Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi discussions will not cease on December 15th when millions traverse to the theater in order to experience one of the few remaining examples of appointment blockbuster cinema left in the American film world, but they will become somewhat less interesting. Hype is a dangerous beast, but the hype surrounding new Star Wars films is often as entertaining as the movies themselves. The anticipation of the next Star Wars adventure affords us the opportunity to begin speculating about what, exactly, will occur once that famous title scroll finishes and the film properly begins.
This is also the time when one is afforded the luxury of making predictions which some might consider to be outlandish, but we prefer to think of as bold. Will these predictions actually come true? Perhaps. Hey, crazier things have certainly happened. However, the goal here isn’t to dully recall Last Jedi predictions that are so close to certainty that they might as well as be spoilers. The goal here is to look at possibilities which are certainly not unreasonable but do exist somewhere on the outer ridges of likelihood. Hey, if not now, then when will we have the chance of suggesting that rather wild things may happen when The Last Jedi finally debuts?
Here are 15 Bold Predictions For The Last Jedi.
15 Leia’s Death is Caused by Captain Phasma
Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing has greatly increased the odds that Princess Leia is not going to survive the next two Star Wars films. There were conflicting reports following Fisher’s death regarding Leia’s appearance in Episode IX, but the latest word is that nobody helming Episode IX wishes to insert Leia into that film via CG or reused footage despite having the family’s permission to do so.
Assuming that Last Jedi is Leia’s last Star Wars adventure, there is a strong possibility that her death will come at the hands of Captain Phasma. It’s unlikely that Kylo Ren will kill both of his parents, as the shock of the second murder would never be as great as the first, and it seems equally unlikely that Fisher will die in some random explosion or similar occurrence. Phasma needs to be rebuilt as a threatening character given her comedic exit from The Force Awakens, and this seems like the best way to accomplish that.
14 Chewbacca Dies Following an Attack on Han's Funeral
While we’re on the subject of major character deaths, let’s talk about Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a great character. He’s kind of like a more loveable version of the brutish character that followed around the short mob boss in those old Looney Tunes shorts. As great as Chewbacca is, though, his character is forever linked to Han Solo from both a lore and production standpoint. Now that Han is gone, it’s hard to imagine that Chewie is going to go on to have a prolonged adventure of his own.
If Chewie is going to die, it will likely occur during - or shortly after - Han’s funeral. It’s highly likely that Han’s funeral will occur early on in The Last Jedi, and it’s equally likely that the event is not going to go off without a hitch. This event could very well send Chewie into a vengeful rage that will end with his death. As for how Chewie will get there, we’re guessing that Rey is going to send him away in order to begin her Jedi training.
13 Luke's Training of Rey Will Include Elements of the Dark Side
Luke’s Jedi training - at least the small portion of his training we got to see in Empire Strikes Back - felt fairly typical. Yoda taught him to use the force, find inner-peace in order to avoid the temptation of the dark side, and do more with a lightsaber than mutilate some yetis. While Luke clearly respected Master Yoda and no doubt employed some of his training techniques at his old academy, the views Luke expressed during The Last Jedi’s teaser trailer suggest that he’s grown to accept that the Force is much more complicated than light and dark.
All this is to say that Luke will likely train Rey to accept the darkness within her rather than reject it wholeheartedly. That doesn’t mean that Luke is going to show Rey the merits of a good blast of force lightning - though that would be quite the visual - but rather that he will emphasize that accepting the rage within yourself is better than trying to bury it.
12 The Ghost of Anakin Skywalker Speaks To Luke...and Kylo Ren
The exact logic behind “Force Ghosts” is one of the greatest mysteries of the cinematic Star Wars universe. Following the appearance of these apparitions in the original Star Wars trilogy, many who contributed to the former expanded universe re-used the concept fairly liberally. However, the prequel trilogy suggested that not many Jedi or Sith actually know how to pull this particular trick off. Regardless, we know that Anakin Skywalker is one of the canonical characters who can utilize this technique by virtue of his appearance at the end of Return of the Jedi.
It seems unlikely that Anakin’s ghost will only make one appearance in the Star Wars films. In fact, we can easily imagine him appearing in The Last Jedi to consult Luke and Kylo. The Luke connection makes sense, of course, but what about Kylo? Well, Kylo is clearly on a very dark path that is fairly similar to the one Anakin once walked. It’s not hard to imagine Anakin trying to counsel him.
