If there's one thing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens did well (and it did a lot of things well), it was set up the next two movies in the saga with intriguing plot hints and tons of unanswered questions. With the identity of many major players left ambiguous, and the fate of the galaxy at stake, the last eight months have seen fans madly scrabbling for answers, clinging to rumors and spinning speculation out into elaborate theories.
While the set of The Force Awakens was tightly locked down, there have been tons of leaks from the Episode VIII set, revealing certain plot twists and a showdown between Kylo Ren, Rey, and Luke Skywalker.
If you want to believe everything you hear, the rumors for Star Wars Episode VIII map out the majority of the plot for the first third of the film, as well as hinting at what will happen later on. We've collected these from multiple sources, so take them with as much salt as you like, but whether they're certainly intriguing.
We've Already Met Supreme Leader Snoke
Back in February, we theorized that instead of Darth Plagueis or Vader, Snoke was actually a character from the canon book Aftermath. Known only as the Operator, this mysterious Imperial leader pulled the strings behind the scenes, orchestrating another huge battle after the Empire's defeat at Endor.
It was just a theory, of course, but now that Aftermath's sequel has been released, it seems as though Lucasfilm might just be hinting at Snoke's past through their tie-in media.
In the new book — Life Debt — the Operator is revealed to be Gallius Rax, a Fleet Admiral who concieves of the secretive Shadow Council. Thanks to some very clear foreshadowing in Life Debt, it's obvious that this Shadow Council is the precursor to the First Order. Made up of the highest ranking officers in the Imperial military, as well as shrewd political leaders, Rax intended the Council to continue the Empire's rule. Oh, and Hux's father is on the Council, which connects Rax to The Force Awakens.
It's still fairly subtle foreshadowing, but it's entirely possible that Lucasfilm are using the Aftermath books to give some insight into Snoke's past. After all, a minor character from the animated show The Clone Wars turned out to be a major player in Rogue One, so nothing's impossible.
Leia Defends Herself With The Force
I may have been in the minority, but I was pretty gosh darn disappointed to discover that Leia did not actually do anything to hone her Force capabilities after Return of the Jedi. Well, if you also want to see Leia use the Force to do something other than sense the wellbeing of her loved ones, you're in luck — Leia will defend herself using the Force in Episode VIII.
Multiple leaks from the set of Episode VIII have detailed a major event from the beginning of the film — at Han's funeral, an assassination attempt is made on General Leia's life. According to IMDB user Mr_Ghostface_Lives, Leia survives the attack by using the Force to protect herself. Meanwhile, Laura Dern's character takes charge of the Resistance.
This makes a lot of sense, as it would kickstart the action in Episode VIII in an emotionally intriguing way. This plot point to be corroborated by other rumors and comments the actors have made — Carrie Fisher herself mentioned Han's funeral — and it also ties into some more rumors.
Finn Sets Off To Find The Assassin
Spurred on by this attack on Leia, Finn seeks out an information broker he knew from his First Order days. This would be Kelly Marie Tran's character, known tentatively as Aya, and the two team up to hunt down the would-be murderer.
That's pretty much all we know about this plot point, but Aya and Finn's mission would help to drive the plot along, as Rey trains with Luke. Aya's character sounds very interesting — the morally grey scoundrels of Star Wars are usually the most fun characters — and while it seems as though she shares many of her scenes with Finn, we're starting to see why director Rian Johnson is so excited about her role in Episode VIII.
Luke Skywalker Is Not Rey's Father
And finally, if you're firmly Team Rey Skywalker you might be disappointed when December 2017 rolls around, as multiple different sources claim that Luke is not Rey's father. The aforementioned Mr_Ghostface_Lives is sure of this, as is this popular Star Wars leaker. Then there's the fact that JJ Abrams himself said that Rey's parents did not appear in The Force Awakens, which pretty much counts out Luke.
This ties in to other rumors about Luke and Rey discovering the origin of the Force, which stipulated that Rey was in fact the reincarnation of one of the first ever Force users — and that her parents were just normal people.
While that plot point is pretty wild, there's a specific detail mentioned by the rumor which might just make it legit — the Force was first discovered in a tree, and the comic Shattered Empire featured just such a Force sensitive tree. This could be a coincidence, but it seems oddly specific.
It's all coming together.
Before Episode VIII is released, we're going back to the start with Rogue One. Check out all these plot hints and Easter Eggs in the latest trailer...
...and tell us in the comments: Do you think Rey is a Skywalker?