It’s December 12th. I haven’t seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet. The fanboy excitement is starting to overwhelm me, though, which is why I’ve been sitting here watching YouTube videos about Star Wars for the past half hour. I just came across a video in which Collider’s various YouTubers separately respond to the same five questions about what they think might happen in The Last Jedi. That strikes me as fun. So, I’ll play too, and then revisit my predictions after I’ve seen the movie.
1. Will we find out who Rey’s parents are? If so, will they be people we’ve met before?
My answers: Yes to the first part, no to the second.
Explanation: In interview after interview, director Rian Johnson has been trying to combat everyone’s prediction that since Force Awakens is a glorified remake of New Hope the path is now set for Last Jedi to simply remake Emperor Strikes Back. When he says his movie will at least be funnier than Emperor I believe him, and I don’t expect this to be as blatant a rehash as Force Awakens, a movie I still enjoyed, I should add. However, I still can’t shake the assumption that Last Jedi is probably going to hit a lot of the same beats as Emperor, if for no other reason than that they are both the middle parts of trilogies.
So, since we first learned the truth about Luke’s father in Emperor it seems impossible to me we won’t similarly learn the truth about Rey’s parents in Last Jedi. Even without that, it would just seem too cruel for them to leave that hanging for the two years in-between Force and Jedi and then make us all wait another two years.
As for who her parents might be, I was once of the belief Luke was her father. Then I assumed Jyn from Rogue One was her mother (before she went all kablooey). I’ve never been able to get behind the idea of her being Obi Wan’s daughter. Now I’m flirting with the theory she’s instead daughter to people we’ve never met before, like maybe Battlefront II’s protagonists.
My main reservation is more that these films have always been about the Skywalkers, and for Rey to be unrelated to them in any way would be a massive deviation. However, we already have a Skywalker at the center of the story with Kylo Ren. They already played that card in Force Awakens. For Rey to now turn out to be Kylo’s sister (Leia’s daughter) or half-sister (Luke’s daughter) doesn’t feel quite as dramatic anymore and maybe too much of a repeat of the “Luke and Leia are siblings? WTF?” reveal in Return of the Jedi. Her turning out to be a relative stranger to them would almost be more interesting and make Rey less reliant on being defined by who her parents are. Maybe Luke’s lightsaber called to her not because of bloodline but because after the Skywalkers failed it’s time for another powerful Jedi to get a crack at balancing the universe.
2. Is DJ someone we’ve heard of before?
My answer: No
Explanation: Benicio del Toro plays a slicer (the Star Wars version of a hacker) named “DJ” who might function like the Lando guy-they-shouldn’t-trust of the story. Is “DJ” just the cover for a true name we’d all recognize, John Harrison as a cover name for Khan in Into Darkness and all that?
One popular theory is DJ will be the adult version of the young Jedi Ezra from Star Wars: Rebels, but based on how Disney operates Marvel Studios and how they’ve run LucasFilms to this point I have the impression ancillary products like TV shows, comic books, YA novels and video games compliment the movies but do not directly add to them. To be fair, Forest Whitaker’s Rogue One character actually originated on The Clone Wars and then transferred to Rebels after his live-action debut. So, there is a precedent proving me wrong.
However, these movies have to play to such a wide audience that forcing in one of those disconnected moments where a character reveals himself to actually be someone only a small portion of the audience actually knows feels like the type of thing Hollywood decided to stop doing after Into Darkness and Skyfall. Like Maz Kanata in Force Awakens, sometimes a new character can just be a new character, and that’s what I’m expecting from DJ.
3. Will Kylo Ren go to the light side?
My answer: No.
Explanation: It’d be a bit much to go back to this storyline again after a literal sun died and ushered Kylo into darkness before killing his father. I’m not saying he won’t still have some hesitations to fully embrace the dark side, but his humiliation at Rey’s hands in Force will likely push him even closer to Snoke, who, remember, closes that film proclaiming it is finally time to finish Kylo’s training. He needed to wait for Kylo to be at his lowest point to finally completely own him. I actually see more of a chance of Kylo turning on Snoke – not in a Darth Vader vs. Palpatine way, more a Palpatine vs. Dooku kind of way – than truly turning the light side. There are those who still believe this new trilogy will be about the redemption of Ben Solo. I’m not one of them.
4. Will Rey go to the dark side?
My answer: No.
Explanation: They have played this up so much in the trailers that I’m instantly skeptical of it. I imagine she will simply pretend to join Kylo and Snoke as part of some grand plan, possibly the very same plan Luke warns will not go the way she expects it to. Rey means so much to so many young girls at this point. It’s hard to fathom them turning her evil now.
5. Will Luke Skywalker die in The Last Jedi?
My answer: You shut your filthy mouth!
Well, that’s no answer: It’s the best you’re getting because Luke’s not going to die. You hear me, universe? Not him! Not now! Not in a world where Carrie Fisher is already dead. Her fictional brother can’t join her, unless their plan all along was to kill Han Solo first movie, Luke second movie and Leia in the third movie because out with the old, in with the new?
So, I’m putting you down for a “No”: You’re damn right. Plus, Yoda didn’t die until Jedi. Franchise trajectory dictates Rey’s wise old mentor can’t die until the next movie, at which time he’ll come back as a Force Ghost, maybe play gin rummy with Anakin while waiting for Rey to need his help. Which brings me to:
6. Wild Card Prediction: There will not be a Hayden Christensen Anakin cameo.
Explanation: You mean to tell me Luke’s been hanging out at the Jedi Temple all those years, and he hasn’t been talking to at least some Force Ghosts? Or that Kylo hasn’t been reaching out to Anakin’s Force Ghost? Plus, Rian Johnson is a defender of the prequels meaning he’d more put Hayden Christensen in his movie than J.J. Abrams would. So, it’s not that crazy to imagine ghost Anakin popping in to check on Luke or warn Kylo to stop throwing so many hissy fits.
However, it doesn’t fit the post-Disney Star Wars‘ m.o. of using animation (Rebels, Freemaker Adventures) to address any of the story gaps in the prequels but live action to either forge a new path or honor the original trilogy or both. The prequels can be referenced in the most Easter Egg way possible in the live action movies, like Rogue One having a flashback set on one of the prequel planets. A full chat with ghost Anakin would clearly be a bit more than that.
7. Not-So-Wild Card Prediction #2: It will make more money than Force Awakens.
Explanation: Look to the box office performance of Avengers: Age of Ultron for proof of how difficult it is to make as much money as your predecessor when your predecessor was essentially the highest-grossing film of all time. So, I know Last Jedi is facing long odds here following up the all-time domestic and global box office champ. Plus, Rogue One made significantly less than Force Awakens.
Yeah, but that was a stop-gap movie. It was just a bit of fun to pass the time, and it still crossed a billion worldwide. Last Jedi, though, is the true continuation of the story. The latest projections are through the roof and early reviews so universally positive that I have a feeling it’s going to be exactly as massive at the box office as Force Awakens was.
8. Truly Wild Card Prediction: The Dark Side and Light Side Will Cease to Exist the Way We’ve Known Them.
Will Kylo go light side? Rey dark side? Screw that. I see a higher likelihood of Kylo and/oror Rey challenging the franchise’s longstanding black-and-white, good and evil definition of light side versus dark side.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments. And what are some of your predictions?