Generally I enjoy watching Star Wars and blogging about all the unique Star Wars gifts I find on my various travels, but the recent movie trailer (and subsequent speculation) has enthralled my mind.
Picking up on some of the scintillating Last Jedi theories that have been swirling around (my current favorite is that we are going to see a black light saber, fingers crossed!), I wanted to make some thoughtful comments and hopefully some provocative predictions about who is going to the Dark Side in Episode VIII—and who is going to die.
1 Rey Joins the Dark Side
This one seems to come up here and there, so I’m starting with the tamest first.
The interesting bit will be how she might turn to the Dark Side of the Force.
Let’s start with the basics.
At any one time there can be only two Sith Lords.
I know, the current masters of the Star Wars universe have explicitly stated that there is no Sith Lord in the current movies.
But that doesn’t mean the mind of the creators is not modeling some aspects of the series after patterns they have witnessed in the original movies.
At any one time there can be only two Sith-like Dark Lords Who Are Up to No Good and Definitely Not Using the Light Side of the Force to Save Lives and Make People Happy.
Currently that is Kylo Ren and Snoke. (again technically they might not be Sith Lords, but they are users of the Force who work in the darker shades).
Usually there is another potential apprentice that the Sith Lord has an eye on waiting in the wings. In the example of the most recent movies, while Count Dooku was Palpatine’s apprentice, Palpatine discovered a better apprentice in the form of Anakin Skywalker.
A conflicted young Jedi Anakin just had to kill a more powerful Count Dooku.
So according to the logic of previous stories, the young conflicted Jedi kills the weaker of the two Siths as a way of joining the Dark Side.
So from what we saw in the recent trailer it’s quite possible that Rey could become conflicted and will kill Kylo Ren and join Snoke’s side. Kylo is definitely not going to be persuaded by the ghost of Anakin Skywalker to change his ways, that much I am certain of.
If Rey kills Kylo it sets the series in an interesting and exciting direction because it prepares us for a great betrayal in the next movie. Rey turns to the Dark Side after killing Kylo and then in the conclusion to the series returns to the Light side of the Force by then killing Snoke.
What would make her kill Snoke you ask?
If Luke does one thing well, it’s turn users of the Dark Side of the Force away from the Dark Side—especially when a Greater Evil must be stopped (more on that later.)
But in this context, after much persuasion by Luke, Rey could potentially kill her master Snoke.
Why would Rey Kill Snoke and not Luke?
Because Sith Lords bring balance to the force, not Jedi.
Notice it was Darth Vader–a Sith Lord–that killed his master—a Sith Lord—and not Luke who killed Palpatine. And this was said to have brought balance to the Force.
While all this sounds plausible and a direction I would actually like the movies to take, I’m dubious of it and for obvious reasons.
2 Luke Joins the Dark Side
This probably seems fairly obvious as well, given the depiction of Luke on the current Episode VIII movie poster.
I want to start with the idea that Luke is actually in the position his father was in so many years before.
Snoke is likely looking for another more powerful apprentice and Luke is likely to be far superior to Kylo Ren in his abilities to use the Force. It would then be on Luke to kill Kylo Ren, become Snoke’s apprentice, and then kill Snoke.
Rey is probably not as skilled a user of the Force as the scion of The One, so Snoke wouldn’t be all too interested in taking her on as an apprentice.
But isn’t Luke a more powerful user of the Force than Snoke?
If Snoke is something as ancient as the Dark Side of the Force itself, then probably not. While some admittedly well-supported theories conjecture that he is, I’m going to go against popular thought for the moment.
So what if Luke is the more powerful of the two?
Then Luke will kill Snoke.
In this movie.
That sets up the concluding Episode Nine to be Finn and Rey versus Luke.
To my mind, this is the only real way this series can end with the dramatic potency it deserves (based on the current information we have).
Luke Skywalker is far too important in the Star Wars universe to be relegated to the margins during the twilight of his character’s narrative arc.
That coupled with an equally potent narrative thirst for the flourishing of Rey means that these two must face each other in an epic struggle.
