The release date for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is fast approaching, and December 18th can't come soon enough for fans of the beloved saga. The film that will likely prove to be the biggest movie of all time is already breaking records weeks ahead of its release, and every effort is being made to keep the mysteries of the series' seventh chapter intact. Director J.J. Abrams is notoriously secretive about his projects, but even he's had a difficult time keeping a lid on things this time around.
Every bit of promotional material has been put under the microscope by the saga's hyper-vigilant fan base, resulting in dozens of theoretical predictions of what exactly we'll see in Episode VII. Some of these theories are pretty far out there (read: highly improbable), though several of them are entirely possible and worthy of serious consideration. We here at Screen Rant have gathered together a few of our personal favorites for those of you who want to know as much as possible about Lucasfilm's latest live-action endeavor.
NOTE: While none of the following fan theories have been officially confirmed, they may very well contain some elements of truth. If you want to head into The Force Awakens completely in the dark, you are advised to turn back now. Potential SPOILERS lie ahead.
Without out further ado, here is a list of Out 10 Favorite Fan Theories about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
12 Rey is the daughter of Han and Leia
Perhaps the most widespread theory of them all may just be the most plausible. Ever since Daisy Ridley was first announced to be playing the female lead in The Force Awakens early last year, many have speculated that her character would have direct genetic ties to Han Solo and (the General formerly known as) Princess Leia. From Halloween costumes to trailer hints, whenever Rey's name enters the conversation, questions of her parentage soon follow.
There are obvious hints that the 23-year-old Ridley is playing a secret Skywalker/Solo—her desert planet origins closely mirror those of Luke Skywalker, and she looks an awful lot like her supposed mother and grandmother. In addition, Abrams has made it very clear that the omission of her last name from promotional materials is no accident. Recent casting rumors for Episode VIII have muddied the water a bit though, and the possibility remains that we may not find out who Rey's parents are in this film. Still, the odds of this theory eventually being confirmed as fact appear to be very high.
Fans of the (non-canon) Expanded Universe may draw parallels between Rey and Jaina Solo (Han and Leia's daughter in the EU), especially if the new trilogy reveals her to have a twin brother...
11 Kylo Ren has at least one famous parent
Like any masked character, the supposed leader of the Knights of Ren has an air of mystery about him. What little we do know about Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) has led many to believe that he too may be the offspring of a famous legacy character. His apparent obsession with Darth Vader has some fans theorizing that he's the son of Luke Skywalker, while others are convinced that he's the son of Han and Leia—and Rey's twin brother.
EU fans know that the latter scenario has some historical precedent: in the books, Jaina Solo's twin brother, Jacen, gives in to the dark side and becomes a Sith. Fraternal twins do tend to run in families, usually on the mother's side (wink, wink), and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said that this could very well be the case in the Skywalker family.
Of course, Rey and Kylo Ren aren't the only characters who've been rumored to be related to the heroes of the original trilogy. Fellow newcomers General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) have both had their ancestry called into question—Hux, at one point, was rumored to be the son of Luke. But this is a big universe, folks, and not every character has to be related. Kylo Ren's parentage has long been the subject of speculation, and while this one doesn't seem quite as likely as Rey's, we wouldn't necessarily bet against it.
10 Rey or Finn (or both!) are the new Jedi
This theory may seem a bit obvious, as the Jedi are traditionally among the central heroes of Star Wars films, and the adventures of Rey and Finn would appear to be the main storyline thread of The Force Awakens. One of the two will almost certainly be a full-fledged Jedi by the end of Episode IX, and John Boyega's Finn is the current front-runner. Rey's widely-rumored place on the Skywalker family tree had most fans assuming that she would be revealed to be Force-sensitive, but after Finn's lightsaber battle with Kylo Ren was first teased back in August, most of the focus has shifted onto him. The former stormtrooper has clearly been trained in melee combat, but is he already on his way to becoming a Jedi when he squares off with Kylo Ren?
Unlike the Order of the Sith, there's no limit to the number of Jedi that can exist, so it's very possible that both Finn and Rey will prove to be Force-sensitive. Could a Jedi romance be in the cards? Or does Abrams have another curveball up his sleeve in the form of a Force-sensitive Poe Dameron or General Hux? Search your feelings, readers.
