With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker just over six months away from hitting screens and giving us all something to talk about this Christmas, the movie’s director, JJ Abrams, has promised to give audiences a satisfying conclusion to the saga by producing a chapter that ties everything from the original, prequel and sequel trilogies together.
That means fans would be right to expect some cameos from some faces we’ve seen before. After all, Star Wars has never shied away from fan service. With this being the accumulation of nine films and over 40 years of work, we now take a look at the characters we want—and don’t want—to appear again.
10 Want: Maz Kanata
Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced fans to the quirky character of Maz Kanata whose dingy castle on Takodana came under siege from Kylo Ren and the First Order. However, while we know she has been around long enough to see the Republic fall, rise, and then fall again, Lupita Nyong’o’s role in the saga still needs clarifying.
She made a brief and comedic appearance in The Last Jedi two years ago but fans are still eager to know more about her backstory. How did she get hold of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber—the one he lost at the hands of Darth Vader on Cloud City—for starters? That was a story promised to be told ‘another time’ and now, JJ Abrams must deliver on that.
9 Want: Supreme Leader Snoke
One of the many criticisms that were levelled at The Last Jedi was its decision to kill off Supreme Leader Snoke without telling any of the backstory surrounding the First Order Leader. Andy Serkis had labeled his character as the most powerful in the entire franchise, but those comments ringed untrue with what happened. Despite fanatics tipping him to be either a clone of Emperor Palpatine or a version of Sith Lord Darth Plagieus, he was wiped out without us getting answers.
The Rise of Skywalker will reportedly go into detail about Kylo Ren’s decision to train under Snoke, and this could be told via flashbacks. It would be satisfying to see the deceased’s backstory explained, filling in the gaps and giving us more reason to believe Serkis’ wild claim. Resurrection isn’t out of the question either, but, with Emperor Palpatine returning in some form, two returns may be asking for a bit too much.
8 Don’t Want: DJ
Hopes and expectations were high when it was announced that Hollywood icon Benicio del Toro would be coming on board for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, his character DJ was an utter disaster and was panned by movie-goers and critics alike, with many questioning why he was even involved in the first place.
DJ initially helps Resistance duo Finn and Rose Tico, but then betrays them. (Shock, horror!) But his character is just so, so bland. It seems the main reason for his involvement was merely so he could be used as a means of suggesting that, despite both having very different ideas about how to rule the Galaxy, the Resistance and First Order are... the same. Nobody fell for it, and nobody wants him back, either.
7 Want: Luke Skywalker
Death isn’t the end in Star Wars; George Lucas made the decision to bring Obi-Wan Kenobi back via a force ghost for the Empire Strikes Back despite Alec Guinness’ character dying in the previous movie. Since then, we’ve seen Yoda and Anakin Skywalker also acquired a shiny blue outline and that same appears to lie in wait for Luke Skywalker, who perished in The Last Jedi.
However, if Palpatine has somehow managed to find a way to return, why can’t Luke do the same? He was the most powerful Jedi in the Galaxy at the time of his passing and, though a force ghost version of the former farm boy would appeal, bringing him back in physical form would ramp up the excitement considerably. We need more Luke—just don’t make him the same disgruntled and moody git he was in the previous outing.
6 Don’t Want: Jar Jar Binks
When JJ Abrams was directing The Force Awakens, he admitted he mulled over whether to have Jar Jar Binks’ remains in the desert on Jakku. “I had a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’ bones in the desert there,” he said in 2015. “I’m serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it.”
While Jar Jar played a key role in the prequel trilogy where he ultimately handed Chancellor Palpatine the power with Sith Lord craved, it would be disrespectful to the character’s actor Ahmed Best to have any suggestion of his death. Best admitted last year he was pushed to the brink of suicide due to the brutal backlash to his character, and it would be wrong to have any suggestion that Jar Jar is dead. Some things are just best left to the imagination.
5 Want: Anakin Skywalker
The Star Wars movies, excluding the spin-offs Solo and Rogue One, have always been about one family: the Skywalkers. The original trilogy centered on Luke Skywalker and sister Leia, while the sequels have brought Leia back into the fold and added Ben Solo to the roster. The prequels, though, told the story about Anakin Skywalker and how he descended into darkness to become the villain that is Darth Vader.
Hayden Christensen was criticized regularly, but hindsight is a remarkable thing, and now fans want him back. It would make sense for a narrative perspective to have Anakin in the movie at some point, particularly given Kylo Ren’s obsession with his late grandfather. Christensen has recently started going to Star Wars events after years of staying away, and that could be something that hints at his involvement in the final chapter of the saga.
4 Want: Han Solo
Han Solo, like Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke, is gone. The loveable rogue was killed off in 2015’s The Force Awakens, dying after trying to convince his son, Kylo Ren, to return to the light. Fans were left in tears as, despite being introduced as a somewhat selfish character in 1977’s A New Hope, his unselfish and caring side comes back to bite him.
But again, if the Rise of Skywalker is going to delve deeper into Ben Solo’s past, then it makes perfect sense for Han to return via flashbacks. Whether it be Harrison Ford de-aged or Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich performing in the role, it would be great to get an insight as to what the father and son relationship was initially like. Did Han have a role to play in his son’s transformation? Or was he merely powerless as Kylo Ren slipped away?
3 Don’t Want: Captain Phasma
Let’s face it, no matter how good The Rise of Skywalker could be, Captain Phasma will rank as perhaps the biggest disappointment of the entire franchise, never mind just the sequel trilogy. Gwendoline Christie’s character was a letdown in The Force Awakens—getting put in a trash compactor by Finn—and then appeared to die in a huge fireball in The Last Jedi.
Obviously, there’s the unspoken rule of the movie theatre that if you don’t see the body, they could be alive. But, please, no. Phasma has had two chances to impress and failed to take either of them. Kylo Ren probably wouldn’t want her on his side now, and he didn’t even mourn her death. She seemed too hellbent on working for the First Order to ever switch sides. Best to stay clear of this one.
2 Want: Obi-Wan Kenobi
If you ask Star Wars fans which character from the prequel trilogy they would most want to see again, Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi would get many votes to his name. The character was popular during a rocky time for the franchise, and he could be a force ghost in The Rise of Skywalker if they choose to go down the nostalgic root.
Kenobi’s voice was already heard in The Force Awakens, and that suggests he could yet return for the final part of the trilogy. He could work alongside Luke Skywalker when it comes to guiding Rey, and some theorists have claimed Obi-Wan may even be related to the movie’s protagonist. Only time will tell.
1 Don’t Want: Mace Windu
Sure, Samuel L Jackson was undeniably brilliant as Mace Windu. Certain sections of the Star Wars fan base want him to return, with his body never being discovered after Palpatine sent him flying through a window in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. However, it would be wrong to rewrite the past in this instance. While cameos from Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would make sense from a narrative perspective, Jackson’s character would be out of place. He has no links to the current storyline and, therefore, should stay away.