How the new Star Wars trilogy will end

With The Force Awakens behind us and two more episodes to go, what can we expect from the rest of the current Star Wars trilogy? Episode VIII, which opens December 15, is being directed by Rian Johnson (Looper), while IX has Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) at the helm. Kasdan told the L.A. Times that both filmmakers could bring something different to the story. "[The Force Awakens] sets up a lot of stuff. There's a lot of people to deal with. And Rian took on that job and he's going to change it, because he's Rian. And I'm sure Colin [Trevorrow] will change what Rian does…. We talked about [the ending]—and there's a certain thing that people who are involved with it feel should happen. There's a kind of movement that happens. But it's not in your control. It's going to veer off with Rian, and it's going to veer off another way with Colin."

We take it that "certain thing" could be how the whole thing wraps up. How they get there, however, looks seemingly up for grabs. Naturally, there should be some major reveals, including who Rey is really related to, whether Kylo Ren is truly on the Dark Side and so forth, but we've decided to come up with some scenarios as well. Here's some wishful thinking on our part.

Princess Leia's legacy

Let's just address the elephant in the room right away. Carrie Fisher's sudden death is a huge blow to the Star Wars franchise, and there's no way to write off General Leia Organa without leaving everyone in tears. Fisher was able to finish her work on Episode VIII before she passed away, but apparently, she was to have a bigger role in Episode IX. There are some theories floating around (like this one on Reddit) that Leia is actually on the Dark Side—and even possibly Snoke himself. The reasoning has something to do with balancing the Force between Light and Dark. If Leia and her son, Kylo Ren, are Dark, then they balance with Rey and (her possible father?) Luke, who are Light—and an ultimate battle would finally ensue with one Force faction emerging. Way too far-fetched, right? Still, if we play with this idea a little, maybe Leia in VIII pretends to be on the Dark Side, goes undercover as it were, so she can get closer to Kylo and win him back. Oh man, that's making us tear up already.

In any event, the Star Wars powers that be are scrambling to figure out what happens with Leia—and how to properly honor her. The one thing they won't do is digitally recreate the late actress. This was confirmed by Lucasfilm themselves, who, in a rare case, released a statement about the rumors: "We don't normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars." So there's that.

Poe Dameron takes over

We could have used a lot more Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens. From the time he first appears and has that hilarious exchange with Kylo Ren ("So who talks first? You talk first? I talk first? It's very hard to understand you with all that… apparatus"), Poe has us hooked. Then he disappears for a large portion of the movie, and while he returns to sufficiently kick ass, there still isn't enough of his wit. One hopes this will change in the upcoming episodes, and Poe takes a more central role. In IX, with General Leia gone, someone also has to lead the Resistance against the First Order, and we think Poe would be a great man for the job. Along with being an excellent pilot and strategist, Poe also has a grounded personality, taking things in stride and yes, utilizing that exquisite sense of humor. Another thought? Give Poe a love interest, sort of like a Han and Leia-type relationship, someone who's an equal to his swagger and banter and with whom he can preside over a new and peaceful New Republic.

Finn's destiny

So, do Rey and Finn eventually hook up? Come on, we're all wondering. Certainly Finn wants it to happen, but now that he's in an induced coma so he can heal from his lightsaber wounds, and Rey is off with Luke to learn the Jedi ways, we suspect these two won't reunite for a little while. Instead, Finn will most likely deepen his bromance with Poe, and the two may go off on a separate adventure together in Episode VIII.

There are hypotheses about Finn, mostly pertaining to his sensitivity to the Force. He's the first Stormtrooper in history (at least as far as we know) to defect from the brainwashing soldier servitude he's been subjected to since he was ripped from his family as a boy. He also wields a lightsaber with ease, despite never being trained, and holds his own against Kylo Ren. Therefore, many speculate that he's the son of Mace Windu, the Jedi played by Samuel L. Jackson in the prequels (although grandson might be more like it, if you think about the timeline). Boyega has kept up with the fan theories about his character, too, admitting to Variety, "I was at a party and someone behind me just tapped me on the shoulder and was like 'Yo, black Jedi!' I turned around and it was Samuel L. Jackson. He was like, 'You're my son!'" The other theory is he's the son of Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams. We could see that too. In any event, Finn's backstory will probably be revealed in the next two episodes, and our guess is he and Rey will survive and end up together, perhaps teaching other young padawans the Jedi ways (more on that later).

The Skywalker connection: Rey's parentage

The most popular (and puzzling) question to come out of The Force Awakens is: who are Rey's parents? There are several theories. First, many indications point to Rey being Luke's daughter. Both were raised on desert planets, both discover they have mad Force skills, and Luke's original lightsaber called out to Rey specifically. At the end of TFA, as Rey is holding out said lightsaber to Luke, he knows her. You can see that, right? As for Rey's yet-to-be identified mother, Laura Dern has joined the cast of VIII, and there are theories regarding who she'll play. She could be Mara Jade, who was Luke's wife in the Expanded Universe and also the assassin known as the Hand of the Emperor, which may or may not intersect with the current canon. Dern could also be any other number of characters we don't yet know about. In any scenario, she could still be Rey's mother.

Luke could also just be Rey's uncle. A big speculation is Rey is Han and Leia's daughter, who somehow has been kept secret from brother Ben Solo, after he goes all Dark Side-y and turns into Kylo Ren (i.e. she's born after Ben goes off to the Jedi Academy and he doesn't know of her existence). Kylo certainly has a connection with Rey when he tries to mine her brain for info, and both Han and Leia seem immediately drawn to Rey when they first meet her.

