Full disclaimer: I have not seen The Rise of Skywalker. I do not know anyone who has seen The Rise of Skywalker. I just want to make a big, bold prediction about how the Skywalker story ends.

First, let’s go back a bit.

Thousands of years before Episode 1 — albeit not officially canon — the Sith were led by Darth Bane and numbered in the thousands. The Jedi-Sith Wars took place and, due to much internal fighting, the Sith were all but wiped out by the Jedi Order. Bane, the sole survivor, created the Sith “Rule of Two”, wherein there shall only be a Sith master and a Sith apprentice. In effect, the apprentice was to learn greed and a thirst for power from the master, which would eventually result in the apprentice overcoming the master and carrying on the tradition of the Sith.

Current balance of the Force: Thousands and/or millions of Jedi to one Sith.

Prophecies abound in the timeframe around Episode 1 and Anakin Skywalker is born of the Force. He is to bring balance to the Force. What’s awkward is that the Jedi Order have the prophecy completely backwards — Skywalker is to bring balance to the Force through the destruction of the Jedi. By utilizing a Clone Army, Sheev Palpatine (Darth Sidious) and Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), destroy the Jedi Order.

New balance of the Force: Few Jedi (we know of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Cal Kestis, and Kanan Jarrus for sure) to two Sith.

In a duel on the Death Star, Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan Kenobi.

New balance of the Force: One less Jedi to two Sith.

Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader’s secret son and secret brother of Leia Organa, trains under Obi-Wan Kenobi before his death and under Master Yoda before his death to fight Darth Vader. Luke fights his father Vader, defeats him, and subsequently stands up to Darth Sidious. Sidious defeats Luke, relatively easily. However, Vader, not yet dead, turns back to the Light Side of the Force, resumes his role as Anakin Skywalker, and throws Sidious to his doom. Following the defeat of Sidious, Anakin Skywalker succumbs to his injuries.

New balance of the Force: One Jedi (Luke Skywalker) and zero Sith.

Presumed balance, right?

Well, the Jedi in their hubris (Luke’s words, not mine) assumed the Force was theirs and theirs alone, and Luke began training a new Jedi Order.

New balance of the Force: Many new, young Jedi (including Leia Organa/Skywalker, as seen by her use of the Force in Episode 8) and zero Sith (potentially a single Sith in the form of Snoke1).

Luke’s nephew, Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa/Skywalker, begins to be tempted by the Dark Side of the Force and is eventually consumed by the Dark Side, becoming Kylo Ren, apprentice of Snoke. Solo, now Ren, slaughters Luke’s new Jedi Order. Luke, distraught, flees to exile on Ahch-To and denounces the Force, ceasing to be a Jedi.

New balance of the Force: One Jedi (Leia Skywalker/Organa) and two Sith (Kylo Ren, Snoke, and/or Sidious).

Out of nowhere (Jakku; Luke’s words, not mine), Rey begins to show exceptional power in the Force. She grows strong in the Force and duels Kylo Ren. She defeats and injures Ren and begins her Force journey. During Rey’s initial training by Luke Skywalker, Rey begins to show her temptation by the Dark Side of the Force. Further, in many instances, it appears she is less balanced than previous Light Side Jedi, implying that Rey has an easier time tapping into the Dark Side of the Force.

Later, Rey is brought in to see Snoke by Ren. In an attempt to turn and/or destroy Rey, Snoke is struck down by Kylo Ren. Rey and Ren fight side by side to escape Snoke’s chambers, but eventually go their separate ways and practice their separate sides of the Force.

Final balance of the Force before The Rise of Skywalker: Two Jedi (Leia Skywalker/Organa and Rey) and one Sith (Kylo Ren).

With all the backstory out of the way, my predictions for The Rise of Skywalker are as follows.

Leia Skywalker/Organa dies or passes away gracefully (I don’t believe Disney would kill off the late Carrie Fisher’s character), but not before we learn of a new Sith in the form of Darth Sidious. With the death of Leia, the balance of the Force now resides on the side of the Sith, requiring Rey to either defeat Kylo Ren or Darth Sidious.

Rey has been obsessed with turning Kylo Ren back to the Light Side and resuming his role as Ben Solo, both for what I believe to be altruistic purposes and, potentially, due to a love affair. As a result, actually killing Kylo Ren cannot be an option for Rey.

Kylo Ren will have to be redeemed in the last Skywalker film (he is a Skywalker after all), resuming his Light Side figure and re-aligning the balance of the Force to the Light Side.

With a new balance of two Jedi to one Sith, something will have to give in the fight to defeat Darth Sidious.

Either all of the Force wielders will die in battle, ending the use of the Force in the Skywalker line. This seems unlikely, as “The Rise of Skywalker” implies someone will have to rise at the end of the film.

It seems equally unlikely that the redeemed Ben Solo will be the ultimate survivor at the end of the nine film saga. Something about it doesn’t seem right, nor do I expect Disney to strike down the lead female character in favour of the spoiled brat white male character. There’s no way this happens.

Which leaves my ultimate prediction:

Ben Solo and Rey fight Darth Sidious side-by-side, with Ben Solo ultimately being killed by Darth Sidious. Sidious, in his lust for power, fights Rey to destroy her. Rey uses her ability to tap into both the Light and Dark Sides of the Force to destroy Sidious, leaving her as the sole Force wielder in the Skywalker saga.

Rey begins a New Order, no longer deemed the Jedi Order, but something along the lines of the “Order of Skywalker”, a new breed of Force user that utilizes both sides of the Force.

Final balance of the Force: One equally balanced Force user (Rey).

I could be way off (in fact, I’d like to be way off — I think there’d be something very neat about Anakin Skywalker somehow fulfilling the original prophecy set in Episode 1). But if I had to put money on any story, this is where my money would be.

I’m very excited to see the film tonight. After 42 years of the Skywalker saga, it comes to a close tonight.

And potentially a second Sith, as we now know Darth Sidious may still be alive.