9 Han Solo dies
A significant character death at some point in the new trilogy is a virtual certainty, and while there's been plenty of speculation over who will make it to Star Wars 8, 9, and beyond, no character's death has been as heavily rumored as Han Solo's. Harrison Ford, of course, had a well-documented desire for Solo to die a hero's death during Return of the Jedi, and was adamantly against reprising the role as recently as 2010, when he told MTV that he was "done" with the character. So why the change of heart? Outside of obvious financial motivations or (hopefully) a really good script, perhaps Ford simply wanted to bookend Han Solo's story with a gun-blazing final chapter. It just doesn't seem likely that the 73 year old signed on for multiple films to play a character he hasn't seemed to hold in very high regard since he last portrayed him in 1983.
Should Solo bite the dust in The Force Awakens, he'll likely get the honorable death Ford had envisioned for the character, but it could come with a twist. Some have predicted that he'll be killed by Kylo Ren (presuming he's his son), while others say Solo could die at the hands of his old friend, Luke. No matter how he goes, fans may be wise to go into theaters this December prepared for Red Wedding-level heartbreak. Fingers crossed this theory doesn't pan out.
8 Finn dies
This one is a bit out there, considering that the character will be making his debut in The Force Awakens, and it's only really had any momentum since Finn was shown in trailers wielding Luke's lightsaber against Kylo Ren. It's unlikely that a new character of such prominence would be killed off so soon, but the theory has some rationale behind it.
Though Finn's old Imperial comrades will apparently have had some training with close-combat energy weapons (note the stormtrooper parrying a lightsaber attack at the :50 mark here), it's hard to imagine John Boyega's character being skilled enough to go toe-to-toe in a lightsaber battle with the nefarious Kylo Ren. He's unlikely to have received any real Jedi training at this point, and even if he's Force-sensitive, he should be completely outmatched here. In the image above, Rey is shown to be crying over what looks to be a fallen friend—in an environment strikingly similar to the one in which the lightsaber fight in question takes place. Could that be Finn lying dead on the ground?
If that is indeed a body, our guess is that it's either Han or Chewbacca. The writing certainly seems to be on the wall for Solo's death, though the bottom right corner of the image suggests that a slightly hairier character may have met his demise. Finn looks to be safe for now.
7 Jar Jar Binks was (is?) a Sith collaborator
Probably the most hated character of the entire Star Wars saga, Jar Jar Binks was in all likelihood your least favorite part of The Phantom Menace—though Jake Lloyd's young Anakin certainly gave him a run for his money. But what if there was more to the bumbling klutz than meets the eye? One insanely dedicated Reddit user posits the theory that Jar Jar Binks was far more than a catastrophically stupid nuisance, but a skilled warrior and master manipulator who was actually in league with Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious).
The Redditor explains that the buffoonish Gungan we met in Episode I was meant to mirror Luke's initial encounter with the unassuming Master Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Binks was simply putting on an act when we first met him, much like Yoda once did, but George Lucas ultimately chickened out of the idea of making Jar Jar the true big bad after the fans made their sheer hatred of the character loud and clear. The user goes on to predict that we haven't heard the last from Binks, and that he'll have a major role to play in the upcoming trilogy.
As utterly insane as the theory sounds, it definitely makes for a fun and interesting read. Just don't blame us if it convinces you to take another look at The Phantom Menace.
6 Luke has gone to the dark side
This one may be the oldest theory of them all, as its origin can be traced all the way back to a prophetic statement from Master Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. When Luke chooses to prematurely end his training with one of the most powerful Jedi ever in order to go save his friends, his instructor didn't mince words: "If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil." Luke is tempted by the dark side throughout the original trilogy, but Yoda's statement made the threat appear predestined.
Luke's apparent exile will play a major role in The Force Awakens, but is it possible that he's followed in his father's footsteps and given in to the dark side? It would certainly provide the "I am your father"-level twist that the prequel trilogy lacked, though such a development wouldn't go over too well with a significant portion of the fanbase.
It's hard to imagine the minds behind the latest trilogy putting such a dark spin on the saga's greatest hero, but the narrative possibilities of an evil Luke Skywalker are endless. Mark Hamill himself pitched the idea of Luke going to the dark side to George Lucas way back when, and you can check out the actor's description of that pitch here. The Star Wars talk kicks into high gear at the 11:49 mark, where you'll notice an intrigued J.J. Abrams taking rigorous mental notes.
