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Warning: the following contains potential spoilers for Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
One of the more interesting toys revealed during Star Wars Force Friday was a Hasbro exclusive figure of Supreme Leader Snoke from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The collectible shows Snoke in golden robes sitting on a futuristic throne:
Does Snoke's Ring Have A Black Kyber Krystal In Its Hilt?
What's of more interest in this particular image is Snoke brandishing a prominent black ring on his left hand. The ring reportedly holds a black Kyber crystal in it, which some fans have suggested will work as a conduit for Snoke's Force abilities, though that aspect of Snoke's ring has yet to be confirmed.
The Star Wars Theory YouTube channel backed up those claims with a video where they break down the significance of Snoke's ring in great detail. Check out the video below:
In addition to this convincing theory on Snoke's ring, fans have also taken to Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter. The consensus so far suggests Snoke's ring is in fact a Force ring he'll use to manipulate the Dark Side:
Assuming the theory behind Snoke's ring is true, then this is probably indicative of a new direction for the Star Wars franchise. The direction in question is one that could see a new era of Force weapons ushered into the Star Wars universe other than lightsabers.
Are Lightsabers A Thing Of The Past?
We've already seen Kyber crystals were used to power the Death Star in Rogue One, making it feasible for the crystals to be utilized in other forms too.
There's also the matter of lightsabers becoming extinct in the current narrative. Since Rey and Kylo Ren are the only Force wielders still brandishing lightsabers at the moment, this could be the end of lightsabers altogether. There's a popular fan theory that suggests Snoke might end up wielding a lightsaber himself, a black one. Even if he does, there are very few people left who use a lightsaber, which makes sense as the entire point of the movie is suggesting that the time of Jedis is passing. But weapons will always be needed, and any device or weapon could be equipped with a Kyber Crystal, making it an adequate replacement for a lightsaber.
Both Rey and Kylo are avid Force users who could easily equip themselves with new weapons that would be just as effective as lightsabers. One could make the argument that lightsabers are crucial to the Star Wars franchise, and that's true of the previous trilogies. But the reality of the universe as it currently stands makes lightsabers less important; the lack of Force users makes them less possible, period. There is a tradition there, much like the cherished swords samurai carried—but that doesn't mean swords were the only weapons samurai used. The same could be said of the Jedi and other Force users in the Star Wars universe.
Will More Force-Based Weapons Be Introduced In The Last Jedi?
In addition to the Snoke figure shown above, a new look at Luke Skywalker was also revealed during the Force Friday event. The toy depicts Luke holding a mysterious silver staff with him, which possesses similarities to a lightsaber's hilt. Though, the staff stands to be of more intrigue because it could be a hint at the item Luke will use as a replacement for his lightsaber.
The Funko Pop! figure for Luke depicts him in a new garb we've yet to see him wear, along with an odd metal staff with him instead of a lightsaber. The details surrounding it remain a mystery but Making Star Wars describes it as a "lightning staff" that apparently shoots lightning to keep pests away on Anch-To—most likely Porgs.
It's likely that it has more of a use than simply shocking cute little Porgs. If this lightning staff does turn out to have a significant amount of energy inside, it's power will most likely be derived from a Kyber crystal through which Luke can manipulate the Force.
Giving Luke a new Kyber-based weapon to potentially combat Snoke makes sense in the grand scheme of the current trilogy, too. We don't know with certainty that Snoke and Luke will physically confront one other, but it's logical when we consider they're the only two experienced Force users who stand on equal footing.
Rey may be training and getting better with every day, but she's probably not quite prepared to take on Snoke just yet. Accounting for Snoke holding a Force ring in his possession, there's good reason to believe Luke will be carrying an equally powerful artifact to combat the Supreme Leader.
We've Seen A Force Based Weapon That Wasn't A Lightsaber Before
Other than those two examples, Rogue One seemingly introduced a new Kyber based weapon without most fans noticing, providing even more evidence to back up previous claims of Kyber based armaments entering the fold.
In Rogue One, the film introduced us to Chirrut, a mysterious Force user who carries a staff with him, one that held a Kyber crystal in its tip. Chirrut's staff was presumably used to help the blind monk navigate the terrain, but he also used it as a weapon. In the film, it was indicated that the reason he survived crossing the no man's land without being killed by stormtroopers in the final act was because he was protected by the Force—could his staff have been acting as the conduit? If so, it indicates that the technology for Kyber-based weapons has been there all along, as Rogue One took place during the time of the original Star Wars trilogy. But now, with Jedis dying out, the time is right for new weapons based on Kyber tech to be introduced into canon.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.
[Source: Making Star Wars]