Star Wars Questions and Answers in Spring 2020

by Todd King, contributing writer

10 Questions with a Few Answers

Star Wars The High Republic. © Lucasfilm.

Some of these questions address plot points from The Rise of Skywalker and some look at lingering questions from other stuff. It seems anticipation for Episode IX's novelization is high based on some of these topics.

Question #1 – Now that the Skywalker Saga is finished, what's next for Star Wars?

Besides the upcoming season 2 of The Mandalorian and the currently running season 7 of The Clone Wars and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor series, yeah, what's next? The next big thing is not a series or a movie, but a campaign of books and comic books comprising interrelated stories that take place in what is now being called, "The High Republic." Here's the official announcement:

Lauch information about The High Republic from the Star Wars website.

For some months now, fans had been speculating that the next set of stories would take place in "The Old Republic," which was the basis for a series of games and comic books from the early 2000s. It was a period that had great potential for material showing some of the earliest days of the Jedi set around 3000 or so years before the movies. The video game, "Knights of the Old Republic," was a popular title for players and critics, and though it is no longer official canon, it set up the notion that the conflict between the Sith and the Jedi was centuries old and opened up the history of this galaxy and its conflicted origins.

Set about 200 years before Episode I: The Phantom Menace, "The High Republic" centers on the Jedi Order and its obligation to keep peace in the galaxy against the forces that threaten it. This part of the timeline will apparently be at the height of the peaceful Republic in the galaxy, and Kathleen Kennedy adds, "We’ll get to see the Jedi in their prime." This was a notion we first seemed to glimpse in Episode I but as the prequel trilogy unfolded, we learned instead that we were seeing the Jedi at the end of their prime. It was a time when the Jedi were unaware of the evil that lurked so close to them. This newly opened timeframe stirs up great opportunities for the authors at Lucasfilm to create new characters and planets, and take a fresh dive into the lore of not-so-ancient Jedi. The following is a video from some of the creative people behind these stories.

Star Wars: The High Republic | Announcement Trailer. Star Wars YouTube Channel.

Question #2 – Is The Clone Wars series finished?

The final season (season 7) is currently underway. All the remaining episodes of the series are expected to be released weekly on Fridays until May 8, 2020. I think it is great that it is being released episodically instead of in a binge-ready gulp. This makes anticipation as much a part of the experience as the unraveling story itself.

Personally, I'm in the midst of a complete watch of all previous seasons, and while I think the first season—which I recently finished—was slow to build, things built up pretty well when they started introducing new characters whose fate I did not know. For example, Cade Bane is a methodical villain who puts our heroes to the test. When events like his theft of a Jedi holocron happen, there is a lot more tension in the story since it deals with the unknown. Too many characters meet their fate in movies we've already seen so we know that the danger they face in some of these episodes won't be their end. That's quite a writing challenge, to keep the viewers surprised, when we know what is coming later. It was a difficulty in the prequel films, too, but when we get more new and interesting characters that challenge ideas instead of people then it all heats up pretty well. Here's hoping for a satisfying conclusion!

Question #3 – What's next at Galaxy's Edge?

We're at a time where both Galaxy's Edge parks are about the same: both have the two main attractions now open to all and it seems Fastpass is on the way, too. However, already on the way is the new Galactic Starcruiser hotel/ship experience in Florida. Set to be built next to the land in Disney's Hollywood Studios, it will be a resort-like thing that immerses guests in the realm of Star Wars 24/7 (or 2 days and 2 nights being the standard stay). Rumor has it that reservations may open up later this year so keep watch on MousePlanet for those details. In case you missed the general info, here's a recent video (released in February) from Disney Parks with some fascinating details about the adventure:

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Coming to Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Parks YouTube.

Question #4 – Will Boba Fett show up on The Mandalorian?

We won't know much of anything until fall of this year when season 2 of the show will premiere on Disney+. If The Clone Wars is anything to go by, I'm learning that anything is possible, and fan-favorite characters can make returns. My educated guess is that Boba Fett's return is a foregone conclusion, and of all the times he has made a return (in several texts that are no longer canon), The Mandalorian sets the absolute perfect stage for such a reappearance. Fett wears Mandalorian armor, he was a bounty hunter, he "died" on Tatooine where the Mandalorian had a mission and a shadowy figure appeared mysteriously at the end, and he could make for a great contrast to our hero, Din Djarin, who tries to be better than just a man trying to make a living the galaxy. He's no good to me dead.

These next 3 questions deal with ideas from The Rise of Skywalker's upcoming novelization.

Question #5 – What's the story behind Rey's new lightsaber?

As sudden as it was revealed in Episode IX, I must admit I let out a tiny shriek of excitement when I witnessed Rey ignite her new yellow lightsaber. Finally, a yellow lightsaber blade officially used in the movie and is now canon!

There wasn't such a color used for the Jedi weapon in the movies before, but it was part of the first toyline. The first Luke Skywalker action figure held a retractable yellow lightsaber and for the last 40 years or so we've wondered why it had that color. Theories about that have been discussed, like maybe there was a yellow one in an early draft of the film but was later changed or that production photos sent to toymaker Kenner showed a yellow blade.

