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Five Things Episode VIII Needs to Explain

This articles contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Force is with us once again, and The Force Awakens has left us with as many questions as it has revelations. Though some pieces of the puzzle will surely be put together thanks to tie-in novels, comic books, and descriptions on the back of action figure packages, there are mysteries in The Force Awakens that need to be solved by the time Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII rolls into town. Here are five big questions that the next installment in the series needs to tackle.

Star Wars - Rey

Who are Rey’s parents?

Our new heroic lead character, Rey, was left on Jakku for some unknown reason. She’s waiting for who left her behind to come back for her. This sounds very close to Luke Skywalker’s childhood on Tatooine, so it’s almost certain that Rey’s parentage is going to come into play. With this being such an enormous part of her character, it would be a shame to have to wait two more films to discover their identities. And Star Wars is infamous for dropping some paternal knowledge in its second installment, so this reveal seems highly likely.

Luke’s got to be her dad, right? Just so he gets to say, “I’m your father.”

Maz and Lightsaber

How did Maz Kanata end up with Anakin’s/Luke’s lightsaber?

When we last left that classic blue-bladed lightsaber in The Empire Strikes Back, it was tumbling down the chasms of Cloud City. In The Force Awakens, Rey discovers the weapon in the basement of Maz Kanata’s temple and Mos Eisley-esque cantina. Cryptically, Maz says that the origins of the lightsaber are a story for another time. That story better be in Episode VIII and not some piece of spinoff fiction. That lightsaber is the Excalibur of the Star Wars mythos, and considering that the last shot of The Force Awakens features Rey handing this incredibly important object to Luke Skywalker, it feels fitting that we’d learn about its journey back to its master.

Speaking of Luke…

Luke and R2-D2

What has Luke been up to?

We’re told that Luke tried to train a new Jedi Order but abandoned that endeavor when his nephew, Ben Solo a.k.a. Kylo Ren, was lured to the Dark Side. Luke then went off into the galaxy, searching for the first Jedi Temple. Did he find it? Is it on that planet we see him at during the final sequence of The Force Awakens? Has he just been staring out at the ocean for decades? Luke Skywalker is one of fiction’s greatest heroes, and considering that a vast majority of The Force Awakens’ plot hinges on the whereabouts of Luke but never gives his presence its due, Episode VIII needs to spend a considerable amount of time playing catch-up with the Jedi Master.

Kylo Ren

Why did Kylo Ren turn to the Dark Side?

Kylo Ren is by far one of The Force Awakens’ strongest elements, but there’s a lot to his character that has been kept under wraps. We’re told that he turned to the Dark SIde due to the seductive power of Supreme Leader Snoke, and we see in a very quick flash what that entailed, but it’s all still very mysterious. Was there some inciting event that caused his betrayal? Was he purposefully misled by Snoke? Has he been fed lies about his grandfather, Darth Vader? Ren struggles with his allegiance to the dark and light side of the Force, and that struggle needs some context in the next film, especially if the filmmakers involved want to maintain such a strong and complex villain.

snoke

Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?

The Star Wars universe has a new big bad. Literally. The enigmatic Supreme Leader Snoke looks to be an enormous being, but since we’ve only witnessed him as a holographic transmission, it’s possible his size isn’t what we’ve been lead to believe. Still, we know next to nothing about this immensely powerful figure or how he came to take control of the defeated Empire and reshape it into The First Order. We know he’s trained Kylo Ren in the ways of the Dark Side, but that’s about all we’ve got to go on. Why does he look to be severely disfigured? Why exactly does he want to eliminate the Jedi and the Republic? I’m sure we won’t learn everything about Snoke in Episode VIII (we didn’t really get to know The Emperor until the last installment of the original trilogy), but we definitely need a lot more to go on. Physically, he’s imposing and menacing, but he needs a lot more backstory and insight into his motivations for him to join the ranks of the series’ greatest villains.


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