What Does the Star Wars Episode 9 Title “The Rise of Skywalker” Mean?

They always get us with these Star Wars titles, and Episode IX is certainly no different. But while it’s easy to say that The Rise of Skywalker sounds obvious, we’ve got a lot of options here…

You’ve seen the trailer, one assumes. So what do we think here?

Theory #1: It’s a Reference to Kylo Ren’s Redemption

Fans have been speculating since The Force Awakens about whether or not Kylo Ren can be redeemed and return to his life as Ben Solo. It’s possible that the films are going there, but still doesn’t seem super likely given his recent dark side double down—or even if it does, Ben’s redemption isn’t likely the top story priority for this trilogy as a narrative. So while Kylo may be in for a very emotional turn, the chance of him being the rising Skywalker still seems improbable. He’s got a lot of work to do before he gets any nice titles.

Theory #2: Rey IS a Skywalker After All!

After the mystery of Rey’s parentage, and then the apparent undoing of the mystery of Rey’s parentage by suggesting that her parents were nobodies, there’s always a chance that we could get that final twist, and Rey could somehow turn out to be a Skywalker. She could be a secret daughter of Han and Leia, or Luke’s secret kid, we really have no idea. If that’s the case, then the title is probably a reference to her. Still, this seems just as unlikely as Kylo, given that undermining that the reveal of Rey’s parentage in Episode VIII would be a step backwards in terms of story mechanics and momentum.

I’ve got some very personal feelings about Rey not being a Skywalker, though, so you don’t have to take my word for it.

Theory #3: The Rise of Skywalker is Not a Person, But a Philosophical Change

This might be the most satisfying option of the lot, when all is said and done. Since the beginning of the “Skywalker Saga” (that’s all the numbered Star Wars films), the Skywalker family has had rough time of it in their galaxy. People keep trying to turn them to the dark side, and ruining their Jedi schools, and saying that they’re chosen while simultaneously putting no faith in them whatsoever…

But the collective wisdom of Luke and Leia has a lot to offer their galaxy in terms of what the Force can be, and what it can become. What if the “rise of Skywalker” is the rise of a new mode of thought in how sentient beings interact with the Force? What if it’s a new era, with Rey at the head of it, trying to build a shiny new Order? What if Skywalker becomes a term, a noun rather than a name? It would fit the pattern of each trilogy’s third act beautifully:

  • The Revenge of the Sith
  • The Return of the Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

What better way to honor the entirety of this nine-part saga around the Skywalker family, than to make their name into something brand new?

A lot of people are latching onto this theory in earnest, so here’s hoping:

Theory #4: Luke Was Cloned, He’s Luuke Now, and He’s Back

Anyone who read Star Wars books in the 90s is sure to remember Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire Trilogy as well as the Dark Empire comic run. There are a bunch of clones in these stories; a clone of Emperor Palpatine trying to get his hands on Leia and Han’s youngest kid, Anakin Solo; a clone of an old Jedi named Jorus C’baoth; an evil clone of Luke himself. All the clones got extra letters in their names, so Luke Skywalker became Luuke Skywalker. For space birth certificates, probably.

So it’s possible that Luke could get cloned and somehow return from the dead, and then he would rise and do something totally epic—I mean, we all heard Emperor Palpatine’s laugh, so he’s clearly around, anything is possible at this point. Get ready for so many clones. Han’s clone. Anakin’s clone. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s clones. We’re doing this. The next Clone Wars are coming.

 

But if we’re being perfectly serious, all my money and hopes are on option three. It would be such a gorgeous way of evolving the Star Wars universe and letting it find a different way to flourish.

But we’re over half a year away, with plenty more time to speculate! So where did your mind go?

citation

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