Star Wars: Episode IX has long been understood to be the end of the story. When 1977's Star Wars was a hit, George Lucas said his vision was three trilogies, and he had started in the middle with Episode IV. Now the story ends with The Rise of Skywalker. According to Lucasfilm, this movie marks the final installment of "The Skywalker Saga." There will be more Star Wars TV shows and films, but this story is over. But is the Skywalker Saga really over? Some highly doubt it.
Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker follow.
The title "The Rise of Skywalker" has been hotly debated among fans as to what it means. There are two interpretations. The first is the death of Kylo Ren when Rey stabs him with a fatal blow on the sunken Death Star. But instead of leaving him to die, she heals him. The idea is she killed Kylo Ren so Ben Solo could live. The first interpretation, then, is that Ben Solo's resurrection represents "The Rise of Skywalker."
But Ben then dies, taking with him the Skywalker blood, name, and legacy. Leia, Luke, Han are all dead. No more Skywalkers.
But Rey lives on. At the very end of the film, she takes herself to Tatooine, where an abandoned moisture farm sits, having fallen into disrepair over the decades since the Empire killed its occupants. It's Owen and Beru Lars' farm, where Luke Skywalker was raised.
Rey takes over the place. She moves in, cleans out the cobwebs, looks around, and decides it's a perfect place to live a peaceful life. She buries the past — Luke and Leia's lightsabers sink into the sand.
But wait. Rey is burying those sabers because she has one of her own, a yellow one, the kind wielded by the guardians of the Jedi temple. And when a neighbor comes by and asks who she is, Rey looks over at the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia standing there. "I'm Rey. Rey Skywalker," she answers.
Fans argue this scene shows the title means the rise of Rey. She is the "Skywalker" who rises, taking on the mantle of her chosen family.
But if Rey is alive with a Jedi guardian's lightsaber, calling herself Skywalker, that means the Skywalkers aren't gone. And the Skywalker Saga potentially can continue for another generation.
Not that it necessarily will. But fans have thought this was the end of the saga before. Star Wars ended in 1983, with Return of the Jedi. Then it ended in 2005, with Revenge of the Sith. Now, it ends a third time in 2019, with The Rise of Skywalker. That means the Skywalker Saga has ended, on average, about every 18 years or so. At this rate, Star Wars: Episode XII will arrive in 2037, and end the story yet again.