Occum's Razor would say that it was simply Kenner making the toys more colorful and having more variety (the Ben Kenobi figure had a blue lightsaber, so why not give Luke his own). However, seeing one onscreen was pretty cool to me even though it raised many questions, like how did she build it? How did she learn to build it (maybe from those Jedi texts)? And where did she get the kyber crystal for it? Fun things to make into head-canon there.

The movie's novelization has a scene early in its pages showing Rey repairing Luke's lightsaber, and has her reflecting on her quarter staff and how she might turn it into a lightsaber later, even with a hinge to fold it as a double-bladed one. This foreshadows her vision on the remains of the Death Star when she encounters her dark-side self weilding such a weapon, albeit with Sith-red blades. I've seen arguments about how crazy it is that she suddenly has a new lightsaber at the end and how we're all having heated discussions about it—yeah, but for me, this is just plain and simple Star Wars stuff, and I love it.

Question #6 – Also at the end of Episode IX, was Rey watching a sunset or a sunrise?

The novelization makes it clear that she was gazing at a sunrise on Tatooine. This contrasts the times when Luke looked upon the twin suns yearning to journey out onto his destiny's path, and when Owen and Beru Lars, while holding baby Luke, stared at the same binary sunset not quite knowing what lay ahead for them or for this child. For Rey, I think it means that good finally won the day and that the light side has brought balance to the Force. For me, it means it is a representation of the cyclical nature of the universe. The sun will rise again and the sun will set again and time moves on no matter who or what has won the day.

Question #7 – What was Finn trying to say to Rey all through the movie?

We've learned that he was trying to tell her that he could feel the Force and was becoming sensitive to it. When I first heard Finn trying to utter this to her, and got cut off by sinking into quicksand, I thought he was trying to confess his love for her. In The Force Awakens he does seem to develop an affection for her and it would have made sense to me that he harbored such feelings for her. I didn't think these feelings would be brought to light since The Last Jedi put him and Rose in a quasi-romantic path, but that was quickly abandoned in this movie.

As much as it seems a travesty that Rose (and Finn) didn't have such a strong influence on the movie's events this time, I do think it's good that Finn has potential in the Force. The Force seems to choose people like him and with his closeness to Rey and his fighting with Luke's lightsaber, it fits. In the film, at least, the idea was barely developed and the words never came out of Finn's mouth. The story may come to more light in the novelization but if this was part of his character, it really should have been in the movie, too.

Question #8 – So, was Palpatine a clone or what?

Yes, he was a clone. It was guessed in the movie that either it was some Sith power, dark magic, or cloning that enabled the Emperor to return. Bascially it was all of that combined. The movie did not give a real answer to that question but once again the novelization does. Apparently Palpatine transferred his consciousness to some kind of clone petri dish or something that was able to live until enough of a body was built that could host it. It didn't quite work at first since one clone did indeed live but couldn't keep (or rejected) his consciousness and was considered a "failure" by the powers of the Sith. This failed clone did grow to be a man and that man became the father of Rey. That's how her bloodline was connected to the Emperor.

Another clone later successfully merged the shadow of Palpatine to a somewhat-functional body. But the body wasn't going to work and it seemed then that his consciousness could only revive itself in a fully living blood-related host (i.e. Rey). She refused. But her dyad with Ben Solo and their powerful Force bond—something that seemed beyond their control—was something Palpatine could harness. He did harness this power but it's something he couldn't break from Rey and Ben. That became his undoing when Rey's connection to others in the Force, both living and dead, went beyond Palpatine's expectations and enabled Rey to destroy the last Sith. I know the minutiae of the cloning and the powers and such probably would have slowed the movie down (well, it could have used a little pacing in some places), I find it fascinating, even if it seems an afterthought of the script.

These last two are unanswered questions from The Force Awakens.

Question #9 – How did Maz get Luke's lightsaber?

Maz said it was a story "for another time." That time never came and really disappointed me. The journey of that object isn't just a matter of how a little prop got from one place to another. This also wasn't just about it being Luke's weapon. This thing gave Rey her vision of the Force and began her journey as a Jedi. It means more than just a lost item. I can only go by references in the comics that Lando may have recovered it at some point probably after he and Luke had been searching for other items like the wayfinder. Other than that, it's still a mystery and one that deserves unraveling.

Question #10 – How did Kylo Ren get Darth Vader's mask?

Like Luke's saber above, this is more than just an object. Ben Solo, as Kylo Ren, seemed to speak to it and hear answers from it. The Rise of Skywalker kinda sorta revealed that it was probably Palpatine speaking through it to tempt Ben to the dark side, but it still doesn't answer the question of how the mask was obtained. It was last seen burning in a funeral pyre on Endor as Luke watched it melt away. Who found it there? Did Palpatine send one of his Snokes to Endor to retrieve it? Did it enable him to communicate through it because he originally made it (Episode III?) and it had dark-side powers? Again, a really cool story is there just waiting to be told. And that's how it seems with a lot of Star Wars anyway. I guess we have to use our imaginations. Sure, yeah, but an official tale would be interesting, too, and could exist alongside our imaginations.

What do you think?