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8 burning questions everyone has about 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and the best fan theory answers

Kylo renLucasfilm

Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead. Do not read on if you have not seen “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Hopefully by now you’ve seen the movie everyone is talking about, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It racked up $1 billion in box office sales in record time.

If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this article right now, go buy some movie tickets, and revisit this after.

If you have seen the new “Star Wars,” you’re likely left with more than a few burning questions. And if you don’t want to wait until 2017 to get answers (that’s when the next “Star Wars” is supposed to come out), you’re in luck. We’re impatient too, so we rounded up the best fan theory answers to hold you over until Episode VIII is released.

These are the biggest questions we have after seeing “The Force Awakens.”

Let’s get to it!

Who is Rey and where did she come from? There are two convincing theories...

We made it through the whole movie and still only know Rey's first name.

We know she's force sensitive and that she's a great pilot. Anakin's lightsaber called to her and she was able to overpower Kylo. One theory is that she's Luke's daughter, but could she be Kylo's secret sister? Maybe she's someone unconnected to the Skywalker clan all together (Obi-Wan's daughter).

Still, there are two strong theories about her background. 1. That she's Skywalker's bloodline, and 2. she's the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

1. Rey is Luke Skywalker's daughter

The theory that Rey is Skywalker's daughter is supported by how strong the force is within her and the fact that she's a great pilot, just like her theoretical dad. She's also drawn to Luke's lightsaber in the basement of the cantina.

Rey is almost instantly able to do things that took Luke Skywalker years of training to master -- like commanding a Stormtrooper to unlock her handcuffs so she can escape from Kylo Ren. This dad theory is also supported by the film's novelization (the book that Disney/LucasFilms had to sign off on. While the digital version is currently available for purchase, the hard cover won't be available until January 5).

A Redditor transcribed some of the book detailing scenes with General Leia Organa and Rey in them. The transcriptions seem to suggest a more distant familial tie between the two (Leia and Skywalker are brother and sister). For example, this excerpt:

Standing at the foot of the ramp, an uncertain and uneasy Leia found herself fiddling with the seals on the front of the jacket Rey was wearing. 'Foolish nonsense', she told herself even as she continued. Unworthy of her status and position. But it felt so right, and so natural, to be doing so.

'I'm proud of what you're about to do,' she told the girl.

Rey replied in all seriousness. 'But you're also afraid. In sending me away, you're ---reminded.'

Leia straightened. 'You won't share the fate of our son.'

By saying 'our son' instead of 'your brother,' some Redditors believe this implies Rey is not Leia and Solo's daughter.

2. Rey is Han Solo and Princess Leia's daughter

Then there's the 'Rey clearly belongs to Han Solo' camp. Business Insider's Steve Kovach makes a strong case:

Here's the theory: Rey is Kylo Ren's sister. We learn relatively early on in the movie that Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. Kylo -- his real name was Ben Solo before turning evil -- showed early signs that he was strong in the Force, but was leaning toward the Dark Side. So Leia and Han decided to send him off to train with Luke Skywalker, who was working on building a new generation of Jedi.

Why was R2-D2 in low power mode and why did he conveniently awake at the end of the movie?

Lucasfilm/Disney

Did Luke set R2 to awake when the time was right? Either R2 sensed that Luke's lightsaber was near or Luke let him know somehow that it was the right time for him to awaken.

Or perhaps R2 sensed Luke or the Force within Rey -- he did come out of deep power mode only after Rey made it to the Resistance base. He also conveniently woke up right after Han Solo was killed by his son, Kylo Ren.

J.J. Abrams and other writers of 'The Force Awakens' explain why the little droid woke up so late in the movie. They say the new droid in the film, BB-8, led to it.

'BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, 'I've got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?'' Abrams told Entertainment Weekly at a post-screening for the movie. 'The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up.'

The directors played with the timing of R2-D2's awakening. At first, they wanted the little robot to appear earlier in the movie with C-3PO. But they felt, after viewers watched the depressing death of Han Solo, they needed a beloved character tto come back to life. And having R2 wake up at the end of the film was more climatic.

Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?

Disney/Lucasfilm
We don't have any photos of Snoke, yet.

Is the new Sith lord someone we already know or is he a completely new character? Leia appeared to make it seem as if she may have been familiar with him.

The other thought is that he may be Darth Plagueis, a Sith lord referenced in 'Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.'

Though Plageuis died years ago he was apparently so knowledgeable in the dark side he could prevent people from dying. Plus, when he was alive, Plageuis was studying immortality.

Could he have found a way to bring himself back to life?

Here's how one fan on Reddit thinks it could have happened:

You create an illusion, or do die and self-resurrect, or are just gravely injured and able to heal using the Force. Now, as an injured/resurrected Sith Lord, you know you can't return and face your old apprentice one-on-one because he'll kick the crap out of you. However, youcan watch from the shadows as he eliminates the Jedi Order, builds up the Empire, draws out the Son of Skywalker, and self-destructs, leaving you the perfect opportunity to swoop in, corral the Empire's remnants, and take control of the galaxy without needing to do any real legwork. Then, knowing Luke is the most powerful (and still living) Force user out there, you find a weak point you can exploit to take control of that power--what better than a disenchanted, emo youth of the same bloodline? Turn that youth to the Dark Side, bring down the new Jedi Order from within, and move your pieces into checkmate position.

