J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens provided fans with yet another solid addition to the franchise. Though the films’ story was similar to A New Hope, the movie felt like a breath of fresh air after the rather disappointing and lackluster prequels. However, The Force Awakens left fans with more questions than answers, and I’d like to address a few of them in this article. While there are many theories and thoughts about the future of this franchise, questions must be asked. In no particular order, here are “7 BIG Questions We Want Answered in Star Wars: Episode VIII.”
#1. Who are Rey’s Parents?
Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: Episode VIII, has big shoes to fill and a lot of questions to answer and- because this has to be the most-asked question of all. All we know of Rey thus far involves her working as a scavenger for Unkar Plutt. She also learns a bit of her history in the one scene when she touches Luke’s lightsaber (which I’ll get to later) and shows her a past vision of her parents dropping her off to Unkar Plutt on the planet Jakku. She is also a Force user as demonstrated when we saw her in combat against Kylo Ren.
It’s difficult to say who, in fact, she is related to. Most people (including myself) believe her to be Luke’s daughter as there are a few subtle hints that this is the case. She was clearly established as the pivotal character of this franchise, and knowing Lucasfilm, she has to be related to someone. Could she be a Skywalker, or maybe a descendant of the Solos? Or could she have been one of Luke’s students who was brought up learning about the ways of the Force at Luke’s Jedi Temple before things took a turn for the worse? All these questions MUST be answered at some point and hopefully we will get them answered in Episode VIII.
#2. Where does the New Republic go from here?
The ENTIRE Hosnian Prime system was completely wiped out by the ultimate weapon on Starkiller Base. The Republic had just become strong again many years after the destruction of the second Death Star from the Battle over Endor. They were able to re-create a government system and keep it in tact up until this point. Unfortunately for them, the First Order wiped out all of their major resources and planets with one blow. Now, it is only the Resistance that stands with General Leia taking charge.
Times are tough once again for the New Republic as they are going to have to somehow rebuild a new government that took a major hit. While the First Order has also lost Starkiller Base, at least their officers and officials remain in tact and will continue to dominate the universe through fear and power. The New Republic will have to pick themselves up yet again with General Leia now having to make the tough decisions moving forward. How will the New Republic rebuild, and where do they go from here? Hopefully Johnson will fill us in during Episode VIII.
#3. How did Maz Kanata retrieve Luke’s Lightsaber?
“That’s a good question, for another time,” Maz Kanata tells Han Solo. Fans have been asking the same thing ever since we saw the second teaser trailer which showed us a mysterious figure handing the lightsaber over to Rey. Unfortunately, fans still did not get their question answered in this film as Kanata glosses over it entirely. However, the dialogue does give us an indication that it might come up again sometime in the next film.
Luke’s lightsaber was last seen falling (along with Luke’s hand) down to the bottom of a shaft somewhere inside Cloud City on the planet Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back. Eventually, it somehow ends up in the hands of Maz Kanata where it was concealed inside of a chest in her basement. That’s pretty much all we know at this point and hopefully we will get a better understanding of the journey of this lightsaber in a future Star Wars film.
#4. Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?
Snoke appears to be the new Emperor Palpatine in this new trilogy. We can tell from his facial scarring that he must have been in quite a few battles (fighting Luke maybe?) and that he is a man striving for more power. We also know that he is strong in the ways of the Force and is training Ren to focus on the Dark Side. Some fans have speculated that he could be pretty large even though he is just a hologram in this film.
Supreme Leader Snoke is the leader of the First Order and is after the map that leads to Skywalker. But why does this man have a grudge against Luke? Could something have happened between them in the past? All these questions must be answered going forward to get a better understanding of this new villain.
#5. When did Kylo Ren turn to the Dark Side?
It’s no secret by now that Kylo Ren was once named Ben Solo, son of both Han and Leia. Somewhere down the line he was seduced by Snoke while he was training to become a new leader of the Jedi at Luke’s Jedi Temple. However, the Dark Side proved too much for him to fight against and he eventually succumbed to it, thus helping create the First Order. The film made it clear that Ren still has a lot to learn and that Snoke needs to finish his training for him to become the next Sith.
Still, Kylo Ren’s mission is also to hunt down and kill Luke Skywalker. The entire film focused on him trying to retrieve the pieces of the map from the Resistance. He wants to make sure that no more Jedi are around, and Luke appears to be the very last Jedi in the universe. It would be great to see how and when Ren was seduced by the Dark Side. Perhaps we will learn a little bit of history on this character while Rey is training with Luke over on the island.
#6. Who are the Knights of Ren?
We only got but a glimpse of these characters from that flashback scene after Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber at Maz Kanata’s castle. We see them assassinating what look to be villages on an unknown planet, with Ren leading the charge. All these characters bear a slight resemblance to the look of Kylo Ren but it’s difficult to say if the others are also wielding lightsabers. They must be of grave importance because they are one of the focal points of the vision scene.
How and when did the Knights of Ren start? Are these other Knights of Ren fallen Jedi like Ben Solo was? Could the others also have been Luke’s students at the Jedi Temple? These questions certainly must be answered in an upcoming film.
#7. Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?
When asking this question to any Star Wars fan, you should tread lightly. On the one hand, Ben Solo is the youngest and possibly only child left to carry on the Skywalker legacy. If he never changes back to the light, the Skywalker family will die out in flames with Kylo Ren leading the First Order. It’d be a shame to see the Skywalker family go this way. After all, Anakin was the one who started it all and eventually became the chosen one he was destined to become, with Luke as his successor.
On the other hand, you have fans who would revolt if Kylo Ren became Ben Solo again and switched back over to the light side. Why? Because he killed Han freaking Solo! According to some fans, there is no way to redeem yourself if you kill one of the most beloved and iconic characters in film history, lete alone in the Star Wars franchise! To have the son kill his father and eventually turn good, could lead to mutiny.
While we know that Kylo Ren is still being pulled to the light side, his father's death may have supplanted him on the Dark Side for good. Now, he just needs to go back to see Snoke and finish his training. It’s difficult to say where his path will lead him, but I don’t see this character making it out alive by the end of Episode IX.
So those are all the questions I feel are necessary to be answered in Episode VIII. Are there other questions you may have thought of that you would like answered in the next film? I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comment section below and please share!