to his redemption, especially if he can pass her information, warn her of attacks, or inform her of internal problems within the First Order.
  10. Leia can see Kylo Ren through the Force Bond if he’s touching Rey. Wondering how to get Kylo to talk to his mom? Rey could make it happen. If Luke could see him when they touched, so should Leia. The thrust of their conversation could be nearly anything from recriminations to explanations to pleas to come home, but it would add great dramatic effect, emotional impact, and character motivation.
  11. Kylo and Rey read the Jedi texts together through the Force Bond. Suppose you’re forced to spend time with someone you’re deeply conflicted about and need a neutral topic of conversation? How about reading the ancient Jedi texts! He can see them if she’s holding them. This would give a reason for the texts to exist in the story and allow Rey and Kylo to discover new lore, like perhaps the Grey Jedi, how to repair the broken lightsaber, Force dyad information, or basically anything that was referenced once and left the audience scratching their heads. It would also allow them to explain their motivations, needs, wants, and a whole lot of character development.
  12. Han (and then Chewbacca) keeps a hidden stash of young Ben’s drawings on the Millenium Falcon. One of the weirder things in this trilogy is that it that loves it’s legacy characters, but Chewbacca is almost completely sidelined. Surely Kylo Ren would view him as an uncle or something since Chewbacca and Han have the longest lasting relationship in the entirety of the Star Wars universe. It would be touching if such a sentimental stash was revealed by Chewbacca to Rey and then revealed again to Kylo. Kylo might see it as proof that his father truly always loved him and Chewbacca might be willing to try to forgive Kylo because it’s what Han would have wanted. It would be a great emotional catharsis and give real insight to a beloved character.
  13. Kylo Ren and/or Rey are visited by the Force ghosts of Anakin or Padme who offer guidance. I’m mildly shocked this didn’t happen, but it fits really well into the narrative. Padme might visit Rey in the spirit of helping her grandson as she was not able to help her husband. Anakin might visit Kylo to urge him to not make the same dumb mistakes he made or to warn him of potential threats. I find it extremely weird in Star Wars that Luke’s life is a nonstop Force Ghost Jedi party and Kylo Ren, with his gift for mind reading, gets zero, unless you count his memory of Han Solo. Either Luke is some sort of Force-medium who pulls in all the ghosts or no one wants to talk to Rey or Kylo.
  14. Kylo gets exiled. One of the big problems of a redemption arc is what to do with a character who clearly should be punished for past acts, but has emotionally turned during a narrative. The simple and laziest answer is to kill them off immediately after they show the first sign of goodness (like, say, having Palpatine yeet him off a cliff) because then you don’t need to show the hard work of the character being judged, atoning, and continuing to live with what they’ve done. A much more interesting ending would be that Kylo is judged by the New New Republic and found to be guilty of war crimes, but also instrumental in bringing down the First Order or Palpatine or whatever. Alternatively, he could flee into the Outer Rim to avoid execution, but his ultimate fate is exile. He’s simultaneously too dangerous to be allowed to live in the Core Worlds and to attempt to capture. So keep him in exile, existing plainly but peacefully, without political power but available should he be needed. Rey can choose to be with him or not (no one in their right mind would challenge them if they were together or if Rey chose to protect him), but he must not be allowed to be close to power. It would also be a fitting punishment if a former Supreme Leader were forced to live in obscurity.
  15. Kylo Ren and Rey become Grey Jedi. This, I think, is what most people who liked The Last Jedi hoped would happen. Grey Jedi ride the line between Dark and Light and do not embrace the strictly regimented lifestyles and ideas of either the Jedi or Sith. Rey doesn’t strike me and someone who would glady become a celibate and emotionless hermit or political bodyguard. Kylo definitely can’t handle that level of rules and expectations and both are starved for affection which is denied by both sides. This would allow them to continue to use their Force abilities, but find balance and discover a new way forward that doesn’t require them to cut off any part of themselves.

Pretty good, eh? Wondering what brilliant souls came up with these gems? The answer is…

Fanfiction writers from Archive of Our Own.

Fanfiction is treated pretty unfairly when it’s a perfectly legitimate writing exercise. Writing a spec script about an underused character used to be a pretty standard way of being hired by a tv show and established writers like Neil Gaiman write variations on Snow White or CS Lewis’s Narnia series all the time. A lot of authors on fanfic sites write very well and often have fresh and original ideas. The Star Wars fanfic realm is as vast as that galaxy far far away and, honestly, I think Hollywood would benefit from a lot of these writers, many of whom are women, non-binary, or LGBTQ. These authors examined the material and created explanations, plots, and character development that is better and feels emotionally truer than the likes of JJ Abrams. While I can’t determine exactly who came up with these ideas first, many came from writers like disasterisms, ricca_riot, sasstasticmad, Perry_Downing, and others. It saddens me that their creations couldn’t have worked their way onto the big screen because I think we could have had a sequel trilogy that would have endured and been a great follow up to the original movie, but I’m glad it exists and that those authors chose to share their dreams with us. So raise that glass of green milk and think what could have been!

Maybe I’m overthinking this.

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