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All Star Wars Episode 9 rumors and spoilers leaked so far

Long before the Star Wars saga reached Episode IX, Lucasfilm made point of keeping spoilers from getting out. The company flat-out refused to reveal key plot details from The Force Awakens and Rogue One to toy makers at Hasbro, knowing that they would potentially ruin the movie. Members of the media have been made to hand over all electronic devices prior to press screenings, and attendees are strictly forbidden from revealing the location. The studio is already taking the same cautious approach to the upcoming Episode IX, much to the frustration of the many fans desperate for answers after Rian Johnson's highly divisive The Last Jedi.

Even the tightest of ships will spring leaks now and again, however, and it's always going to be nigh-on impossible to keep a vessel the size of Star Wars completely watertight. The ninth installment in the main saga (to be directed by the returning J.J. Abrams) isn't due to arrive until December 2019, but the rumors are already starting to trickle through. If you want to go into Episode IX completely spoiler free, this is your cue to leave. But if you can't resist the urge to find out what could possibly be in store for Rey, Finn, Poe and the galaxy at large, you're in the right place.

Is Rey a Skywalker?

The first teaser for Episode IX dropped at Star Wars Celebration 2019, finally confirming the title: The Rise of Skywalker. The teaser is exactly that — it doesn't give much away in terms of plot, but it's full of cool callbacks to the original trilogy. We see Lando Calrissian flying the Millennium Falcon, and there's a shot of what appears to be Leia clutching the same medal given to Luke and Han in A New Hope, but what really got people talking was the title.

There are a few different theories about what The Rise of Skywalker could mean. The obvious assumption is that it's referring to Rey, who is addressed by Luke in a voiceover during the teaser. "We've passed on all we know," an offscreen Luke says. "A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight." Is this a fatherly pep talk we're hearing? The Last Jedseemingly confirmed that Rey is a nobody, but this apparently wasn't J.J. Abrams' original vision — according to his friend and collaborator Simon Pegg, Abrams once discussed giving Rey "a relevant lineage."

Pegg said that this idea had been "undone" by Rian Johnson's sequel, but it's just as easily un-undone. Some are now convinced that Abrams has gone ahead and retconned Rey's background. "Who else could be the titular Skywalker in the film's title if not the central hero of this trilogy, Rey herself?" Forbes senior contributor Erik Kain asked. "I can't piece it together any other way." Kain points out that he's against the retcon, as are many on Twitter.

Return of the Hutts

Reddit is filled with so many wild and wonderful Star Wars "leaks" that the genuine ones can sometimes get lost in the noise. A user named 4LOM claims to have an inside track on Episode IX rumors via a colleague doing some visual effects work on the picture, and they've been sharing some pretty exciting rumors. There's no way to verify these claims, but if what 4LOM says is true, then the notorious Hutt Cartel is set to make a return. The Redditor (full name 4LOM-LucasfilmSpy) alleges that crime syndicates will play an important role in Episode IX as unlikely allies of the Resistance.

"The new Hutt is Jabba's son, I forget his name but it's name dropped when they bring up his title: ' — the Hutt, son of the mighty Jabba.'" 4LOM is of course referring to Rotta, who was kidnapped as part of a plot to discredit the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. "Rose, Finn, and Poe work together as a trio, apparently their dynamic is solid and 'less cringe,' as my colleague described it. There is a dinner scene with the three heroes and the Hutt Cartel, it was described to me as something like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with lots of gross foods and a cool musical number in the background."

Snoke will return

When Colin Trevorrow parted ways with Lucasfilm over so-called creative differences, stories regarding the real nature of his departure from Episode IX started to circulate online. One rumor making the rounds on Reddit (via FlickeringMyth) was that the director was fired after he argued with the studio over the deaths of Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke, both of whom he apparently wanted to use in Episode IX. He lost that argument and his job, too. Trevorrow called it "a very acidic situation" when he later sat down with Uproxx, adding, "Sometimes creative people can't find a shared path through the woods."

In what would be a cruel twist of fate if all this is true, it look as though Trevorrow's replacement will get to use those characters after all. According to YouTuber and Star Wars superfan Mike Zeroh, a more recent storyboard has been leaked, and it apparently features Snoke. "[A] new description of storyboards involves Supreme Leader Snoke and a black-shaded figure I believe to be Kylo Ren," Zeroh said (via the Express). "That figure is holding a lightsaber in front of Snoke except the lightsaber is not complete."

Keri Russell is playing a 'masked scoundrel' named Zorri Bliss

Dominic Monaghan (Lost) and Greg Grunberg (Alias) are both in The Rise of Skywalker, but they aren't the only Abrams alumni appearing. Felicity star Keri Russell is also in Episode IX, though she wasn't chosen simply because she's part of the club. According to Variety's Justin Kroll, Russell's past experience made her the ideal choice. "The role calls for action-heavy fight scenes," Kroll revealed. "Russell has shown her ability to perform tough stunts in projects like FX's The AmericansMission: Impossible, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."