Seems completely plausible and would tie nicely into the prequels. A thread like that would actually give them some on-going relevance.

What plan of Vader's is Kylo trying to carry out?

Lucasfilm

Kylo Ren says he plans to finish what his grandfather started, but Darth Vader was very much at peace when he died in 'Return of the Jedi.' He saved Skywalker from the Emperor, then told Skywalker to tell his sister Leia that he was right -- Darth Vader still had some good left in him.

Is Kylo not aware of how Vader actually died and that Luke helped save Anakin/Vader from the dark side? It seems like this knowledge would put a big dent in Kylo's plans. He repeatedly says he hopes he can be as strong as his grandfather, Darth Vader was, but he's in for a rude awakening when he realises the truth.

Perhaps the best theory is that no one -- outside of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader -- really know how Vader and Emperor Palpatine died. Although in an interview with IGN, J.J. Abrams seems to suggest that Kylo merely idolized the dark side of his grandfather (Darth Vader) and ignored his light side (Anakin Skywalker).

How is the Force so strong with Rey if she hasn't had any training?

One scene a lot of Star Wars fans seem irked by is Rey's get-away from Kylo Ren. In it, Rey commands the stormtrooper who is guarding her cell to unlock her chains, leave the door open, and drop his weapon.

At first, the stormtrooper resists her request and calls her 'scavenger scum.' But Rey tries again, and the stormtrooper obeys. This move is something Luke Skywalker wasn't even able to master without extensive training from Obi Wan and Yoda.

Was this scene just J.J. Abrams going overboard for the sake of a laugh from the audience?

Some are theorizing that not only is Rey Luke's daughter (which is why the Force is so strong in her), but perhaps she trained as a Jedi under Luke before Kylo turned evil and Skywalker disappeared, but she was somehow brainwashed.

During the scene when Luke's lightsaber calls to Rey, she has flashbacks that seem to show her being left by her family on the desert planet. Maybe that all happened after she trained with Skywalker and learned how to use the Force.

Another problem fans have: How did a 'nobody' like Rey beat powerful Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle, again with no training?

One Redditor points out that Kylo Ren was hurt, which gave Rey a leg up, and that Kylo Ren's dark training was never actually completed. Kylo Ren was instructed to bring Rey to Snoke so he could finish Kylo Ren's training, but Rey escaped before that happened.

How did Maz Kanata end up with Anakin and Luke's lightsaber?

Disney/Lucasfilm

We know Luke lost his father's lightsaber in 'Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.' After Vader took his hand off the saber fell somewhere in Cloud City.

In 'The Force Awakens,' the lightsaber is in a room in Maz Kanata's palace. She tells Han Solo he has to wait another day to hear the story of how she came into its possession. That's obviously not going to happen any time soon.

One popular theory is that both Luke and Maz Kanata were supposed to have bigger roles in 'The Force Awakens,' but they got cut.

J.J. Abrams and the other writers said as much in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Abrams said that Luke Skywalker, they realised, was essentially a scene stealer, and if he had a bigger role in the new movie, characters like Rey and Finn -- who will be important in furthering the franchise -- would have been undermined.

In the words of screenwriter Michael Arndt, 'Suddenly you didn't care about your main character anymore because, 'Oh f---, Luke Skywalker's here. I want to see what he's going to do.''

As for Maz Kanata, there are definitely scenes that were shot with her that never made it in the final version, as evidenced in pre-release trailers. So maybe some of the loose ends were initially tied up, then cut for whatever reason by Abrams.

One thing Abrams did let slip: He's said that Maz and Yoda probably crossed paths, which implies that the two old wise characters knew each other and may have helped Skywalker together at some point.

How did the man in the beginning of the film end up with a map of Luke's whereabouts?

Disney/Lucasfilm

We thought Max von Sydow's character Lor San Tekka may have a bigger role in the film but he was only at the start to give a partial map of Luke's whereabouts to Poe Dameron.

According to StarWars.com, we know Lor San Tekka was affiliated with a Jedi group called The Church of the Force. The site says he helped Luke 'recover secret Jedi lore' that the Empire tried to destroy.

It seems like Luke may have left the map with him, but that they weren't related by blood.

Why did Luke disappear?

One of the first things viewers of the new Star Wars movie are told is that Luke Skywalker 'has vanished.'

We know Luke was training a group of younger Jedi until his nephew was swayed by the dark side. It sounds like Kylo may have taken out the other Jedi training alongside him, much like Anakin Skywalker did in Episode III.

Did Luke feel guilty about the loss of a potential group of Jedi or did he flee because he sensed he may get consumed by the dark side as well? Or did he know that the only way to defeat the growing dark side would be to hide himself, the last remaining Jedi, away until the right moment?

We know Luke has walked a fine line between both the dark side and the light in the past.

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