Long, long ago in a galaxy that is actually our galaxy, rumors began circulating in the summer of 2014 that the basic premise of Star Wars: Episode VII — which didn’t even have its The Force Awakens title at the time — involved the film opening on Luke Skywalker’s severed hand floating through space gripping the blue lightsaber. Several iterations of this tale have been discussed in the past, including one version told by Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill, that the hand would burn up in the atmosphere of Jakku and Rey would discover the lightsaber in the sand. The final film obviously wound up being quite different, but elements might remain in the upcoming Rise of Skywalker.
If you’ve ever wondered why director J.J. Abrams cut such a scene from the final version of the film, maybe it’s because Abrams and/or Lucasfilm decided to preserve the mystery and use this sequence in Episode IX instead?
What if The Rise of Skywalker opens on this very scene because the implications of how Maz Kanata wound up with the lightsaber and what happened to Luke Skywalker’s will have a hugely significant impact on the film? Most Star Wars movies begin in outer space, so wouldn’t this be a rad way to kick off the final Skywalker film?
If there’s one lingering plot hole created by the new trilogy that needs an explanation by the end, it’s how Luke’s lightsaber fell down the shaft at Cloud City on Bespin and somehow wound up in Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana. These planets are incredibly far apart, so the obvious explanation is that someone found the lightsaber — and probably the hand too — and both circulated through the black market before a Force-sensitive Maz Kanata claimed the weapon. She called it a story for “another time” when asked about all this in The Force Awakens.
Well Maz, that “other time” is now. (Side bar: Maz’s renewed important in a story just like this during Rise of Skywalker would explain why she was shoe-horned into The Last Jedi.)
One way that The Rise of Skywalker could neatly wrap up the story of Luke’s lightsaber while also explaining Rey’s lineage without retconning The Last Jedi’s revelation of her being a “nobody” is by showing that Luke’s severed hand was used to create Rey. She’d be somewhere between Luke’s clone and his daughter, which would explain why she has such an immediately close relationship with Han Solo and Leia Organa — and perhaps why her relationship to Luke feels so contentious in The Last Jedi. Stories just like this one were frequent in the non-canon Expanded Universe, so seeing one emerge in Episode IX wouldn’t be all that surprising.
When Rey asks the Force to reveal her parents during The Last Jedi, all she sees is a reflection of herself. Either the Force is showing her what she needs to see on some spiritual level or this is a more obvious truth that she has no parents in the traditional sense. Those filthy, alcoholic junk traders that abandoned her may have just been her foster parents.
Some previous theories wonder if Rey was created in one of Palpatine’s labs on Jakku and was later found by junk traders who abandoned her.
Assuming the Emperor never died to begin with, then he probably spent the following three decades struggling to preserve his dwindling life force while also trying to find or create a powerful new apprentice. With Vader burned to ashes and no other known Force users at the time, he may have used his resources to obtain Luke Skywalker’s hand before using it to create Rey. In a sense, a convoluted explanation like this would make Rey a child of the Force caught between the Light and Dark sides of the Force.
Is that what it’ll truly take to find balance?
The original version of Rey’s Force vision from The Force Awakens also included a flashback to Luke’s duel against Darth Vader from Empire Strikes Back, the same fight where Luke loses this hand. Were both these scenes cut for the same reason? Did they tease too much about Rey’s connection to Luke too early in the new trilogy? Telling the story of Luke’s severed hand, as unlikely as it sounds, could be the lynchpin that helps solve every mystery going into Episode IX.
When you connect all the dots, it starts to look like J.J. Abrams set all this up from the very beginning. Let’s not forget that Colin Trevorrow was the original director for Episode IX before he stepped down and Lucasfilm re-hired Abrams. So it’s not like Abram has always been in control of the new trilogy’s story, but he may have been involved in developing the overall plot.
At the very least, we have to find out more about the story behind the lightsaber and it’s accompanying hand, but how much of it is related to the story of Rey? The Rise of Skywalker should tell all when it is finally released.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.