The name of Russell's character wasn't known at the time, but subsequent leaks shed some light. In March 2019, several merchandising images appeared online, including one of a masked women named Zorri who appeared to be a new bounty hunter. "The images give us a good look at Zorri," Making Star Wars said when it shared the leaked pictures. "Based on what my sources have described to me about Keri Russell's character, I can't see how it isn't the same character."

Those sources, it appears, were dead on. It didn't explicitly refer to her as a bounty hunter, but Vanity Fair released a hi-res photo of Russell as "the masked scoundrel Zorri Bliss" after being granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Episode IX, seemingly confirming the rumors. Bliss was shown on "the Thieves' Quarter of the snow-dusted world Kijimi," one of two new planets and a possible entry point for Lando Calrissian.

How big a part will Lando Calrissian play?

For fans of the original trilogy, one of the biggest moments in the first Episode IX teaser trailer was seeing Lando Calrissian back in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Billy Dee Williams was reprising the role in July 2018, but details of Calrissian's part in The Rise of Skywalker were kept under wraps in the months that followed. Early rumors suggested that the charming smuggler would be playing a significant role in the saga closer, but that doesn't appear to be the case. While his daughter is rumored to be making an appearance, Calrissian himself isn't likely to feature very prominently, purely because J.J. Abrams has so much to squeeze in. "Lando's screentime in the movie will be on par with Admiral Ackbar's short scenes in The Force Awakens,Inverse predicts.

Williams kept the details of Calrissian's arc to himself at Star Wars Celebration 2019, but he was happy to defend his character's past actions. "He was up against Darth Vader, he had to figure out something," the actor said of his divisive betrayal of Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back (via Polygon). "Besides, did anybody die?" He makes a fair point, but this moment has always been a bone of contention among fans. Could Calrissian (who will apparently wear the same getup he wore when he first met Solo) be out to avenge his death as a way of finally making amends? Episode IX will tie up a number of loose ends, after all.

Rey's parents revealed?

When ThatHashtagShow reported that Disney wanted a female lead between the ages of 40 and 50 to play a character named Mara, many jumped to the conclusion that this was Rey's mother. The character (assumed to be Luke Skywalker's wife Mara Jade, introduced in Extended Universe novel Heir to the Empire) does seem to fit the bill, but now there's a fresh rumor about Rey's mom — and it's a real shocker.

According to this theory (posed by Film Threat), Rey's real mom and dad will be revealed as none other than Han Solo and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) in Episode IX. We were introduced to Han's first love in Solo: A Star Wars Story, a movie that could apparently end up being all about Rey's parents. "Solo ended letting us know that Qi'ra has ties to the Dark Side," Film Threat's prediction goes. "Kylo Ren is the son of Leia, a mother of the Light Side. Qi'ra, a mother of the Dark Side, bore a Light Side daughter, Rey. It's the Force balancing itself."

Of course, if this theory turns out to be accurate, that means Han cheated on Leia and fathered a daughter with another woman. While this could actually explain a number of things (why Kylo Ren resented his dad so much and why he and Rey are connected through the Force, to name but a few), not everyone is buying it. As ScreenRant points out, "There's been nothing to indicate Han was unfaithful to Leia."

Leaked concept art reveals potential plot details

In February 2019, a big batch of Episode IX concept art leaked online, creating excitement and doubt in equal measure. Disney has been keeping its Star Wars cards close to its chest, so the authenticity of these revealing images was immediately questioned, but they do appear to be genuine. When principal photography on the movie finished, director J.J. Abrams shared an image of his three stars in an emotional embrace, and in doing so he seemed to prove the leaked concept art was legit.

The photo featured Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac hugging. Boyega's outfit was obscured, but both Ridley and Isaac are clearly wearing the same getups their characters are wearing in the concept art. So if this leak is the real deal, what else can it tell us about Episode IX? The big finale will seemingly do what every Star Wars film does and try to recreate the iconic cantina scene from the first movie, because there's a host of new aliens included in the art, some in brightly-colored, fancy-looking robes. There's also a new droid, which will reportedly annoy BB-8 throughout Episode IX.

The biggest reveal here is Kylo Ren's repaired helmet. MakingStarWars claimed that Ren would be wearing a re-forged version of his Vader-inspired mask in November 2018, and the concept art backs this up. Sources told the website that it "looked like the mask was pieced back together using some kind of red crystalline bonding material," which totally tallies with the leaked images.

