Every Star Wars mystery The Last Jedi solves

Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivers a soaring blend of drama, action, and comedy—but on top of all that, writer-director Rian Johnson's story also manages to tie up a bunch of loose ends from Star Wars' past.

Is Episode Eight a game-changer? We'll leave that up to you to decide. One thing's for certain, though: The Last Jedi successfully thrusts the franchise forward, and it does so by answering a bunch of lingering questions along the way. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away … here are some big Star Wars mysteries The Last Jedi solves. It should go without saying, but just in case: major spoilers follow.

Why does Luke want the Jedi to end?

The ending of The Force Awakens found Rey finally facing Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi who'd gone into hiding. While fans were expecting an emotional meeting between the two, things don't go down as planned. When Rey finds him on Ahch-To, where the first Jedi temple was built, Skywalker is none too happy—in fact, he takes his old lightsaber and tosses it off a cliff. Why is he so disdainful of the Jedi?

It seems that Skywalker took the blame for Kylo Ren's turn to the Dark Side. This all stems from Luke's failure to train Ben Solo in the ways of the Force. Rey presses Luke continuously, leading Skywalker to finally confess the truth: when Solo was his student, Luke came close to murdering him in his sleep.

But why? Simple: he was frightened by the deep well of darkness he sensed in the boy. 

Of course, Luke didn't go through with it. But it was too late to fix this insane lapse in judgement. Ben woke up to find Luke staring down at him with lightsaber in hand, and responded with a fiery rage. Ben destroyed the Jedi school, all its students, and assumed he'd killed Skywalker in the process. Luke wanted the Jedi to end because theirs was a legacy of hubris and failure—capped by Luke's own failure, which turned Ben Solo into Kylo Ren and helped fuel the rise of the First Order. 

Does Snoke's identity even matter anymore?

When The Force Awakens hit theaters, speculation ran rampant regarding Supreme Leader Snoke's real identity. Appearing only as a giant ominous hologram, Snoke was presented as the trilogy's new Palpatine character. His motivations for turning Kylo Ren into the next Darth Vader helped fuel the burning question: who is this guy?

As frustrating as it may be, The Last Jedi doesn't deliver any new revelations on that front. What the movie does do is bring Snoke into focus, displaying the character in all his gold gowned glory as he dishes out pain to Kylo, Hux, and even Rey. Breaking Snoke out of his hologram form helped to display the villain's weaknesses—before a surprise twist put Kylo and Rey on the same team, destroying Snoke and his Praetorian Guard.

When all's said and done, it seems Snoke's true identity is … Snoke. But fan theories will probably continue to flourish. Who knows, it's possible Snoke's backstory will be explored in another Star Wars story. But at this point, it seems we've learned all we need to know about Kylo Ren's former master.

Who are Rey's parents?

It seems that in the Star Wars universe, all our favorite characters are related in some way: Darth Vader was Luke's father, Leia is Skywalker's sister, Han Solo and Leia were married for a time, and Kylo Ren is their angsty villainous son. So when Rey was introduced in The Force Awakens, questions regarding her true lineage ran rampant.

She couldn't just be an orphaned scavenger from Jakku, could she? After years of speculating that Rey was somehow related to Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Last Jedi put all the rumors to bed. In one of the film's most subversive plot twists, Rey faces a deep truth about her parents' identities: tears running down her face, she admits her parents were just a couple of heartless nobodies who sold her off as a child.

Of course this bombshell could be a red herring. But in a series that has become notable for secret familial ties, the notion that Rey could be special just because she is makes for a delightful change of pace.

Does Rey go to the Dark Side?

Let's discuss the unlikely team of Rey and Kylo Ren for a moment. In The Last Jedi, the two find themselves mentally linked through an unexpected connection in the Force. After Rey goes against Luke's wishes, boarding Snoke's ship with the intention of turning Kylo to the Light Side, she gets imprisoned by Ren and faces Snoke in person. 

As it turns out, Kylo brought Rey to Snoke's chambers to prove his loyalty to the Dark Side. But when Snoke's threats against Rey allude to her death, the good part of Ben Solo comes out to play: without warning, he uses the Force to literally slice Supreme Leader Snoke in half. This bombshell leads to one of the best Star Wars fight scenes we've seen in years, as Kylo Ren and Rey fight Snoke's soldiers side by side. It's also a scene that paints Rey's own inner conflict. Could she eventually go to the Dark Side?

Earlier in the film, Rey searches for answers regarding her own lineage. In a scene that feels quite reminiscent of Luke's own trials in The Empire Strikes Back, the scavenger faces her own dark side on Ahch-To. But while Business Insider poses a thought-provoking theory that she could be Star Wars' next big villain, Rey ends up embracing her role as the story's hero.

Does Kylo Ren become a good guy?

A good part of The Last Jedi explores internal conflict. Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren all face their own struggles. And while we've seen Ren torn between the light and dark sides of his soul, the mental connection he develops with Rey flips everything on its head. For a brief moment, The Last Jedi sparks some unexpected hope as the audience begins to root for Han and Leia's estranged son.

When all's said and done, though, all those Kylo Ren good guy theories proved to be just that: theories. 

Ultimately, his allegiance to the Dark Side comes out on top. After cutting his master in half, Ren extends his hand to Rey with the offer of leading the galaxy together. And why wouldn't he? If they teamed up, he'd be able to manipulate her power, giving the First Order control over everything. She denies his offer, and a firm line is drawn between the two. 

In the end, Han and Leia's rogue son steps up to the role of Supreme Leader, becoming the main antagonist of the film. One has to wonder if he'll ever get a new bad guy helmet to really nail home his villainous role. Then again, that scar is pretty sinister on its own.

How does The Last Jedi deal with Carrie Fisher's death?

