Speculation makes the world go ’round for Star Wars fans suffering through interminably long waits between films. We fill in story gaps and give characters a past, present and future, only to usually have it scuttled by the real thing. As long as we don’t fall in love with our own head-canon, we’ll be fine.
In this new era of Star Wars, everything is linked and everything counts as part of the larger whole. As one mystery is solved, countless more will replace them.
This post attempts to connect unresolved plot points, as well as raise new questions. If you’ve listened to the podcast before, you’ve certainly heard us touch on some of the points highlighted in this post. Fair warning: I discuss things from both Bloodline and Aftermath: Life Debt, so if you haven’t read those books yet, you may be better served by bookmarking this page for later. I also reference rumoured reports from the set episode eight set, because they don’t sound outlandish. Am I going to make assumptions in this post? Yup! Will I make some leaps that may or may not have merit? Absolutely! Am I playing right in to rumour mongers hands? Maybe. Anyway, my hope is that this post is taken as a lighthearted attempt at finding some clarity. Hell, The Freemaker Adventures make an appearance, so let’s not try to take this too seriously, ok?
My theory starts with the mysterious “Operator” a.k.a. “the Fleet Admiral” / in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, later revealed to be Gallius Rax in Wendig’s follow-up, Aftermath: Life Debt. Although it is never spelled out, this character’s description throughout the book leads us to believe that he is Supreme Leader Snoke. But it has to be said that Rax has some weird traits that could ultimately be a red herring. Nevertheless, Rax’ actions and motivations in Wendig’s two books indicate that he could be the scarred mastermind pulling the strings for the First Order.
Rax’ story kicks off 30 years before Aftermath: Life Debt begins, as a kid during the prequel era (think a few years after The Phantom Menace). Also of note, this Gallius Rax fellow hails from Jakku. Interested yet? I thought so! In the opening chapter of Life Debt, he sneaks aboard the shuttle of Palpatine’s aide, Adviser Yupe Tashu, who’s on Jakku, and seemingly up to some sneaky, Sithly activity on behalf of Palpatine. What in the world could they be up to on a backwater planet like Jakku? We’ll get to that. Over the ensuing years, Rax and Palpatine become close, with Rax even becoming one of Palpatine’s advisors. Very little of Rax’ activities are part of the Empire’s records, so anyone looking to dig up his record of service is going to come up frustratingly empty (hi, Rae Sloane!) Eventually, Rax is entrusted with a huge task by the Emperor himself: guarding something of interest to Palpatine on Jakku.
Assumption #1: Being as close as he was to Palpatine, and perhaps being Force-sensitive (this is never confirmed nor denied in Life Debt), it wouldn’t be a massive leap to think Palpatine told Rax everything he knew, just as Palpatine’s former master, Darth Plagueis showed him everything he knew. A massive blunder by Palpatine given his own history, but the Sith often can’t see their own failings.
Through the prequels, we learned that Palpatine was as calculating and methodical as they come. Here’s another major assumption (number two if you’re keeping track at home): Sidious preyed on the Jedi’s beliefs, and on their precious prophecy of the chosen one. Upon Qui-Gon’s discovery of Anakin, the Jedi believed that the prophecy had come true; that this boy was “the one” who would bring balance to the Force. But what if Plagueis was the one who influenced the midichlorians to create life? Sidious/Palpatine would know about it, right? After having Palpatine’s ear for so long, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Snoke would know of that grand deception as well, and he’d keep it in his back pocket for future use.
Fast forward a few decades to Bloodline, and the dramatic turning point of the book – the reveal of Princess Leia’s (and Luke Skywalker’s) biological Father: Darth Vader (spoilers!). Never having told her son Ben of this massive piece of family history, Leia has to scramble to explain everything to him before he learns the news elsewhere. We can only imagine how Ben would have taken this news having been told so suddenly and abruptly. We’ve learned that Snoke had an eye on Ben for some time. Maybe he even had Ben’s ear to some degree. Assuming he did (assumption #3!) What if part of Snoke’s message to Ben was that his grandfather was a creation of the Sith? Yes – born of the Force, but manipulated by the Sith. How would that taste? Ben, already shaken by the news of his family’s true past, is reeling and wondering what else he hasn’t been told by his parents, or by his uncle Luke. Snoke shatters Ben’s trust in his family, and in the Jedi. With the hook firmly set, Snoke offers Ben a different path, one with the promise of more power, truth, and, fulfilling his grandfather’s agenda.
With the promise of power, and the chance to finish the job that his grandfather started, Ben is all ears. Eventually, Ben buckles under the combined weight of these new revelations and Snoke’s promise of power. Now believing the Jedi to be frauds, as his grandfather came to believe, he destroys Luke’s nascent Academy, and takes on the mantle of Kylo Ren. For his part in this mess, Luke disappears. Sure he’s devastated over the loss of his academy, but he also needs more knowledge (and power) if he’s to prevail over Snoke and the rise of evil. After all, if Snoke told Ben that Anakin was created by Plagueis, how would that affect Luke – not only as a person, but as the last Jedi?
Assumption #4: Early concepts of The Force Awakens posited that Luke was on Ahch-To guarding something – a tomb? A vault? What if he’s been on Ahch-To all this time, never finding what he was looking for once he got there? Or finding it locked inside an ancient Jedi temple that he cannot access? That’s certainly possible, since in chapter 30 of Life Debt, Leia has what can only be described as a Force vision/dream:
“…Then comes a vision of Luke, lost among the stars, searching for something and failing, never returning.”
