A lot of theories are floating around the internet, now that the “final” trailer for the upcoming JJ Abrams film, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
From Luke Skywalker being relegated to guardian of some tomb, to Han and Leia having kids (including Rey in this film), to Palpatine having a grandchild (Kylo Ren), to Han dying episode VII, the fans are desperately trying to tease out what they can of the overall storyline, instead of just enjoying the incredible ship chases and battles, and out-of-context bits of dialogue, and the ever-present threat of misleading editing of visual sequences and overdubs of inapplicable narration.
That being said, as much as I am looking forward to seeing this film, I haven’t been keeping up with all of the analysis of the various teasers or delving too deep into the fan theories about what Abrams has come up with, while also factoring in whatever insight he might have taken from George Lucas, despite Lucas’ assertion that Disney didn’t necessarily want his input.
So, after watching last night’s trailer, and dredging up what I remember from reaction to the teaser trailers, here’s my educated, but highly unlikely, predictions for the film. I make these predictions as a writer and editor, based on what information I have, and how I might fit it all together.
(If I’m right, though, give me a call, JJ. I’d love to work with you!)
First, let’s dispense with the “Kylo Ren is Palpatine’s grandson” theory. I only say this because, if it was true, then Kylo should be worshipping an icon of Palpatine, not Vader. The fact that he has the charred remnants of Vader’s helmet shows the attachment between Kylo and Vader, not Kylo and Palpatine.
So, next up is the reappearance of Luke’s original lightsaber, the one he lost when Vader de-handed him beneath Cloud City in Empire. Fans Everywhere are feverishly trying to figure out how to explain this one.
Let me speculate that, in a movie carrying so much expectation, that the WHO of this is the least of the mysteries involved. Either Vader, Palpatine, or Luke, himself, went back to Cloud City and retrieved it. The real question is WHY?
For Luke, the recovery of his—and his father’s—lightsaber would be of great personal importance. But if it was Luke, we can safely assume that it was recovered after the Battle of Endor, since Luke would not have had to build himself the new saber he uses during the events in Jedi.
For Vader, the recovery of the light saber would also carry great personal significance, as it was the weapon of Anakin Skywalker, who still battles for control of Vader’s soul. In this case, it would have been retrieved before Endor, and probably even before Vader left Cloud City once the Millenium Falcon repaired its hyperdrive and escaped.
So, too, might Palpatine have ordered the recovery operation, if only to reinforce his control over Vader by exploiting the fact that Vader was willing to dismember his own son.
However, if either Vader or Palpatine was responsible for the recovery of the saber, then the recovery of Luke’s hand would have come about as well, since it was death-gripping the saber as it fell. In Palpatine’s case, however, the hand might have been the primary recovery objective, in an attempt to…
I know, I know. Tearing a page out of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy might seem a bit cheap for Abrams, but in this instance, it’s just the idea of the cloning, not the result, that matters.
So, Luke’s hand is recovered and cloned in secret. No accelerated growth, because they’re not sure what that might do to the force abilities of the “new” Luke, now called Kylo Ren. Palpatine wanted this because if he couldn’t have Luke, he could have the next best thing: a Luke without all of the baggage preventing Palpatine from corrupting his immense power for the Dark Side.
Of course, the death of Palpatine by Vader’s hand (see what I did there?) put the kibosh on that aspect of the plan, but if Kylo Ren has already been born and placed in whatever Nazi-metaphor education camp the Emperor set up, learning the history of the Empire, Jedi, and Sith from a sympathetic point of view, then how jacked up, psychologically, would he be when he learns he is Vader’s son? Not that he is a clone of Luke, but that Vader is his father, which he is (from a certain point of view), who was killed by Skywalker.
Depending of what he has been taught about Anakin Skywalker, Kylo Ren may be seeking revenge on the Skywalker line, in addition to destroying the New Republic, since it took down what, to him, was the shining star of civilization in the galaxy. This would include Leia (and Han), and their presumed child(ren?), Rey.
The fact that he is Luke’s clone would also explain why Kylo Ren is so strong with the force and his connection to Vader. It would also help him to detect and track the Skywalkers, even if he didn’t necessarily understand that connection.
As for the original question of Luke’s light saber? Since we can assume that it was recovered by Vader or Palpatine, rather than Luke, we can also safely assume that it winds up in Finn’s hands somehow (judging by previous trailers/teasers), but whether that is before or after it is given to Rey (presumably), is up for discussion.
It is enough, then, to acknowledge that the weapon of Anakin and Luke Skywalker returns to its bloodline is enough. There need be no greater importance to its reappearance than as a symbol of the Skywalker family heritage.
So that’s what I can see, sitting here with my editor’s hat on. Now for what I don’t see, using the same set of eyes.
I am leery of the whole “Kylo Ren is Han/Leia’s kid/twin to Rey” theory, despite the fact that Ren and Rey seem like an ideal set of Yuppie twin kids’ names. The Sith tend to rename themselves, so I can’t see Ren keeping his birth name, except as a possible attempt to politically undermine Han/Leia in their roles, whatever they are, in the New Republic. Though, to be fair, this could explain why Han has been away from the Falcon so long (“we’re home”); he and Leia may have been in hiding for years as Ren became the face of the “First Order.”
And where is Luke in all this? That is the real question of this film, since it will be the driving force for everything that happens. The fallout from his encounter with Vader and Palpatine will have scarred him, despite the happy ending of Jedi. What might he have done afterwards? Adopted a life of solitude and isolation, much as Yoda did after Episode III (and Obi-Wan to a lesser extent)? Is he attempting to rebuild the Jedi order, but failing under the weight of his own darkness?
Again, this is, in my opinion, going to be the central question of the film, and the dominant influence over the next two films. Much as the prequels hinged on how Anakin Skywalker handled his destiny, and the original trilogy hinged on how Luke handled knowing of his father’s failures and his own desire to redeem Anakin the man from Vader the Sith, I believe the next three films will revolve around how Luke deals with his own immersion in the Dark Side, despite his ultimate victory over Palpatine and reconciliation with Anakin.
Yes, some of this may seem cyclical in theme, but that cyclic nature is present throughout the existing (and approved) Star Wars Universe, and I see no reason to believe that it would change now.
Regardless, we’ll soon know how wrong we all are about all this.
See you around the shadows, in a Galaxy far, far away, but only a short, short time in the future.