Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker: What Does The Title Mean?
We have some ideas.
Star Wars: Episode IX finally has its title and a first teaser trailer. As revealed during a panel at Star Wars Celebration, the movie is called The Rise of Skywalker. This film is said to be the last of the Skywalker Saga, which began more than 40 years ago with the release of Star Wars: A New Hope. This name suggests the main bloodline of characters that has been integral throughout the saga will take center stage once again. But how?
The conspicuous Skywalker name is the clearest indication of a direction for this film. Along with the return of Emperor Palpatine and what appears to be the wreckage of the second Death Star, the title suggests a movie that will pay heavy homage to the legacy of the series. The "Skywalker" name itself suggests several possibilities.
The most obvious possibility is Rey, the primary protagonist of the new trilogy and the latest to carry on the Jedi legacy. Luke Skywalker, who passed away in The Last Jedi after using a Force projection to save the few remaining members of the Resistance, explicitly said that he would not be the last Jedi, implying that Rey is the first of a new generation. The panel explained that this movie takes place after some time has passed, and Rey seems to have come into her own as a Jedi in the meanwhile. But could she be a Skywalker?
In a pivotal scene with Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, she admits that she's always known information that he sensed as well: that her parents were nobody of significance. Kylo calls them "filthy junk traders" who sold her. The movie juxtaposed Rey's heroism, coming from a bloodline that was not special, to Ren's villainy, hailing from the Vader-Skywalker line.
However, JJ Abrams reportedly had bigger plans in mind for Rey's heritage, and fans have speculated that his return to direct this final installment means he could retcon that detail and make her a Skywalker after all. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has stated he just wants to be surprised and entertained, suggesting he doesn't really mind if Abrams undoes that plot point.
Kylo Ren / Ben Solo
Another clear possibility is Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo. The son of Han and Leia rejected his Jedi legacy and embraced the ways of his grandfather, the villainous Darth Vader. The first of the new trilogy established that he idolized the Dark Side of the force, even killing his own father to prove his devotion to it.
The second film showed a more complex side of Kylo Ren, who turned after seeing his Jedi Master Luke apparently ready to cut him down in his sleep because of the darkness inside of him. He even betrayed his Sith Master Snoke, but it wasn't a change of heart: he expected Rey to join him and rule the galaxy, and became enraged when she rejected him.
If this final movie redeems Kylo Ren, he could also embrace the Skywalker name to put his past behind him. The introduction of the Emperor as an even greater Dark Side threat could give him a foil to fight against.
Aside from her son, Leia Organa is the last known living member of the Skywalker bloodline. She's never canonically adopted the Skywalker name, though, and actress Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016. Her part will be composed of unused footage, so it's doubtful she'll be so central to the film to be the singular meaning of the title.
The Rise of Skywalker could refer not to the bloodline itself at all, but rather to a symbolic legacy of the Skywalker name living on beyond the family. This film very may well see Leia and Kylo Ren both perish, which would end the actual bloodline. But the family as a whole has had a profound impact on the fate of the galaxy, both for good and ill, and this film is said to close their arc. The name may simply refer to how the Skywalker clan is remembered as the galaxy moves on without them.
Similarly, the return of the Emperor suggests this movie will lean heavily into the franchise's long history. The Rise of Skywalker could refer to the past, with flashbacks and new context given to the rise of Anakin Skywalker or Luke Skywalker. Thematically, this could also relate to the end of the bloodline and how it will be remembered.
All of the Above
One element in Star Wars titles is how often they carry multiple meanings that touch on various plot points and symbolism. Revenge of the Sith, for example, could be interpreted as both the culmination of the machinations of Darth Sideous to wipe out the Jedi, and the more personal story of Anakin's corruption. Return of the Jedi could be read as the actual return of Luke Skywalker, a Jedi, and the return of the Jedi Order. The Rise of Skywalker could refer to several possibilities at once, and the ability to interpret it in several ways simultaneously would align it with the legacy of the series. That would be a fitting way to end the Skywalker Saga.
For more, check out our Episode 9 trailer breakdown.
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