Here's our take if the Han/Leia/Rey connection is real: Only Leia knows the truth and has kept Rey a secret even from Han, who probably left before he knew Leia was pregnant. If you notice, the late smuggler (*sniff*) did connect with the young woman, but he really didn't register too much emotion when he saw her for the first time. If he knew she was his daughter that would be unusual. Han wore his heart on his sleeve most of the time, and was torn up about Ben/Ren. It's hard to imagine how he could keep that cool the whole time he was with Rey.

Watching Leia, however, is quite different. The General shows restraint, yet when she meets Rey, something else is happening. You can feel it. Then, when she hugs Rey after they return from destroying the First Order's Starkiller base where Han was killed by Kylo, it seems like Leia knows this young woman very well. Again, it could be a grief thing or an aunt thing, but…

Other theories include Rey being of Kenobi descent, as in Obi-Wan's great-granddaughter, or perhaps has no connection to anyone we know at all, or even a virgin born, like Anakin Skywalker—or even crazier still, she's a reincarnation of Anakin. While these could all be possibilities, we still feel in our hearts that Rey is indeed a Skywalker, even perhaps the mythical Chosen One (like Anakin). If we were to speculate, she'll train with Luke for awhile, much like he did with Yoda. Then, Finn or someone like that will get into trouble and she'll have to race off to save them. Eventually, she'll either confront Kylo Ren or Snoke or both, win, and assume her rightful place in the Force. Does this all sound familiar? Let's hope they surprise us, at least a little.

Kylo Ren: does he stay on the Dark Side?

As much as fans speculate about Rey's parentage, they also theorize on Kylo's true intentions. One of the most prevalent ideas revolves around Kylo being a double agent, of a sort—sent into the First Order by Luke, so he can fully immerse himself into the Dark Side, get close to Snoke and then kill him, just like his grandfather did with Emperor Palpatine. Kylo's confession scene to Darth Vader's helmet could support this, noting that, instead of Kylo asking his grandfather to guide him to the Dark Side, he could be gathering courage to "finish what you started"—meaning destroying the darkness. In order to prove himself, though, he then has to sacrifice someone he loves, which turns out to be his father, which so impresses Snoke that he takes in his young charge to "complete his training." The only problem with this is Kylo supposedly killed all the Jedi-in-training at Luke's academy, leaving Luke the last remaining Jedi. That doesn't sound like something Luke would support. Also, Kylo ends up fighting Rey and Finn, and he looks like he indeed wants to kill them. If he started out as a double agent, maybe he became seduced by the Dark Side.

We could go dark and say Kylo won't be redeemed at the end of the trilogy but instead will go down in a fiery death—or possibly escape to wreak havoc in the next set of movies (because you know there will be more). Our gut feeling, however, says Kylo will become Ben Solo again. Whatever ends up being revealed about Rey and her bloodline, Ben will emerge as a good guy and step into the Light, possibly to save his sister/cousin, or in reaction to his mother's death, or any combination of both.

The fate of the First Order and Supreme Leader Snoke

At this point in the trilogy, the First Order has already been dealt a serious blow as they watched their Starkiller base go bye-bye. No doubt, more dismantling by the Resistance will take place over the course of the next two episodes. Honestly, General Hux just needs to go. No offense to Domhnall Gleeson's performance, but that guy is about as effectively evil as a hangnail. Kylo should make mincemeat of him, the sooner the better.

It's really all about Snoke, played in motion-capture form by Andy Serkis. Delving into theories about Siths and Darths and all those deformed, nasty Dark Siders—how they can transform their essence into a younger human portal so they may live forever—you can get lost. The main question is, who is Snoke? As we previously speculated, some say he's Darth Plagueis, who, in the Expanded Universe, was supposedly killed by Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidiuous, or perhaps he's the former Emperor himself, transformed once again. Crazier still, there's a theory that says Snoke is actually Luke Skywalker—about as plausible as Leia being Snoke. Most likely, Snoke is just another breed of evil that sprung up in the ashes of the Empire, masterminding the First Order in some dark cave and waiting for the right moment to pop back up. Will he be defeated, as he rightfully should? Probably. Better question is, who will take his place?

A new and improved Jedi Academy

We bet there'll be a new academy for the Jedi Order set up at the end, and our guess is it'll be run by Rey and possibly Finn. As we imagine it, Luke survives at the end of the trilogy—with Han and Leia both gone, there's no need to do away with Luke. Here's the one guy who's basically seen it all, so why not let him just grow old, be a mentor-type at this new Jedi Academy and pass away like a normal person? Oh, who are we kidding—this is Star Wars! Luke will probably die in some heroic fashion, and then show up as a Jedi spirit hovering around Rey. All we know is there's a need to teach more young Jedi hopefuls out there, snap them up and get them working the Force.

Can Rey and the Force change things for good?

This brings us to our last question. While it's in Star Wars nature to end things on a hopeful note, we know evil still lurks. Look, as hard as the Resistance has tried, again and again, they can't completely push the Dark Side down. Those Sith Lords are like a virus and just keep coming back, in different ways/forms, so most likely whatever semblance of peace and justice that's restored in the Galaxy at the end of this trilogy will go awry at some later point. Also, Disney isn't about to stop making these movies. There will be more Star Wars to follow this, whether it involves Rey and the gang or a whole new cast. This will probably go on forever… and that's just fine by us.