Shareholder footage hints at Vader's involvement

Disney's annual shareholder meeting took place in March 2019. Episode IX had only just entered the editing phase, so there wasn't a trailer ready for the event. Not wanting to miss out on a chance to show the big wigs what he's been doing, director J.J. Abrams threw something together, and this short reel reportedly contained a number of hints about the plot of the upcoming movie. Sadly, it wasn't released online, but that didn't stop some of those lucky enough to have been in attendance from sharing what they had seen on social media.

The footage "looked great" according to Scott Ladewig, who confirmed that one of the shots was of "Kylo Ren in a white room looking at the Vader helmet." The reaction to the reel continued over on Reddit, where a second poster claimed that Vader's famous mask featured prominently. "Episode IX footage included quick shots of all the main characters: Poe, Finn, Rey, then Kylo looking down and then we see he is looking at a container of some kind opening to reveal it has Vader's helmet inside," the insider said (via Cosmic Book News). "Rey says, 'It's too dangerous, I'm going alone.' Poe then says, 'We're going together.'"

Billy Dee Williams' Lando Calrissian also popped up in the footage, though only briefly. Leaked concept art suggests that Han's old buddy will be back in his trademark cape and a jazzy yellow shirt, though his level of involvement in terms of plot remains unknown.

Is Skywalker more than a name?

The most popular rumor that's popped up following the release of the first teaser for The Rise of Skywalker argues that the title of the movie isn't referring to Rey, or any single character. A number of people now believe that the word Skywalker will become a term used to describe members of a brand new order, one that is at peace with both sides of the Force. "These people, from Rey to Kylo Ren, to that little stable boy with the broom at the end of The Last Jedi, will not be Jedi or Sith," Inverse theorized. "They will be Skywalkers."

Snippets of dialogue from The Last Jedi potentially support this theory, as do some comments made by The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams. "This movie is about the new generation," Abrams told fans at Star Wars Celebration 2019. "What they've inherited, the light and the dark, and ask the question about facing the greatest evil: are they ready?" In the previous installment, a conversation between Luke and Yoda indicates that Rey is on course to become something bigger than both of them. "We are what they grow beyond," Yoda tells his former pupil. "That is the true burden of all masters."

This explanation makes sense when you think about it in relation to Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, as Polygon was quick to point out. "The trilogy-capping films follow an interesting trend: the Sith get 'revenge,' the Jedi 'return,' and now Skywalker 'rise.'"

The Emperor Strikes Back

Despite being thrown to what we thought was certain death by a remorseful Anakin Skywalker in 1983's Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious) lives. At least, that's what Abrams seemed to suggest with the first Episode IX teaser. The footage ends with a shot of some Death Star wreckage and Palpatine's unmistakable cackle, implying that our heroes will face off against the powerful Sith in The Rise of Skywalker. As if to confirm this was the case, Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid appeared onstage at Star Wars Celebration 2019 during the teaser reveal. But how will Abrams explain his way out of this one?

Theory crafters already have a few different ideas. MovieWeb reminded readers that Palpatine discussed the work of Darth Plagueis (a Sith "so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life") at length in the prequels, then suggested that the Emperor might use a loophole introduced in Star Wars Rebels. "The World Between Worlds in the hidden Jedi Temple on Lothal was something Palpatine sought to manipulate as he could travel through time by using the Force."

Elsewhere, IGN believes that Abrams might actually be taking some inspiration from an Expanded Universe comic. In Dark Empire, Palpatine resurrects himself several times via clones, transferring his spirit to different bodies. "Through Snoke, Palpatine may have been grooming Ben Solo to achieve his full potential and become a worthy host body for a true dark Lord of the Sith."

Lando Calrissian's secret daughter

When little-known British actress Naomi Ackie joined the cast of Episode IX, fans jumped to conclusions over her character. That Hashtag Show (via Star Wars News Net) had previously claimed that casting director Nina Gold was looking for an "ethnic female" between the ages of 18 and 26 to play someone called Caro, described by the website's source as a "leader and problem solver, smart with a great sense of humor and a strong will." Most of us assumed Ackie was playing this Caro, but we were wrong.

Ackie attended Star Wars Celebration 2019, where it was revealed that her character actually goes by the name Jannah. "The original group are going on this epic, epic adventure together and I'm so excited about where Jannah crosses paths with them," Ackie told the audience (via IGN). A photo of Ackie in action was also released, but the award-winning talent remained tight-lipped over Jannah's parentage.

Ever since rumors started to appear that Gold and Abrams were on the hunt for an ethnic actress (preferably an African-American one, reports suggested), some fans have been convinced that this will turn out to be Lando Calrissian's daughter. Ackie was asked about this during her appearance at Celebration 2019, and her noncommittal answer only served to fuel rumors that she's a Calrissian. In fact, judging by her comments, she could be one of many. "Lando is a very charming man, so he could have children all over the universe, that's all I'm saying," she laughed.