WARNING: This article contains POSSIBLE SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode VIII
Director Rian Johnson has nearly wrapped principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VIII, well ahead of the film's scheduled December 2017 release date. Though there are many watchful eyes on the project's development, Lucasfilm has once again done an admirable job of closing guarding the movie's greatest secrets. It's true there's still a long time to go before Episode VIII premieres, but Johnson and his team made it through a crucial step of production without having any major leaks that threaten to spoil the film.
Outside of some set photos and speculation regarding Laura Dern's mystery character, not much is known about the next chapter of the saga. Daisy Ridley has essentially confirmed that Star Wars 8 picks up right from where The Force Awakens left off (a first for the series), and various members of the cast have given vague quotes about how the movie will be darker in tone when compared to its predecessor. Now, the rumor mill for Episode VIII is heating up again with a possible (albeit very sketchy) breakdown of key plot points involving Luke Skywalker and Rey.
Coming from "Stormtrooper Larry" (via CBM) is a report detailing a sequence that features Luke, Rey, and the Force ghost of Yoda (who has been long rumored to appear in Star Wars 8). It's worth pointing out that this is the same source who provided the photos of the extensive Ahch-To recreation at London's Pinewood Studios, but fans should still take the following information with a healthy pinch of salt - especially since The Force Awakens was subject to all sorts of rumors, many of which were false.
Stormtrooper Larry's source "Ky10Rey," who allegedly is embedded within the Episode VIII production, shared a conversation that Luke and Yoda have with Rey, explaining the origins of the Jedi Order and the Force itself. Luke takes Rey back into the past, where she sees two children (a boy and a girl) exploring a supposedly uncharted world with their parents. The young siblings encounter a tree, and the boy realizes his senses are heightened when he is around it. His sister notices that it also makes him very angry. After years of spending time by the tree and learning about the Force, an argument ensues between the two and the boy kills the girl. He touches the tree, which "transforms" him and leaves the planet.
Later, the girl is revealed to still be alive. She was also transformed by the tree and begins the first Jedi Order. She tells her followers that the Force can be used for good and evil, and one day she will return as a boy or a girl. When she comes back, it's paramount that the current Jedi train her in her new form. Luke mentions to Rey that the Jedi had been searching for "The One" for a millennia, believing that Anakin Skywalker was who the prophecy spoke of. But they were "deceived" by Anakin, who of course became Darth Vader and sent the galaxy into chaos.
In the scene, Rey also sees her parents, and Luke is not revealed as her father. When she was a child, she was identified as someone strong with the Force and had just left to start her official training, but never reached her destination. From the sound of it, Luke and Yoda think that Rey is the reincarnation of the founder of the Jedi Order, and she has until sunset to accept her destiny and stop something (which is redacted in the original report) from happening.
Should Star Wars 8 Explore The Force's Origins?
Admittedly, the breakdown reads a bit like fan-fiction and is most likely hearsay (similar to previous Reddit "leaks" of the entire film's plot), but it does give us an opportunity to examine whether or not this would be a strong angle for Lucasfilm and Johnson to explore in Star Wars 8. After all, the beginnings of the Force and the foundation of the Jedi and Sith are mysteries that fans have wondered about ever since the first movie premiered back in 1977. With a talented director like Johnson at the helm, he could very well turn this into compelling drama.
On the flip side, there is a danger to answering questions that never really begged to be solved in the first place. It wasn't that long ago George Lucas gave the Force a biological explanation, and that clearly did not go over well with fans. This is a subject that may be better left untouched in the comics, novels, and particularly the films. Episode VIII already has a lot on its plate and high expectations to meet after the record-shattering success of The Force Awakens. Toying with the Force's origins (which everyone has their own theory about) sounds like playing with fire. J.J. Abrams earned a lot of credit for taking Star Wars back to basics with Episode VII; arguably the last thing the franchise needs now is a potentially convoluted backstory about its most famous aspect.
Playing in line with that point is the notion of Rey being the supposed "second coming" of a mythical Chosen One to save the universe. This narrative trope does work on occasion (The Matrix, Harry Potter, The LEGO Movie), but it seems to be the antithesis of what makes Star Wars so relatable. The original trilogy especially was a perfect illustration of the classic hero's journey archetype, in which everyman Luke Skywalker grew from whiny farm boy to hardened Jedi Knight. The appeal of Star Wars is that anybody can be a Jedi if they believe in it enough. Having the main protagonist of the sequel trilogy be a magical Chosen One strips the films of that element. Yes, Obi-Wan and Yoda viewed Luke as the last hope for the Jedi against Vader and the Emperor, but that's because his hereditary nature meant he had the potential to be a powerful Force user capable of defeating them. Luke was always one of us; never seen as the subject of a thinly sketched prophecy.
It's true that everyone dreams of being an important figure in the world, but it helps if the movies keep things (relatively) grounded. Right now, millions of young fans believe they can be Rey since she was just a "normal" scavenger on Jakku before realizing the extent of her abilities. If Rey ends up being a "Chosen One," it sends the wrong kind of message to the audience: you can only be special if a prognostication hints you are. This was one of the primary reasons Anakin didn't resonate as strongly as Luke did. In the prequels, Anakin was presented from the start as the all-important savior who would destroy the Sith. He wasn't just an average inhabitant of the galaxy who stumbled into a larger adventure. Considering that Disney has been adverse to bringing up prequel lore since they acquired Lucasfilm, it'd be surprising if Johnson ran with this material.
In Stormtrooper Larry's report, there are certain aspects that add up when other considerations are accounted for. The Ahch-To set features a rather large tree, and the new canon Star Wars comics have introduced the concept of a Force tree, meaning this planet could very well be harboring one. There's also considerable evidence that throws monkey wrenches in the popular "Rey Skywalker" theory; namely the book Star Wars: Bloodline (set six years prior to Force Awakens), in which Ben Solo has yet to turn to the Dark Side, and Rey is already on her desert wasteland of a home. Couple that with Rey believing Luke is nothing but a myth when we first meet her in Force Awakens, she very well could be somebody else's daughter; though, there are strong hints she's Luke's offspring as well.
It's also worth pointing out that Luke allegedly went to Ahch-To to seek out the first Jedi Temple (as theorized by Han Solo), and this latest rumor seemingly confirms that's the case. In the canon, Luke has been known to search for "the lore of the Jedi," though the movies have never stated if that's why he fled following Ben's transformation into Kylo Ren. There will surely be all kinds of revelations by the time Episode VIII hits theaters, and it's up to Johnson to make sure they're worthwhile. The filmmakers have promised that they have satisfying answers in store, and for now they've earned the benefit of the doubt.
All that said, this piece of speculation doesn't hold the strongest water and comes across as musings from a fan than something more realistic. Rey being the reincarnation of a Chosen One is just one of the many hypotheses about her heritage, and there haven't been many clues to suggest which direction Lucasfilm is headed. The studio kept things relatively straightforward with Force Awakens, and Star Wars has always been a simple escapist fantasy populated by memorable characters that help it connect with viewers. Chances are, Star Wars 8 will be more of the same in that regard and not try to overcomplicate things by harkening back to a less than favorable era of the franchise's history. Johnson would be wise to leave this stone unturned. There could be some Jedi history explored in the narrative, but the filmmakers have to be smart about the way they handle it - or they could derail the forward momentum.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Stormtrooper Larry