That certainly sounds familiar, and makes us wonder if Leia can see that far in to the future accurately? The answer seems to be yes.
In keeping with the ‘everything is connected’ line of thought, we’ve seen in the Rebels episode entitled “Path of the Jedi” where only a master and apprentice can open ancient Jedi temples. These temples from Rebels look suspiciously like the conical beehive-looking structures that we see on Ahch-To. We know that it took both Kanan and Ezra to access ancient Jedi Temples, not because they’re individually too weak to open it, but because the Temples simply don’t open without a master and apprentice. Could we interpret the “searching for something and failing” portion of Leia’s vision to mean that Luke is in need of an apprentice in order to access whatever it is that he did find? Maybe the beehive structures aren’t temples at all. In that case, there’s the more elaborate structure that we’ve seen set photos of. Maybe that’s the temple that Luke cannot access? Either way, there could be some connectivity here.
Let’s go a little deeper with assumption #5: Recent unsubstantiated reports have claimed that Rey is the reincarnation of the first-ever Jedi, and that a Force-sensitive tree plays a vital role in the emergence of this first Jedi. We’ve seen what appears to be a unique tree in images from the set of Ahch-To. If this report comes to pass, could this be the Force-fueled tree that gave rise to the first Jedi thousands of years ago?
If so, could this also mean that Ahch-To is Rey’s home, in a spiritual, if not literal sense? Think of the contrast: We meet her on the most arid, dead planet imaginable. Having her be the native of a veritable water world would be a pretty neat storytelling tool.
In the same report of Rey being the reincarnation of the first Jedi, there was also mention of her brother – the manifestation of evil – the dark side. The report says that he kills his sister out of anger and then flees the planet. I’m going out on a limb and will say that he flees to Jakku – the future home of Gallius Rax. Remember him? Rax? The guy who may be Snoke? If this story arc sounds familiar, you’re not crazy. A light side sister and dark side brother sounds suspiciously like the Mortis arc from The Clone Wars. So is this report a lazy rehash of the animated series? Or is it another case of Star Wars rhyming with itself? You get to decide that for yourself.
Interestingly Life Debt describes Jakku as once being a “verdant planet, full of life”. Re-read that last line if you have to.
Jakku was once a green, thriving planet.
So what happened? Why is Jakku now the sandiest place this side of Tatooine? As a part of my crazy theory, this evil brother exiles himself to Jakku after killing his sister on Ahch-To. Being at the far end of the galaxy, he’d sit there and marinate in his dark side feels. Except, he has little-to-no control over his powers, and his bad mojo razes life on the planet. Sound crazy? Why would I think that his mere presence kills off life? For that, I look to the Star Wars Lego: The Freemaker Adventures. Yes, I know, they aren’t canon, but just bear with me before you sprain your eyeballs. The Freemaker Adventures may not be canon, but they do operate within the rules of the Star Wars galaxy and mythos. I believe that there may be subtle clues embedded in these episodes to what we may eventually see in canon.
In the episode entitled “Crossing Paths“, we see Luke’s usage of the Force cause flowers to bloom on Felucia. We’ve never seen anything like that before, and as such it would be easy to dismiss it as something unique to a kid-friendly Lego show. Conversely, those same flowers wither and die in Naare’s presence, who is skilled in the dark side, but clearly has anger control issues. It would seem that something about the dark side, couple with a lack of control of it has the potential to kill off life. The inverse of Luke’s effect. Again, this is something we haven’t seen before. Is this a stretch? Am I stretching? FEEL THE BURN!
Now back to the evil brother: whatever became of him? Are his secrets buried with him on Jakku? Could these buried secrets be what Sidious is after in Life Debt? Just as Luke left in search of the first Jedi temple, had Palpatine discovered the first Sith temple, or ancient source of pure Sith power, decades earlier? In the pages of Life Debt it’s revealed that Palpatine had established a secret research facility on Jakku, and as I mentioned earlier, he places Rax in charge of this facility’s secrecy. Something dark and sinister is buried in the sands of Jakku, and whatever it is, it will have galactic importance.
There appears to be a race between the forces of good and evil to resurrect the power of their respective orders. This is sure to please fellow teammate @choprulz, who has long suggested that future Star Wars movies need to explore the history of the Jedi and Sith. Why not go right back to the beginning?
Where am I going with all of this? I don’t know, probably insane, or at least in dire need of sleep. But maybe we’re starting to see people and places click in to some form of order. This crazy far-reaching, wide-ranging, open-ended theory of mine strings together things from the prequels, right through to episode eight in a probably nonsensical way, and it leaves so many questions still unanswered. I’m still left scratching my head as to why and how Rey turns up on Jakku in the first place. Is her innate Force ability there to suppress whatever is buried on Jakku? The same questions can be asked of Lor San Tekka, and the Church of the Force followers who reside on Jakku. Clearly there’s more to Jakku than meets the eye. Yes, it was the site of the Empire’s last stand, which was touched on in Lost Stars, but will be the central focus of Wendig’s finale, Empire’s End. So it has that going for it. But San Tekka? Church of the Force? The Falcon? Rey? It cannot be a coincidence that all of these things ended up on such a discarded junkyard of a planet at the edge of the known galaxy.
I get it. A lot of this rests on rumours, conjecture, extrapolation, and potentially scrapped plot points. Most, if not all of this is bunk but I think there’s a bit here to gnaw on until we get more solid data.
What do you think of all this? I already know that I’m nuts, so spare me those critiques. Is this speculation gone too far? Or could some sliver of this line up with anything that we’ve learned so far? Hit me up in the comments section below, or tweet me at @tumblingsaber!