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Finn and Poe on lookout in The Rise of Skywalker

The following is just educated guesswork, but just in case I hit the mark and you want to go into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker spoiler free, what are you doing on the internet? Get out of here!

The great Jedi Master and possible baby daddy Yoda once said “Impossible to see, the future is.” While that may be true, that hasn’t stopped Star Wars fans from trying. For two years (and in some ways 40 more than that), we have been speculating, theorizing, diving into rumors and looking for any and all clues as to what we can expect from the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

All of that time spent thinking about a galaxy far, far away, in addition to all the marketing and what has been said about the film, has given each fan their own ideas about what they think will happen in Episode IX. So with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker landing in theaters this week, it’s time to find out how in tune with the Force we are and make some final predictions as to what we think will actually happen in this Saga’s climactic chapter.

I’ve tried to steer clear of any of the supposed leaks (although it’s possible cultural osmosis happened) and the reactions to the film, and will primarily be going off of the marketing and what’s been said about Episode IX to make a few educated guesses and a couple shots in the dark. Some of these predictions might seem obvious, but many of us probably thought we knew what was going to happen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi before Rian Johnson threw some curveballs.

So here are my final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker predictions.

Rey facing down a TIE fighter

Rey’s Parentage Will Be Retconned (Sort Of)

The evidence strongly suggests that writer-director J.J. Abrams had a different idea in mind for Rey’s parents than the filthy junk traders Kylo spoke of in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With Abrams returning to close out this story, I fully expect him to circle back to that in some way by retconning Rey’s parentage.

I don’t think that J.J. Abrams will fully retcon Rey’s parentage out of professional courtesy to Rian Johnson’s film, but I think we will find out there is more to the story. Shmi Skywalker was a nobody, but the circumstances of Anakin’s birth were highly notable. I expect something like that here. Maybe Rey was a midichlorian baby to some junk traders, possibly the result of some Dark Lord manipulations, or maybe they were only nobodies from a certain point of view.

Or maybe Kylo Ren is a filthy liar and Rey is actually a Solo, Kenobi or Skywalker. We know the question of Rey’s parentage will be answered in this film, meaning that Kylo didn't tell the whole truth. That makes a retcon of a sort highly likely, and this prediction should bear out when the film hits theaters.

Kylo Ren walking to face Rey

Kylo Ren Will Be Redeemed

Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren has been struggling with the light inside of himself, never fully appearing as an immutable figure of evil like Darth Vader once did. But although his relationship with the dark side is complicated, he has remained faithful, rejecting the light and passing up every opportunity for redemption. But I hate to break it to you folks, he’s getting redeemed.

Despite all evidence that he is beyond saving, it has always seemed like the Sequel Trilogy has been setting Kylo Ren up for redemption. Star Wars has a tendency of rhyming with itself, making it a safe bet that just like the grandfather he idolizes so much, Kylo Ren will find redemption. We’ve already seen hints of this in the trailer, with Kylo and Rey seemingly working together to destroy Darth Vader’s helmet.

If Kylo Ren was the big bad, it might be a different story, but with the return of Palpatine, it seems likely that, love it or hate it, Kylo Ren will be redeemed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, perhaps with a final act before his death, a la Anakin Skywalker. That way he dies not as Kylo Ren, but as Ben Solo.

Princess Leia in The Rise of Skywalker

Leia Will Live

The tragic passing of Carrie Fisher put Episode IX in a major pickle regarding how to wrap up the story of her iconic character Leia Organa. As we know, the filmmakers took advantage of unused footage to bring the actress back for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. They could have done a CGI creation as was done in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or they could have recast her, but they didn’t.

Probably the easiest way to handle the Leia situation would have been to have the character die offscreen between the films, perhaps having Episode IX begin with her funeral. But J.J. Abrams and company chose not to go that route and because they didn’t kill Leia before, they’re not going to do it now. The Princess and General Leia Organa will live to the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

This may be logistically difficult given the limited amount of footage available, but it just seems like there’s no way Leia will die. Lucasfilm wants to give the character a fitting ending, and it would be nice if at least one of the Original Trilogy trio got to see the end of this fight and enjoy the peace that they fought so long and hard for.

