As we grow closer every day to the release of Star Wars: Episode VII, the fandom seems to be going wild with speculation on every tiny clue we receive from the set. With that said, I've decided to round up some of the most interesting theories on the movie's plot thus far. These are not my theories - they're just very popular theories that I've decided to break down and take some time to mull over their possibility.
All of these particular theories will be linked to Episode VII and its following installments, just so nobody gets confused!
1. Emperor Palpatine Returns
I highlighted the news of this possible storyline in an earlier article, but for those who missed it: Latino-Review reports that several of their sources have confirmed the return of Emperor Palpatine, who apparently survived his death at the hands of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. While Palpatine has been the reigning bad guy of all previous Star Wars films, I have major doubts (read: I don't want this creepazoid back on screen) that we'll see him again.
Why This Might Be True: Palpatine has been the key villain throughout the Star Wars franchise, at the helm of everything the Empire and the Dark Side do. In the expanded universe books, Palpatine is cloned and returns to wreak more havoc on our heroes once again. It would only make sense to have him finally be defeated, for good, by Luke Skywalker.
Why This Might Be False: It was announced earlier this year that the expanded universe stories have been removed from the Star Wars canon, and that the folks behind the new franchise are looking to recreate long-form storytelling with new shows, spin-off films and book series - so, the EU is being coined as the "Star Wars Legends" canon. With all that in mind, what happened in the books may not happen in the movies at all. While it would be lightly satisfying to see Luke off the Emperor, I feel like Palpatine returning would seriously cheapen Vader's death and reawakening as Anakin moments before. That was an extremely important scene for Luke and Vader. Plus, it seems these films are more focused on the incoming cast -- our familiar faces look poised to guide them and the story forward until they can stand on their own.
2. Luke's Hand Puts the Cards in Play
According to Badass-Digest, [Star Wars: Episode VII](movie:711158) will kick off with... a hand. A hand holding a lightsaber: Luke's hand holding a lightsaber. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega's characters find it on Luke's home world of Tattooine and decide to return it, beginning the adventure that is the new saga. J.J. Abrams also revealed a robotic hand in a recent photo thanking fans for supporting Force for Change, and it's speculated by fans to be that particular hand.
Why This Might Be True: Honestly, it's Star Wars. What's more, it might not even be both Luke's hand and lightsaber that show -- I could see his lightsaber somehow surviving the trials of floating through space (Jedi weapon, I guess) but not really his hand, unless it is, in fact, the "naked" robotic hand we see in Abrams's tweet.
Why This Might Be False: If the hand is part of this story, I really, seriously do not see a human hand surviving in space and still grasping a lightsaber, much less getting past a planet's atmosphere without disintegrating. Science?? Help??? Also, with news of more robotics and conventional effects being used in the film, J.J. Abrams could have used the robotic hand of whatever droid was closest to him.
3. Luke's Whereabouts
In almost every spoiler or leak that's come out recently, one recurring theme is that Han hasn't seen Luke for 30 years. Two major fan theories have spawned around that; the first sees Luke being held captive, on purpose, by a new order of the Sith that is bent on destroying the New Republic and all remaining Jedi; the second is a slightly more basic theory, where Luke has taken up residence at Yoda's old place on Dagobah and is searching the galaxy for new Jedi to train. For the sake of this article's format (and because it's more interesting) I'll focus on the first one.
Why This Might Be True: Luke has already proven that he can infiltrate and carry out an attack on an enemy (a.k.a. Jabba's Worst Party Ever) by being captured, so I wouldn't put it past him to try and do it again. The question is, of course, how long had he been captive, and why did he do it? It wouldn't be unlike Luke to take off for a long period of time, so at least that part of the theory is believable.
Why This Might Be False: Outside of the obvious (the plot leaks being false) it also just seems weird for Luke to take off without any contact with his friends -- unless, of course, he'd end up sharing danger with them. Tiny details like Leia being able to sense Luke alive are also not part of that theory, so this, like everything, is just a waiting game.
Star Wars Episode VII releases on December 18th, 2015.