Burning Questions We Have After 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

star wars the rise of skywalker
Walt Disney Studios

This story contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Every Star Wars movie has a few gaping plot holes that cause fans to lose their shit, speculate endlessly, and question their very existences. But The Rise of Skywalker has more than its fair share. For a film tasked with capping off the greatest sci-fi saga of our lifetimes, it sure does create a lot of new questions and leave a lot of threads weirdly hanging. You may also be confused about some things that happened. Here were our eight biggest questions coming out of the movie and our best guesses.

kylo ren star wars
Walt Disney Studios

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

What was Finn going to say to Rey?

This is by far most haphazardly raised question in The Rise of Skywalker and one that seems to be dropped just as quickly. As Finn, Rey, Poe, Chewie, and the droids are sinking into the ground on Pasaana, after fending off some flying Stormtroopers, Finn quickly yells out that he needs to tell Rey something. But what? We never find out! She asks him about it once it turns out they're alive, but he declines to respond. So we're left guessing as to what Finn's big emotional confession is. I'd wager that it has something to do with being at least a little Force sensitive, since that's what little character evolution he's given during the runtime. Or maybe he was confessing his love for her? They've always had a bit of sexual tension. Unfortunately, we'll never know since Abrams and co. just leave that hanging. (Update! According to a Twitter user who attended an Academy screening of the film, Abrams said that Finn did indeed want to talk about the Force with Rey. John Boyega also tweeted that Finn was not going to get all romantic.) -- EZ

Why did Rey bury the lightsabers?

In the final moments of the film, Rey returns to Tatooine, the desert planet that was home to both Anakin and Luke Skywalker. While visiting Luke's old home and chatting with a local, Rey also buries both Luke and Leia's lightsabers in the sand as a ceremonial sign of respect. Or she was putting them there as part of some Jedi scavenger hunt? Or hiding them from Jawas? Either way, we half-expected Harrison Ford to pop up in his Indiana Jones outfit and bellow, "Those belong in a museum!" Because, honestly, they do -- those are important historic artifacts she's burying for Rey reasons. -- Dan Jackson

How did Rey get her own lightsaber?

It's Jedi tradition. Read this excellent lightsaber explainer for the truth, but essentially, once Jedi have trained enough, they make a lightsaber. Prior to the Clone Wars, a youngling who graduated to Padawan obtained a kyber crystal to build a saber. I guess we're supposed to assume that Rey went ahead and did that before that epilogue in the final moments of the movie. Her lightsaber appears to be yellow, which is a new color in the revised Star Wars canon -- Jedi lightsabers are usually blue, green or (in literally only Mace Windu's case) purple. -- ES

Who was that familiar-looking old guy in the fighter?

Heading into the final battle, Lando Calrissian takes the Millennium Falcon for a ride and sends out a distress signal to the rest of the galaxy: If you want to take down the First Order, it's now or never. As fans of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones can attest, the last-ditch-effort call-to-arms is often a way to set up the inevitable arrival of a rescue militia that will provide essential military support right when it looks like defeat is certain. At the darkest hour, light appears. Also, it's a great way to bring back old characters, like your man Wedge Antilles, who shows up to do some damage for old times' sake. Yes, the older gentleman in Lando's cavalry is Wedge, the reliable X-Wing pilot from the original trilogy, played by Scottish character actor Denis Lawson, who true Star Wars trivia heads know is also Ewan McGregor's uncle. You likely remember him from his run on the first Death Star in Star Wars, his role in the Battle of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back, and his daring attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. While Wedge doesn't get much to do in The Rise of Skywalker, he's been busy in recent Star Wars novels like the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, which should provide all the Wedge backstory that Wedge fans crave. -- DJ

Did I hear Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s voice during the cavalcade of Jedi voices that Rey summons?

Yes, you did! During the climax of the film, Rey receives an inspirational telekinetic message from a number of dead Jedi, including Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke, and Leia. If you stuck around for the credits, you may have spotted a surprising name towards the end of the list of performers: Freddie Prinze Jr., the former teen heartthrob from '90s hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer and She's All That. It turns out he provides the voice of Kanan Jarrus, a Jedi Master from the animated series Star Wars Rebels, which aired for four seasons on Disney XD from 2014 to 2018. Good job, Freddie Prinze, Jr.! -- DJ

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