Finn, Poe and Chewbacca

Poe Will Die

This is a shot in the dark, but it seems like the victory that the Resistance seeks in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will not come without sacrifice. And that sacrifice means that some major character will have to die. This Sequel Trilogy has already been pretty merciless, killing Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, and while I think General Leia Organa will survive, that doesn’t mean everyone else will.

I’m picking Poe Dameron to die because he seems like a character who could die and have a major emotional impact, both on the audience and the characters, while not necessarily altering the trajectory of the story the way Rey’s death or, to a lesser extent, Finn’s would. That’s not taking anything away from Oscar Isaac’s character, but Poe Dameron was originally supposed to die in The Force Awakens and it feels like his time may be up.

I’m not super confident with this one, but I think maybe Poe, who learned to be a leader in The Last Jedi, will perish committing one final, heroic act of bravery in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Other possible candidates who might not make it to the end, in my opinion, are C-3PO and the Millennium Falcon, which is a character unto itself.

Dark Rey wielding a double-bladed lightsaber

We’ll See A New Lightsaber

It’s the coolest fictional weapon in history and we’re overdue to see a new one. Remember how awesome it was when Kylo Ren ignited his crossguard lightsaber in the teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Well I think we may get a similar moment in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, only this time, it’s not being marketed ahead of time.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the double-bladed red lightsaber that Dark Rey wields in the D23 Special Look at the film. I’m guessing that’s a Force vision, so it doesn’t count. I think one of the characters, probably Rey, will wield a new lightsaber in the story. In the trailers, she’s mostly seen using Anakin/Luke’s blue lightsaber, but I’m guessing she’ll get another weapon at some point.

It could be a new color or a new design, but if I had to put money down, I’d assume that Rey gets a double-bladed blue, or maybe green, lightsaber. She’s carried around that staff for two films and this is her last chance to use it. So I’m predicting Rey is going to pull a Darth Maul and have us geek out over some double-bladed lightsaber action.

Lando and Chewie flying the Falcon

Chewie Goes Home And Lando Gets The Falcon

This prediction isn’t so much based on anything that’s been said or shown, as it is conjecture knowing that this is the final film in the Skywalker Saga. I think we can all assume that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will have a happy, albeit bittersweet ending. Pending some real subversion, the good guys should come out on top by the time the credits roll and every character should get some degree of closure to their stories.

For Chewbacca, I think that means going home. Han Solo is dead and Chewie has no life debt to anyone. With the fight over, there’s no reason he can’t return to his people and family on Kashyyyk. We saw his love for them in Solo: A Star Wars Story, so it would be nice for the loyal Chewbacca to get a happy ending, and while staying with Rey or Leia or Lando might be fine, returning to the other Wookiees at long last feels right for the character.

Likewise, Lando Calrissian should get back the Millennium Falcon he lost so many years ago. Reuniting with the ship he loves and the droid L3-37, who now serves as the ship’s nav system, would be a great ending for Lando. The only hiccups I see to this prediction is if the Falcon gets blown up or Lando dies.

Anakin Skywalker

We’ll See Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the end of the Skywalker Saga, so it would be somewhat strange for the Skywalker at the center of that saga to not be there at the end of it. There have been rumors that Hayden Christensen might show up in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and while nothing has been confirmed, I think it will happen.

J.J. Abrams has talked about wanting The Rise of Skywalker to be a cohesive ending to not just the Sequel Trilogy, but the nine-film Skywalker Saga. It feels like to achieve that, you need Anakin (and ideally Obi-Wan and the often forgotten Qui-Gon Jinn).

We know that a Force Ghost that was half Anakin Skywalker and half-Darth Vader could have appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and like the submerged Death Star, it seems like another idea that J.J. will come back to to close out this trilogy. I’m not expecting him to play a major role, but I fully expect to see Anakin Skywalker in The Rise of Skywalker, likely as a Force Ghost in a Return of the Jedi-style ending celebration.

So there you have it. Will these predictions prove prophetic? I don’t know, but we don’t have long to wait to find out. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters this Friday, December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what movies you can start prognosticating about for next year.

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