This would also be a clever inversion of Episode III’s plot: instead of the pupil turning to the dark side and the Jedi master having to strike the pupil down (as was the case with Obi Wan and Anakin), in this conclusion the Jedi Master will turn to the Dark Side and it will be to the pupil to strike the master down.
3 Neither Rey nor Kylo Become Jedi or Sith Lords And We All Get Very Bored. The, “There’s So Much More” But Not Really Theory.
Both Rey and Kylo can be cast as conflicted Force users and I don’t think there is strong evidence that either are convinced to solely use one side of the force or swear allegiance to their respective masters (even though Kylo slaughtered a bunch of Jedi and supposedly passed a test to prove his allegiance to Snoke).
In this case Luke truly is the last of the Jedi, the last to be raised in a world where the Force was a binary opposition of Light vs Darkness (we already see evidence that the series and Luke himself have progressed past this point of view in the trailer for Episode VIII).
A bit predictably, this also aligns to our (post)modern sensibilities of living in a world of moral greyness, or beyond Good and Evil as a famous philosopher once wrote.
In this direction the continual tension between light and darkness will be observed and there will be no more official Jedi (which would mean there could also never be any truly evil Sith Lords) which would thus be a version of bringing balance to the Force.
There will be a boring face off between Luke and Snoke with each of the respective apprentices battling side by side with their master. The result of which of course will be Luke and Snoke dying and probably a Shakespearian “time for the weddings” ending, where Katniss and Peta I mean Rey and a mended Kylo Ren (of course he’s losing a limb) unite in bonds of love and companionship.
We will be left with an Epilogue explaining the continual struggle between users of the force who lean more towards the light or more towards the dark and who are engaged in battles on the fringes of galactic society, but a swelling conflict will never be seen again.
This is a highly plausible direction that the series will take because our postmodern world is one of ironic balance in which there is tension between two opposites but never a victory of one side over the other. This point of view suffuses the life of almost everyone you meet, so it would be hard for the writers and directors to rise above the present epoch and think very differently.
4 Kylo Ren Refuses the Dark Side and Joins Luke
Luke has a history of turning people from the Dark Side of the Force.
In fact he is the only one to do such a thing, which has got to be one of the greatest achievements of a Jedi ever.
Especially when we consider who it was that Luke turned from the Dark Side—one of the most powerful users of the Force to have ever strode across the stars and wielded a lightsaber—Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader.
It is completely plausible that Luke could confront Kylo and persuade him to refuse the mantle of the Dark Side and re-join Luke which would mean Rey then becomes Snoke’s apprentice. And in order for Rey to complete her training as a Sith Lord she would have to kill Kylo Ren, leaving Luke as the Last Jedi (with two powerful Sith-like Lords to kill nonetheless).
The final showdown would be Luke and Finn joining forces to convert or kill Rey along with Snoke.
5 Kylo Ren Is Not Getting Smoked but Luke Skywalker Definitely Is
This is another highly plausible direction the film might take.
It provides room for Luke Skywalker to go through an indelible and epic light saber duel with Kylo while a somehow incapacitated Rey looks on as Luke is probably struck down by Kylo’s wild red lightsaber.
In this way Luke’s death will be much like Obi Wan Kenobi’s in the original films. It will give him a gracious, even glorious death and clear the way for the narrative ascendancy of Rey.
If this happens then the narrative will likely become about Rey trying to save Kylo Ren and bring him back from the Dark Side which while I don’t think will be an epic story, would at least provide for a warm and comforting conclusion to the series as a whole.
6 No Matter What Happens, Kylo Ren is Definitely Getting Smoked
After adumbrating these possibilities, one thing seems obvious.
Kylo Ren is definitely getting smoked in this movie.
It will then be either Luke or Rey who is the next Sith Apprentice or the Last Jedi.
Of course because it is a story it doesn’t have to adhere to any sort of logic whatsoever and is definitely not bound by the logic of its past. That’s what make stories so exciting.
We will have to see what goes down this December!
If you think any of these are spot, contemptibly nutty, or you have more interesting theories of your own, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!