Star Wars The Last Jedi

As the latest Star Wars film arrives in cinemas around the world, one torrent of fervent speculation gives way to another, with fans of the galaxy far, far away now counting down the days until 2019's trilogy-concluding Episode 9.

The return of LucasFilm's sci-fi adventure in 2015 with The Force Awakens left a lot of unanswered questions: Who are Rey's parents? Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? What happened when Kylo Ren turned on Luke Skywalker?

Here's how Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi leaves things hanging for JJ Abrams to pick up in Episode 9.

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below. Seriously, leave this page now unless you've seen the film.

The film ends with the heroes of The Force Awakens together again and the last remnants of the Rebellion, just a dozen, maybe two dozen people at this point, aboard the Millennium Falcon, having escaped the First Order who were chasing them down throughout the film.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) reunite, Rey and Poe (Oscar Isaac) meet for the first time and Leia (Carrie Fisher) reassures Rey that as doomed as the Resistance appears to be, everything they need to rebuild and fight back is right there.

The First Order, meanwhile, is now led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who assumed the moniker Supreme Leader after shockingly killing his mentor Snoke (Andy Serkis) in the film's standout scene.

Earlier in the film we also find out exactly what happened when Kylo Ren turned to Snoke and the dark side. It transpires that Luke – sensing the immense power within the man once known as Ben Solo – planned, for a split second, to murder his own nephew. He changes his mind, but Kylo wakes to see enough and finally turns.

The pair meet again on Crait, but Luke isn't physically there. It's a projection, the idea of Luke Skywalker that distracts him. The ruse is enough to kill Luke, who dies peacefully like Yoda in Return of the Jedi, vanishing into the ether.

Before he does, however, he tells Kylo Ren: "I'll see you around, kid," teasing he may well return as an apparition to Kylo or Rey.

Star Wars The Last Jedi
Rey training on Ahch-To. LucasFilm

Kylo Ren wants Rey to join him, feeling a connection with the only person in the galaxy at all like him, but she refuses and shuts up him out – leaving Kylo alone and leading the First Order.

Where could he turn? In The Force Awakens we're told he's the "leader of the Knights of Ren" but those knights don't appear in The Last Jedi. There are stronger hints, however, that they are also former pupils of Luke's, so it's to them Kylo could turn in the next film.

At the very end of the film we see children on Canto Bight – a sort of Space Monaco visited by Finn and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) – telling stories about the legendary hero Luke Skywalker. One of the children goes outside and appears to use the Force to pull a broom towards him.

Set against the stars, he sweeps a couple of times before the broom turns in his hand, appearing more like a sword now, before we see a ring on his hand with the symbol of the rebellion.

The meaning of this scene is simple: there will always be people in the galaxy there to resist evil, and there may well be many, many more force-sensitive people waiting to be found and trained.

When it comes to 2019's Episode 9, The Last Jedi ends in such a way that there could be a gap of several years between the sequels – as there typically has been in the series. This would allow Supreme Leader Ren to settle as a conflicted leader, for the First Order to spread fear through the galaxy and for the Resistance to rebuild with Poe in charge.

How they work around the death of Carrie Fisher will likely be awkward given Leia survives this film, but that's almost unavoidable. I'd rather that than they retroactively killed her off in in this film purely because Fisher died in real life. That seems crass.

For more on how the film deals with Leia, click here.

Then there are the big questions left by The Force Awakens. What happened between Kylo and Luke is a big part of the film, and we later learn that Rey's parents were in fact nobodies – scavengers who sold her for some money. It lays to rest theories that her parents would be known characters – though many suspect Kylo Ren might not have been telling the truth when he told Rey.

As for Snoke's origins? Closure would have been nice, but now he's dead we may never find out. He was a being powerful with the Force who was able to refocus the Empire into the First Order. His death was poignant though, we've never seen a student supplant their mentor on the dark side – at least not with the intent to rule in their place.

Where The Force Awakens left us with questions, The Last Jedi doesn't. What it does leave us with are characters in interesting positions. Finn's is now a real hero, a true Rebel, Poe more prepared for a leadership role and Rose has honoured and lived up to her sister's memory.

Rey's journey continues however. When we left her she hoped desperately to find a parental figure in Luke, but in The Last Jedi she lets him down. She doesn't see in him the hero she thought she knew, learning that he is the reason Kylo ren turned to the dark side.

She tried and failed to turn Kylo Ren, but he still isn't the purely evil villain. Likewise Rey isn't purely good, and the revelation involving her parents may lead to her getting in touch with her dark side down the line. The Last Jedi is about laying to rest antiquated notions that good and evil are absolutes cast in black and white. Morality is a grey area, heroes aren't always virtuous and villains aren't monsters without humanity.

Where Rey and the rest of the Resistance go next is up to Abrams.