What Does "The Rise of Skywalker "Actually Mean? It May Not Be What You Think
The release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still months away, but ever since the first teaser trailer dropped, we've been wracking our brains trying to decipher what the title might mean. Some popular theories point to either Kylo Ren, Rey, or even Anakin being the titular Skywalker, playing into the "Chosen One" narrative that began with Luke in the original trilogy, and continued with Anakin in the prequels. These sorts of theories tend to lean heavily into ideas of destiny and specialness, with the hero being "chosen" for greatness long before they ever actually do anything noteworthy.
However, we suspect that director J.J. Abrams is attempting to throw us off the scent, and that the title is phrased to be deliberately misleading. Abrams is well-known for his love of "mystery box" storytelling and shocking twists, so it's unlikely that he'd give away a big piece of the puzzle in the title. Furthermore, back in 2015, Abrams gave an interview to Slashfilm in which, when asked about "Chosen One" stories in Star Wars, he said:
"To me, Star Wars was never about science fiction — it was a spiritual story. And it was more of a fairytale in that regard. For m, when I heard Obi-Wan say that the Force surrounds us and binds us all together, there was no judgement about who you were. This was something that we could all access. Being strong with the Force didn't mean something scientific, it meant something spiritual. It meant someone who could believe, someone who could reach down to the depths of your feelings and follow this primal energy that was flowing through all of us. I mean, that's what was said in that first film! And there I am sitting in the theatre at almost 11 years old and that was a powerful notion. And I think this is what your point was, we would like to believe that when shit gets serious, that you could harness that Force I was told surrounds not just some of us but every living thing. And so, I really feel like the assumption that any character needs to have inherited a certain number of midi-chlorians or needs to be part of a bloodline — it's not that I don't believe that as part of the canon, I'm just saying that at 11 years old, that wasn't where my heart was. And so I respect and adhere to the canon but I also say that the Force has always seemed to me to be more inclusive and stronger than that."
Given that Abrams seems to personally reject the idea of Star Wars as a Chosen One narrative, it seems highly unlikely that his ending to the saga would revolve around that particular trope. While Abrams had to know that most theories about the title would centre either Rey or one of the previously established Skywalkers, it seems probable that The Rise of Skywalker was intentionally designed to point us in one direction, while actually indicating something completely different.
Read on for three theories about what The Rise of Skywalker could mean that manage to eschew the Chosen One narrative.