Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top 10 "The Force Awakens" Rumors

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is opening in just a few days, and it promises to make enough money to buy a Death Star (or a Starkiller Base). If you've been on the Internet within the last 2 years, you've seen at least a few of the crazy rumors and theories circulating about the film's plot and characters. Let's take a look at the top 10 most popular rumors, in no particular order. At least a few of these could be true, so a *SPOILER ALERT* should be advised. 

1. Kylo Ren is Luke Skywalker

Why not start with the most popular and controversial theory? Ever since furiously striding through a snowy forest and igniting his now-iconic crossguard lightsaber in the first teaser, Kylo Ren has been rumored to be Luke Skywalker in disguise. His constantly-present mask/helmet, unnaturally deep voice, and obsession with Darth Vader have all corroborated this theory since. 
The main argument against this is a pretty good one: 32-year-old Adam Driver is undeniably playing Kylo. The image above shows the character clearly bearing the face of Driver, and not Mark Hamill. Plus, it wouldn't really make sense for Luke to burn his father's body on Endor, and then later change his mind and come back for the helmet. 

Conclusion: No, Kylo Ren is probably not Luke Skywalker himself, but he could easily be another member of the family. 

2. BB-8 Has the Skywalker Lightsaber 

Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, used by Luke in The Empire Strikes Back and seemingly lost on Cloud City, promises to be a major plot device of The Force Awakens, after the footage of Finn wielding it. But how is it found again? Who gives it to Finn? The answer might just involve a certain adorable astromech. 
It's been reported that the first scene in the film -- presumably after the classic opening crawl -- is the Skywalker lightsaber tumbling through space. It lands on Jakku and winds up in the hands of "the Vicar", AKA Lor San Tekka, played by the legendary Max von Sydow. Poe Dameron arrives to pick it up, but Kylo Ren and the First Order attack the village. Knowing that he'll be captured, Poe places the lightsaber in his personal droid, BB-8, who escapes into the night. 
Maz Kanata hands the lightsaber to Leia
BB-8 later meets Rey, and then Finn. The three of them are chased by stormtroopers and TIE fighters sent to retrieve the lightsaber. It isn't until they meet Han and Chewie that BB-8 decides to reveal his cargo, prompting a visit to Maz Kanata, who will determine its significance...and its destined recipient. 

Conclusion: Yes, BB-8 most likely does have the lightsaber. The reports aren't confirmed, but they certainly make a whole lot of sense. 

3. Rey is Han and Leia's Daughter

Ironically, Rey's self-declaration as "No one" in the trailer made it pretty obvious that she's someone, and she's someone important. With desert origins, an affinity for mechanics, and evident piloting skills, she's absolutely screaming Skywalker. 
How exactly the Internet decided that she's Han and Leia's daughter, rather than Luke's, probably has something to do with the footage of her flying the Millennium Falcon, and the next rumor on this list. 

Conclusion: Very likely. 

4. Kylo Is Her Twin Brother 

Kylo Ren is rumored to be a Skywalker for the same reasons he's rumored to be Luke: obsession with Darth Vader, Force sensitivity, homemade lightsaber, et cetera. So why are people convinced that he's Rey's twin, and not Luke's son?

There have been rumors circulating for a while, but fuel was added when Lucasfilm president and mega-producer Kathleen Kennedy told Us Weekly that there "could" be more twins in the Skywalker family. Considering that Rey and Finn are on opposite sides of the Force, this could make for a very interesting dynamic in The Force Awakens and its sequels.

Conclusion: A little far fetched, but still quite possible.  

5. Finn is Lando's Son 

Who says that Rey and Kylo have to be the only descendants of Original Trilogy characters? Finn's age also makes him eligible to be the son of a familiar face, and since he's black, all fingers have pointed to Lando Calrissian, one of the the most notable (and only) black characters in all of Star Wars
Calrissian was quite the smooth-talking womanizer, so it would be no surprise if he accidentally fathered a child. And even if Finn has the Force sensitivity to match his lightsaber skill (which is yet unknown), that trait isn't necessarily hereditary, so it wouldn't have had to come from either of his parents. One wonders how Lando's son would end up raised as a stormtrooper, but if his mother birthed him in secret and gave him away, he could easily get picked up by the First Order. 

But it's been stated repeatedly that Finn's character was written without a specific race in mind. And many fans have argued that it would be racist for two of the three major black Star Wars characters to be related (the third is Mace Windu). If you think about it, it would actually be perfectly fine if Finn was part of no familiar lineage, if he was just a new character with no important parents. 
On another note, at the The Force Awakens red carpet premiere on Monday, Billy Dee Williams answered only "We'll see" when asked if he would reprise his role as Lando in Episodes VIII or IX. Maybe, like the rest of us, he just has no idea what the writers have planned, and won't rule out his return. Or maybe he knows that Finn is Lando's son, leading him to (reasonably) believe that his character could show up for a little family reunion. 

Conclusion: This is a rumor backed up more by thought processes like "Hey look, Finn's black and Lando's black, they must be related!" rather than actual logic or reason. 

6. Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis 

The film's (arguably) most mysterious character is Andy Serkis' Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren's master who JJ Abrams described as "the most powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force". We've heard his voice, uttering "There has been an awakening, have you felt it?", but we've seen absolutely nothing of him, besides some leaked (and probably inaccurate) concept art of a humanoid snake. 
Fans have theorized that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis, a great Sith Lord who had the power to restore life to the deceased. His self-titled novel is no longer canon, but Palpatine mentioned him in Revenge of the Sith as an ancient myth who was murdered by his apprentice (believed to be Palpatine himself). 
Palpatine (left) and Plagueis (right)
Serkis described Snoke as a "vulnerable" character with a "huge agenda", who is "aware of prior events". If Plagueis somehow brought himself back to life, either in his natural Muun body or in the body of another species, he could have spent the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War waiting out for his chance to take power. Serkis said that he's "very much a newly-introduced character", but that could still technically qualify as Plagueis, who has never before been introduced in the Star Wars canon. 

Conclusion: It's definitely not impossible. 

7. Luke Has Turned to the Dark Side 

We all know that Luke's missing, but why? Due to the Dark Empire Expanded Universe comic book series, fans have predicted that Luke has turned to the Dark Side before the events of The Force Awakens. Yes, he repeatedly and forcibly rejected the Dark Side in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but who knows? Who's to say that his own great power didn't corrupt him in the years following ROTJ? Like father, like son?
Luke in Dark Empire
There's at least one good argument against this: the only known footage of Luke in the film shows him with R2-D2. Luke may be subject to the temptations of the Dark Side, but there's no way that R2 would follow him.

Conclusion: Unlikely. 

8. We've Seen This All Before

The Force Awakens is clearly a sequel to the Original Trilogy with many returning characters, but as more plot details emerge, fans are suspecting that it's really a subtle reboot of A New Hope. Once again, we're in a period where the Jedi are only a myth, and an unstoppable force of evildoers are faced by an underdog group of rebels. The Resistance is obviously the new Rebellion, and the First Order is obviously the new Empire, but there are several more parallels that you might not have noticed: 
Rey is the new Luke: the young mechanic/pilot destined for greatness, longing to leave their sandy world behind.
BB-8 is the new R2-D2: the cute, loyal droid on a secret mission who fatefully meets the young mechanic/pilot.
Kylo Ren is the new Darth Vader: the hot-tempered, high-ranking villain who wears a helmet that seems to modify his voice. 
Supreme Leader Snoke is the new Emperor: the ultimate and most powerful orchestrator of all the evil plans, who won't face off with our new heroes until later installments in the trilogy. 
Luke might be the new Ben Kenobi: the previously great Jedi Knight who comes out of isolation to teach the ways of the Force to the next generation of heroes. 
Starkiller Base is the new Death Star: the huge, round superweapon that poses an incredible threat to the galaxy. 
Captain Phasma is the new Boba Fett: the caped villain who doesn't actually show up in many scenes, but gets tons of attention because their armor just looks so cool. 
Maz Kanata is the new Yoda: the wise, powerful, ancient, and very small mentor to the new heroes. 
Jakku is the new Tatooine: the sandy planet of outlaws where the movie starts. 

Additionally, one could argue that Poe Dameron has Luke's X-Wing piloting skills, combined with Han's cockiness. 

Conclusion: The filmmakers are intentionally attempting to recreate the magic of A New Hope. We can only assume that several key character/plot points will be different between the two. 

9. Darth Vader Will Return 

Kylo is a member (and perhaps even the leader) of the Knights of Ren, a mysterious group that most likely shares his obsession with Darth Vader. But they might be more than just a fan club; rumor has it that Kylo (and the rest of the Knights by extension) adore Vader so much that they don't just want to imitate him with their masks and capes, or "finish what [he] started", their true purpose is to resurrect the Sith Lord. 
The Knights of Ren
How exactly would they perform such a feat? Vader's charred helmet, repeatedly shown to be in the possession of Kylo, could be an important tool in that process, as well as Vader's blue lightsaber that he wielded when he was a Jedi. That would explain why exactly the First Order is so keen on getting it from BB-8. And if Supreme Leader Snoke (Kylo's master) is indeed Plagueis, his mythical powers of resurrection would be the key to this operation. 

The real question is: will the Knights succeed? After his climactic duel with Finn, and then Rey, it's unlikely that Kylo will be able to retrieve the lightsaber before fleeing the crumbling Starkiller Base. But one report from Making Star Wars suggests that during an interrogation with Rey earlier in the film, Kylo learns that the lightsaber isn't the only way to achieve his goal. 
While the return of Vader in The Force Awakens or its sequels would certainly be jaw-dropping, casting him would be difficult; he would naturally be resurrected in his human form, and therefore need to look like Hayden Christensen. And neither the fans nor the filmmakers want that name attached to anything Star Wars ever again.

Conclusion: Unlikely to occur in The Force Awakens, but possible for future installments. 

10. Han Solo or Chewbacca Will Die 

Ugh. We all know that someone's gotta die in The Force Awakens, and it's more likely to be an old Original Trilogy character, rather than a fresh-faced newbie. All fingers originally pointed to Han, and it makes sense; he's (arguably) the most beloved Star Wars character, so his death would have a huge emotional impact, and since Harrison Ford famously wanted Solo to die in the Original Trilogy, he may have only agreed to return on the conditions that he would finally be free from the franchise. 
But what if the filmmakers wanted to kill a character that was almost as beloved, but not too important to the plot? That would be Chewbacca, Han's loyal and lovable co-pilot/BFF. In the Expanded Universe, the Wookie is the first major Original Trilogy character to die, so it wouldn't be ridiculous for the writers to loosely copy this pattern. 

Conclusion: One of these guys could easily be riding the Falcon for the last time. 

Which of these rumors do you think are true? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you!

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