During the credits of The Last Jedi, "In loving memory of our Princess, Carrie Fisher" appears on the screen. 

While that heartfelt goodbye acknowledges Fisher's untimely passing, the Last Jedi story does not. In one of the movie's climaxes (there are many), Kylo Ren leads an attack on Leia's ship. There's a moment when Leia senses her son's presence. But while he successfully disposed of his father in The Force Awakens, Kylo finds himself unable to fire on his mother. Instead, his minions do the dirty work and Leia's body is literally blown into space.

But Leia is as tapped into the Force as her brother and, as unbelievable as it seems, she catapults her way to safety. Back on her ship, Leia falls into a deep coma, which she remains in for the majority of the film. 

According to Radio Times, Lucasfilm briefly toyed with removing Leia completely from the film. But as Johnson admitted, "But there was no way I could see to try and manufacture some other ending for the character in this movie, that a) would be emotionally satisfying and b) would not require losing some of the scenes that she had in this movie, which I think are emotional and beautiful."

Who is this new girl, Rose?

The newest hero added to the Star Wars universe is a maintenance worker for the Resistance named, Rose Tico (played by Kelly Marie Tran). While she may not be a soldier, she's got some epic technical skills and a lot of heart. With Rey and Finn split up for most of the film, Rose's introduction adds a welcome dynamic to the story. After Rose finds Finn attempting to leave Leia's ship, the two devise a plan to disable the First Order's tracking system—which can now track them through lightspeed.

They end up involving Poe, who led a successful mission against Leia's wishes—which resulted in the death of Rose's sister. With Finn guiding them from the ship, Rose and Finn set out to find a codebreaker to blindside the First Order. Things don't go according to plan, but through it all, Rose's determination and hope help the Resistance out of a bind, adding a welcome dynamic to the good vs. evil tale. "It's now an opportunity for [Finn] to be the best he can be," John Boyega told Entertainment Weekly. "He has to make a decision, and Rose is there to help him make that choice."

Does Finn get closure with Captain Phasma?

The last we saw of Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens, she'd been thrown into a trash compactor and left to die. She obviously escaped her demise: the trailer for The Last Jedi gave fans a quick glimpse of Finn—dressed in some First Order regalia—going toe-to-toe with his former Stormtrooper boss.

"She has been humiliated by someone who was her subordinate and has gone rogue, and someone who is at liberty and is a free spirit and has chosen another path," Gwendoline Christie pointed out to USA Today. "So, yeah, she's annoyed."

In The Last Jedi, Finn teams up with Rose and a questionable codebreaker named DJ (played by Benicio del Toro) to infiltrate the First Order's ship with the intention of disabling their tracking device—which lets them follow the Resistance through lightspeed. As DJ points out in the film, there's a big grey area when it comes to war. And when the crew gets captured, he flips sides and turns on Finn and Rose.

With a little help from BB-8—who takes control of a nearby AT-AT—Finn finally faces Phasma, handily defeating her. But as we watch her plummet to the fiery bowels of the ship below, the audience never gets confirmation that she's dead. Is she still alive? In the Star Wars universe anything is possible.

How does Poe Dameron fit into all this?

After almost dying in The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron finds his heroic purpose in The Last Jedi. The film opens on a firefight, led by Dameron, and the attack ends up taking down one of The First Order's Dreadnaught ships. For Poe, this is a big win. "There's not many of them left. The Resistance is dwindling," Isaac told ComicBook, "and he's absolutely someone that is not conflicted at all about his allegiance to the Resistance up until he gets himself into this situation where the one thing that he knows how to do is taken away from him, which is to attack, and he has to deal with this new strategy." 

And even though the Resistance can technically claim this battle as a victory, it comes with one caveat: Poe disobeyed direct orders from General Leia to stand down. Due to Poe's insubordination, the Resistance suffers huge losses. In turn, Organa punishes his victory with a demotion.

This doesn't change his rule-breaking antics, though. After Leia slips into a coma, Dameron regularly questions Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo's (Laura Dern) guidance, leading to a brief power grab that finds Poe taking over her command. It all culminates in the film's third act as Poe further exercises his leadership abilities, guiding what's left of the Resistance from an old Rebel Alliance outpost on Crait. With the First Order's deadly assault decimating everything in its path, Dameron leads Leia and the rest of the crew to safety.

Is this the last we'll see of Luke Skywalker?

After Rey leaves Ahch-To, Luke gets closer to completely giving up. His attempt to burn the tree that holds the ancient Jedi texts takes a turn, however, when Jedi Force Ghost Yoda decides to finish the job after Luke hesitates. Everyone's favorite green Jedi Master returns to talk some sense into Skywalker—and he does so by burning it all down. After all, the ways of the Force and the Jedi aren't confined to the written word. Yoda gives him a valuable lesson: failure is the best teacher.

He may have lost Ben Solo, but that doesn't mean Luke should lose hope with Rey. So as the Resistance struggles in their final battle with Kylo Ren and his huge First Order army in the climactic fight scene of The Last Jedi, Skywalker finally comes out of hiding. He's one man against an entire fleet. But no matter how much Kylo has Hux fire on him, Luke remains standing. It's not until Kylo faces Luke himself that he learns a huge truth: Luke's not really there. Skywalker has the power of astral projection. Or should we say had?

After Skywalker successfully distracts the First Order—giving Poe enough time to lead the group to safety—the film moves back to Ahch-To, where Luke stares out into the horizon one last time, smiling as he sees two suns on the horizon. At peace with his actions, his body disappears, leaving his robe to fall to the ground. Is Luke Skywalker dead? It seems so. But as he tells Leia before facing off against Kylo, "no one's ever really gone"—and we've previously seen with certain Jedi in the Star Wars universe, death is most definitely not the end.