11 Poe and Finn Must Form an Elite Attack Unit Following the Fall of the Resistance
So far, much of the discussion surrounding The Last Jedi has been based on the assumed adventures of Rey, Luke, and Kylo. What about the non-Force residents of the Star Wars universe, though? What are Poe, Finn, BB-8, and the other principal characters introduced in Force Awakens up to in The Last Jedi? In many ways, their upcoming adventures are more mysterious than the escapades of the lightsaber crowd.
To be honest, the simplest explanation for what they are doing seems to be the most likely in this instance. The few glimpses we were afforded of these characters in the trailers suggested that they are star players in the fall of the Resistance. Following that tragic event, Poe, Finn, BB-8, and the rest will likely be forced to re-assemble the pieces and try to mount an assault on the First Order as part of an elite attack unit comprised of them and a few new characters.
10 Kylo Ren Kills General Hux
The Force Awakens was a great film, but it did echo A New Hope’s story beats a bit too much. There was another super weapon, another successful raid on said super weapon, and another plucky group of heroes traversing the galaxy in the Millennium Falcon. While it’s possible that Rian Johnson will choose to invoke some of Empire Strikes Back’s memorable moments, given the context of some of his previous statements, it’s more likely that he will find ways to play with audience expectations.
The death of General Hux at the hands of Kylo Ren would check both of these boxes. As you no doubt recall, Darth Vader choked his way through the hierarchy of Empire leaders throughout Empire Strikes Back. Kylo killing Hux would reference those memorable deaths but up the ante by having Ren kill a major player and not just some random uniforms. This plot point would also contribute to some possible revelations we will discuss later on.
9 Rey Is The Clone of Luke Skywalker
Well, here’s a big one. From the moment that it was revealed that Rey was abandoned by her parents years ago, fans everywhere took to the internet and furiously fired off theories regarding her possible parents. Some of these theories are more outlandish than others - the idea that she is the Emperor’s daughter is certainly interesting - but the most prevalent theory involves the possibility that she is Luke Skywalker’s daughter.
It’s a theory that makes a little too much sense. The idea that Rey is Luke’s daughter would hardly feel like a revelation at this point, given how many people have predicted that this exact thing might happen. However, it would be shocking to learn that someone recovered Luke’s hand alongside his lightsaber and made a female clone of the great Jedi. Granted, that’s a little absurd, but cloning has long been a major plot point in Star Wars, and this would be an interesting way to explain some of Rey and Luke’s similarities while also subverting an expectation or two.
8 The Remaining Republic Representatives Continue To Be A Non-Factor
Let’s transition from a wildly speculative theory to a plot point that is a near certainty. The Force Awakens caught some people off-guard by suggesting that the Republic wasn’t united against The First Order and that only a small band of fighters known as the Resistance believed that they were a threat. While this plot point helped the Resistance retain that crucial underdog mentality, it did lead to some frustratingly large plot holes.
Don’t expect that situation to change much in The Last Jedi. While it makes sense that the remnants of the republic would be united behind the Resistance given The First Order’s most recent actions, it would be very difficult to go from portraying the Resistance as a scrappy band of underdogs to presenting them as a united force of power without compromising the heightened sense of drama that sequels often strive for. As for the plot reason why the remaining Republic representatives remain indifferent, we’re betting that the film will play off the explanation that those who survived the Starkiller attack are too scattered/scared to be relied on.
7 Mara Jade is Referenced As Luke’s Former Wife
While much of the former Star Wars expanded universe has been made non-canonical, we’ve seen Disney make the effort to incorporate certain aspects of the expanded universe into the new cinematic canon. Thrawn, for instance, was re-introduced in Star Wars Rebels as a pre-original trilogy character. This policy of re-introducing certain characters in new ways means that it is technically possible that any expanded universe characters might make an appearance.
This brings us to Mara Jade. Mara Jade was introduced in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire as the wife of Luke Skywalker and the mother of Luke’s son, Ben. Mara’s considerable Jedi skills and independent attitude quickly made her a fan favorite. While it’s unlikely that Jade will ever play a starring role in the new movies, it’s possible that Last Jedi will reference her in some way. While she may barely get more than a mention, even that would open up the door for a spin-off prequel story somewhere down the line.
6 The Knights of Ren Are Former Luke Padawans Stripped of Their Force Powers
While the Knights of Ren’s screen time in The Force Awakens amounted to about four seconds, fans everywhere still walked away from the film buzzing about this mysterious group of warriors. The only things we know for sure about the Knights of Ren is that they are under the command of Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. If you’re going off that one little morsel of information, then you could assume that the Knights of Ren are also Force sensitive.