5 Luke is Kylo Ren in disguise
An extension of the previous theory, some fans believe that Luke hasn't been as absent from The Force Awakens' promotional material as it would appear, and that he's actually the face behind Kylo Ren's mask. The theory postulates that Luke has fully given in to the dark side, become the leader of the Knights of Ren, and seeks to bring order to the galaxy through more...forceful means. Trailers have shown Kylo Ren to have an obvious interest in Darth Vader, which could be explained by direct familial ties.
This one doesn't make much sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that Kylo Ren has already been unmasked and confirmed to be played by Adam Driver. Could it be a red herring? Probably not. The body types clearly aren't a match, and we think Abrams and co. have bigger plans in store for Luke.
4 Poe Dameron will be recruited to the dark side
Most of the new additions to the Star Wars universe are shrouded in mystery, though the backstory of Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron has been fairly straightforward by comparison. The Episode VII prequel comic, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, revealed his parents to be (non-Force using) Rebel fighters Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, seemingly putting to rest any talk of Poe being a secret Skywalker or Solo. As of a few weeks ago, everything we'd seen so far indicated that Poe was a highly skilled X-Wing pilot (in the vein of Biggs Darklighter) and nothing more.
And then that third trailer was released. In it, we see "Black Leader" being tortured by Kylo Ren, who's seemingly attempting to extract information from Dameron. Inevitably, however, fan theorists have concluded that this is no mere interrogation; rather, it's an attempt by Kylo Ren to brainwash "the best friggin' pilot in the galaxy" into not only betraying his fellow Resistance fighters but joining in on the fight to destroy them.
It’s a safe bet that, in an attempt to ruin the morale of the Rebels and win the war, the forces of the First Order will look to recruit their enemies and turn them against their allies. Dameron looked to be under some intense pressure in that trailer, so this one could actually go either way. Poe's soul may be in danger here, folks.
3 Starkiller will appear in Rogue One
Admittedly, this one has little to nothing to do with The Force Awakens, as the first Star Wars anthology movie will be set decades before J.J. Abrams' upcoming film. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will reportedly take place shortly before the events of A New Hope, and will feature a group of Resistance fighters who've come together to steal the plans for the Death Star. There are several theories already floating around the web, but our favorite by far is the inclusion of Galen Marek (aka Starkiller) in the film's proceedings.
The star of the acclaimed video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and its sequel, Starkiller's name was first connected to Rogue One when star Mads Mikkelsen signed a fan's poster with the name, "Galen," insinuating that that would be the name of his character in the film. Many have been quick to point out that the name could simply be a coincidence—since the timelines of the two properties don't quite match up—with others saying that Sam Witwer (the actor who provided the likeness and voice work for Starkiller in the games) would be the only logical casting choice for the role.
Frankly, we here at Screen Rant are just excited at the possibility of seeing the incredibly talented Mikkelsen appear in a Star Wars film and a Marvel movie in the same year. He can play anyone he wants to, as far as we're concerned.
2 Honorable Mentions
Diego Luna is playing Biggs Darklighter in Rogue One - Highly unlikely, though we wouldn't be caught complaining if this turns out to be true.
Han is Finn’s father - Everyone's favorite scoundrel has apparently fathered half of the galaxy, according to fan theorists.
Max von Sydow is playing an aged Boba Fett - This one always seemed more than a bit off (by about two or three decades). He's likely playing an original character.
Han is a Jedi/force-sensitive - There's some evidence that Han has a bit more to him than we originally believed, but this is a serious stretch.
Captain Phasma is the resurrected Darth Plagueis - Man, this movie needs to come out already.
Fan theories are all in good fun, and oftentimes are merely a reflection of how much fans care about a film. Star Wars ranks among the most beloved movie franchises in history, so the fact that there are so many fans hypothesizing about what will happen in the latest chapter should come as no surprise. How accurate any of these theories are, however, remains to be seen.
What’s your favorite Star Wars fan theory? Would you embrace a villainous turn for Luke Skywalker? How important is it to you that Jar Jar Binks is never seen or heard from again? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.