Who are Rey's parents, and since when did Emperor Palpatine have offspring?
OK, so the major reveal in The Rise of Skywalker is that Rey's grandaddy is Emperor Palpatine, thanks to some mysterious Sith voodoo and seriously questionable writing. (He's also amassed an army of Star Destroyers, but it's entirely unclear how he built those.) Anyway, it's a twist that kills the idea that Rey comes from nothing, but elicits just as many questions as it does answers. The main one being: If Palpatine is her grandfather on her father's side, who is her dear old dad? (We know who her mother is: She's a nameless, blink-and-you'll-miss-it character played by Jodie Comer from TV's Killing Eve.) And for that matter, who is her grandmother? Truthfully, I don't think we're supposed to know. Dig deep enough into Star Wars wikis and you'll find speculation that Palpatine's administrative aide Sly Moore, who appears in the prequel trilogy, bore his children. Meanwhile, there is also rampant speculation out there that Palpatine had the power to create Force babies. None of that is canon. Still, the movie itself isn't really interested in explaining all of that. All Abrams thinks it's necessary to know is that Rey's grandpa is the big bad Sith. -- Esther Zuckerman
Did Kylo know that Rey was a Palpatine prior to this movie?
This one has already caused heated debate in the Thrillist office. As previously stated, The Rise of Skywalker retcons Kylo Ren's reveal in The Last Jedi that Rey's parents were nobodies. But are we supposed to believe that Kylo Ren thought that when he told her? Or was he just fucking with her? I am going to go ahead and say it's the former. For one thing, when he encounters Palpatine in Rise's opening sequence, the half-dead Emperor hisses, "She is not who you think she is," which I take to mean that Kylo is receiving new information about Rey. Meanwhile, if you choose to think that J.J. Abrams allowed at least some of Rian Johnson's vision to stand, you can take Johnson's word for it: "For me, in that moment, Kylo believes it's the truth," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. "I don't think he's purely playing chess. I think that's what he saw when they touched fingers and that's what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it." Aw, Kylo Ren's actually a pretty honest guy. -- EZ
Why did Leia disappear when Ben Solo died?
The thing about Jedi is: If they're good guys, they get to become Force Ghosts when they die. (If they're Sith, then presumably they hole up in giant stadiums injecting blue goo into their heads to keep themselves immortal and waiting for something to happen.) Before the Force-Ghosting happens, though, their bodies disappear, presumably joining with the cosmos in a way that non-Force-sensitive people's flesh can't. We first saw the body-vanishing trick happen with Obi-Wan in the very first Star Wars movie -- after Darth Vader kills him, the only thing that remained of Luke's first master was his big robe. In The Last Jedi, Luke's body does the same when he finishes his "fight" with Kylo Ren and disappears, literally, into the sunset. But, so far, we've never seen a dead Jedi's body (presumably Leia had become a Jedi before she rejected the knighthood) stick around until their progeny dies. Maybe it has something to do with Leia and Ben's intermittently strong Force connection that will forever be unexplained. There seems to have been a lot of that kind of stuff in this movie. -- Emma Stefansky