Reader beware: I’m about to get my geek on.
Many critics, analysts, and other geeks have done an intriguing job at speculating how Rogue One impacts (and even changes) the entire Star Wars saga. Various observations about the lack of the opening text crawl, music performed without John Williams, Rogue One neither being about nor centered around a Skywalker, etc. circle the web in a continuous stream. I would like to offer a unique and humble theory into the pile…a fun musing about how Rogue One may have set up for a great story arc in Episode 8; in short, my theory is Rogue One paves the path for the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis).
After a second viewing of Rogue One, I noticed two small tidbits I threw aside in my mind upon first viewing (after all, my brain had a lot to take in the first time around). Chirrut Îmwe, played by Donnie Yen, was a blind monk discovered in a marketplace by Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones). This blind monk is heard calling out, “may the force of others be with you; may the force of others be with you.” Notice the added word ‘others’ and not the classic “may the force be with you.” Who are these “others?” The answer is given shortly thereafter as Jyn inquired of his identity. Chirrut was called a “guardian of the Whills,” a group charged with protecting the Kyber Crystals (like those found at the Jedah temple).
Who are the Whills? They are an ancient, mysterious alien race who are deeply connected with the force (they also keep a journal, which was mentioned in the Star Wars Episode III novel). George Lucas originally intended the saga to be their narrative, hence the beginning line “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Star Wars was the Whills’ story being told to others. Due to fearing this concept being too ‘out there’ for people to accept, he cut the Whills from the script of Episode IV, and took out the word “others” leaving only “may the force be with you.”
Rogue One sneaks the Whills into the Star Wars universe. In a ScreenRant interview with Donnie Yen, it is revealed there are long-term plans for the Guardians of the Whills, and how he could neither talk about the Whills, the Guardians, nor any reasons why his character was blind.
Now for my theory…I am thinking the Supreme Leader Snoke is a renegade Whill, seeking to be the ultimate Shaman of the force. The authors of the new stories have been very specific and adamant how Snoke is not Darth Plageius, not a Sith, and how he is a new character in the Star Wars movie universe. In addition, before the script for Episode 8 was finalized, the Rogue One script was already developed and ready to film, allowing this story arc of the Whills to be intentionally used for later use in Episode 8 (directed and written by Rian Johnson).
If, indeed, Supreme Leader Snoke is of the Whills aiming to be the ultimate Shaman (the holiest, and most powerful users of the force), it will take both Luke and Rey to take him down!
I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to comment below…
SOURCES (beyond the direct viewing of the related movies and/or novels):
1) ScreenRant: http://screenrant.com/how-rogue-one-changed-star-wars-forever/?view=all
2) Movie Pilot: https://moviepilot.com/p/how-rogue-one-introduces-the-guardians-of-the-whills/4170161
3) WookieePedia: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Ancient_Order_of_the_Whills