The Key Star Wars Saga Movie Plot Twists

“No, I am your father!” That line revealed, quite possibly, the greatest plot twist in cinematic history – Luke's father was the man who just tried to kill him. Only the final reveal of the Statue of Liberty in the original Planet of the Apes or the fact that Bruce Willis' character was dead all along in The Sixth Sense comes close to rivaling it.

But despite the classic Vader reveal, the nine Star Wars saga movies have plenty of other plot twists and turns to keep the viewer captivated (and maybe The Mandalorian has a couple too).

So what are these plot twists?

The first was spoiled for me going into The Phantom Menace – by a newspaper review because, back then, we were on “14.4kps dial-up” and “no spoilers” wasn't really a thing.

keira knightly as amidala decoy
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

The Padmé/Sambe double-play decoy

So Padmé, was not always who she seemed to be in The Phantom Menace. The handmaiden running around with Qui-Gon and a young Anakin on the hot sands of Tatooine was actually the queen herself. Who knew?

Well, most people did, but it was pretty obvious for the viewer – not so much for the characters. Although to be fair, Sambe's lines as queen were dubbed by Natalie Portman to add to the ruse for the viewer who had not caught on.

Incidentally, Sambe was played by a young actress who would go on to make a major name for herself – initially in a little film called Bend it Like Beckham – and that actress was Keira Knightley.

Bonus cameo: Sophia Coppola was another handmaiden to Padmé – Coppola's father, Francis, had a bit to do with the development and influence of the original Star Wars.

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Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

A very small twist occurred in The Last Jedi

“Page-turners they were not. Yes, yes, yes. Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess.”

Yoda had set Luke up with a wee joke that played on words. The twist is that this moment played out to large effect in The Rise of Skywalker  – the books gave Rey the answers she needed.

We first meet Yoda again in The Last Jedi, as he watches Luke walk up the Island steps with the intention of burning the Force tree and the Jedi “bibles,” the sacred texts.

Luke changes his mind and decides to rescue them from the fire so Yoda (as a Force ghost!) zaps some lightning down and does the job himself of destroying the books. Yoda then intoned gravely:

“Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess.”

It was a line designed to say to Luke, at face value, that the books no longer mattered with the implication being that the time of Jedi was over. Luke had to accept that rationale from his former teacher. Well, he had no choice as the tree had exploded.

But cut to the last scene on board the Millennium Falcon after our heroes are rescued by Chewbacca and Rey. As Finn opens the drawer to get a blanket for Rose, what was in there? Yes, the Jedi books.

Rey had already stolen them from Luke before he wanted to burn the tree down and she later used them to understand what Kylo Ren had discovered, the Sith Wayfinder.

The Last Jedi also had a pretty big plot twist

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Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

Luke was never on Crait. When Luke Skywalker appears on planet Crait, many viewers were surprised. He had apparently decided to stay on Achto Island and he had no way off the planet, as his ride with Chewie and Rey in the Millennium Falcon had already left and his X-Wing was under several feet of saltwater and had been for years, so he couldn't fly as it was rusted out (or so we thought until The Rise of Skywalker).

So many viewers would have asked how was he there. Either way, that was Luke on Crait, giving Kylo Ren a lesson in swordplay.

There was no way this was the real Luke but for those that didn't get the ruse straight away, director and scriptwriter Rian Johnson added several other clues to help the viewer work this out before the big reveal by Luke that he was projecting himself from Achto Island.

younglings massacre twist
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

The Younglings massacre

Is this a twist or a gruesome setup by the brutal George Lucas? The killing of the Younglings by Anakin in Revenge of the Sith was a pretty obvious severe call back to the prior movie, the Attack of the Clones – but the twist is you never saw it coming.

While the murder is off-screen, what Darth Vader has just done is absolutely criminal.

The call back is to the prior movie, Attack of the Clones. Recall the scene where Obi-Wan and Yoda chat about how Obi-Wan has lost a planet in front of the Younglings (how embarrassing!). No one can kill a Jedi right?

Boba Fett was a clone of Jango Fett

Do you remember that Storm Trooper that bumped his head on the Death Star in A New Hope? That unplanned goof by the actor (unknown) became the stuff of legend among Star Wars fans – so much so that when Lucas decided Jango Fett was to be the “father” of the clone army, this “bump” was called back as an actual character trait of Jango.

During Attack of the Clones, when the Mandalorian Jango Fett gets into his ship after his tete-a-tete with Obi-Wan, he bangs his head on the open door. Bump!

All this was the setup for young Boba Fett to take his dad's mantle, which is not too hard when you are an exact clone of your old man.

The “other one” was Leia and thus Luke's sister

During his training on Dagobah with Yoda, Luke had a premonition about his friends and he charged off in his X-Wing to go help, despite Yoda's protest. Obi-Wan's Force ghost turned up for a chat with his old friend and said that Luke was their last hope.

Yoda ominously replied, “No. There is another.” We didn't know it at the time, yet the twist was revealed in Return of the Jedi that Leia was Luke's twin sister.
Fun Fact: An initial idea was for Luke's sister to be called Nellith Skywalker.

Snoke was a clone and Palpatine was alive the whole freakin time

Remember when Rian Johnson used to hold up cups of tea that said “Your Snoke Theory Sucks?” He never actually had one of his own, he was lying to us. Snoke was nothing, just a disposable bad guy – that is until J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio decided he was a clone that was developed and let loose into the world by Palpatine.

Yes, somehow a version of Shiv Palpatine was alive, even though Darth Vader had killed him and proven he was the chosen one.

Low-key plot twists worth a mention:

  • In Return of the Jedi, Death Star II is fully operational.
  • It turns out Lando Calrissian used to own the Millennium Falcon
  • The clone soldiers were the ones who killed the Jedi when they carried out Order 66.
  • Vader found the light that was inside him and he killed the Emperor (proving he was the chosen one until Rey wrecked everything).
  • That silly little green guy harassing Luke in the swamp of Dagobah was actually the Jedi Master Luke was looking for.
  • Lando betrays his friend Han Solo and then tries to rescue him.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Editor in Chief at Wealth of Geeks | + posts

Paul Rose Jr is the Editor in Chief of Wealth of Geeks & manages the Associated Press program for The Insiders network. He has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.