That seems possible, but it diminishes the impact of Ren’s role in this universe to learn that he commands a band of force powered warriors. The best bet is that the Knights of Ren were former students of Luke’s who joined Ren following the fall of his Jedi academy. In order to preserve the uniqueness of being a fully-fledged Force user in this universe, we’re guessing that the Knights of Ren were either forcibly stripped of their full Force powers, never fully developed them, or lost them through some other means.
5 The Finale Will Occur in Vader’s Castle
Rogue One was a slightly uneven, but an utterly fascinating film. It was the first canonical major Star Wars film to not directly further the storyline of the trilogies and instead tell a unique story related to the larger conflict in the universe. Considering how the film ended - and where it exists on the greater Star Wars timeline - there is technically no reason to believe that the events of Rogue One will be directly referenced in The Last Jedi or elsewhere.
Even still, it’s hard to believe that Rogue One would introduce a location as magnificent and significant as Lord Vader’s castle on Mustafar if that location wasn’t going to be used again. In fact, given the likely direction of The Last Jedi’s arc, we’re willing to guess that the film’s finale will occur in Vader’s castle. At the very least, it’s likely that the location will be visited by Kylo Ren before then, given his fascination with Vader.
4 Luke Put R2D2 In A Comatose State
You could watch The Force Awakens 50 times - we’re willing to bet that some of you have - and you’ll still be left with certain questions that the film just doesn’t answer. How did Maz Kanata get Luke’s lightsaber? How did the First Order manage to build such an impressive army and a bonafide planet-size superweapon following the fall of the Empire? Why was R2D2 in a comatose state, and why did he conveniently awaken just in time to reveal Luke’s location?
The Last Jedi may not answer all of these questions, but we’re guessing that it’s going to answer that last one by revealing that Luke had programmed R2D2 to go into “sleep mode” and only awaken when the Force awakens (title drop...boom) within a Jedi. He also likely wiped R2D2’s memory in order to preserve the sanctity of certain events. Why would he do such a thing? Funny you should ask…
3 Luke Was Responsible For The Fall of His Academy
Well, here’s another big one. There are two likely stories as it relates to the fall of Luke’s Jedi academy. The first is that Kylo Ren betrayed Luke, burned down the Academy, and perhaps even killed Luke’s wife for good measure (see #7). While that’s the popular theory behind what happened (except that last bit, of course), it’s not the only one.
What if Luke was actually the one responsible for the destruction of his own academy? What if he became disillusioned with the idea of the Jedi as these supreme guardians of good who will protect the galaxy from evil? What if he willingly shut the academy down - perhaps even destroyed it himself - in order to prevent his pupils from falling to the dark side? Based on our current theories, this would also mean that he sent R2D2 away as a kind of safeguard who could help ensure that a certain warrior found their way to him should the right situation ever arise.
2 Luke Will Kill Kylo Ren
No matter what happened to Luke’s Jedi academy, we know that it put Kylo Ren and Luke on opposing sides. We’re not just talking light side and dark side. No, given the relationship between Han, Luke, and Kylo, as well as the events that transpired at the end of The Force Awakens, it’s safe to say that the hostility between Luke and Kylo borders on personal by this point.
Their hostility, combined with certain lines featured in the Last Jedi trailer, suggests that Luke may no longer consider there to be a nobility to being a Jedi or an inherent evilness in the Sith. He may, in fact, see the Force as a problem in and of itself. He will likely train Rey to believe the same - in ways subtle and overt - and may try to convert Kylo to this new viewpoint as well. Upon failing to do so, Luke will kill Kylo and position himself as a “Grey Jedi” whose unclear orientation creates chaos.
Hey, we did call this a collection of bold predictions, right?
1 The Film Will Gross $1 Billion Domestically
Let’s step away from plot speculation and look at The Last Jedi from a box office standpoint. As you know, The Force Awakens was a monster box office hit. It ended up grossing over $2 billion worldwide, with 936,662,225 of those dollars coming from the film’s domestic run. This made Force Awakens the highest grossing domestic film of all-time (not accounting for inflation) and one of the highest grossing films ever made.
We’re willing to bet that The Last Jedi is going to surpass that impressive number by raking in an unbelievable $1 billion in domestic returns alone. While it's true that The Force Awakens benefited from moviegoers' long-held desire to see another Star Wars film - and we’ve gotten two major Star Wars films since The Force Awakens was announced - there are a couple of things working in The Last Jedi’s favor. The emotional reaction to Carrie Fisher’s death may elevate The Last Jedi’s figures as major deaths have done for films of the past, and it’s quite possible that Rian Johnson will turn in the best Star Wars film yet. That last factor alone could help ensure that The Last Jedi sets a historic mark.
What are some of your boldest predictions for Episode 8? Let us know in the comments.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15th, 2017.