In Star Wars Rebels, the World Between Worlds was introduced as a mystical plane that connects all moments in time, creating a pathway through time and space. It was key to the series finale, and added an exciting mystical crossroads that linked the entire saga. In a way, the World Between Worlds was like the Force itself, binding everything, and it allowed its few visitors to access precise moments in time. Guess which dark-robed Galactic Emperor wanted admission to its halls, because it would grant him control over the galaxy?

Ezra Bridger breached the World Between Worlds portal on Lothal before the Emperor, and that’s when the real fun begins. For Ezra, this place is a dark and starry plane delimited by bright, white paths. They lead to geometric portals, "moments in time" that he can interact with. He even manages to pull Ahsoka Tano out of her timeline to save her from death at the hands of Darth Vader.

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As Ezra walks through this world, he hears voices from moments in the Star Wars franchise, past and future. Ezra’s story is roughly set between the collapse of the Republic and the beginning of A New Hope, but the voices talking to him also belong to Leia, Obi-Wan, Maz Kanata and even to Kylo Ren and Rey.

This experience looked like a slow-paced version of Rey’s Force vision when she touched Anakin’s lightsaber in The Force Awakens. Specifically, the part where she fell into a rainy world at an unspecified point in time and an armored figure attacked her. Kylo Ren killed the attacker, seemingly sensing her presence through time and space. This brief vision suggests that she would have been able to interact with that “moment in time,” much like Ezra was able to pull Ahsoka out. However, it also suggests that, although these moments might be changed, the course of time should still follow a predetermined, immutable path.

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On Rebels, Ezra and the Emperor wanted to access the World Between Worlds through a painting of the gods of planet Mortis, deep within the Jedi Temple. The Mortis gods are the Father (or the Balance,) the Daughter (who represents the Light Side of the Force) and the Son (the Dark Side), and they already featured prominently in the Clone Wars episode "Altar of Mortis." However, there’s no reason to believe that these portals to the World Between Worlds only exist on Loth and Mortis, particularly since the Emperor seems to have gained access to this place, even if he can’t completely control its powers (probably since Vader killed him.)

We could go back to the rumored Force Flash Fights between Kylo Ren and Rey, and to the practicalities of their seemingly impossible bond, as featured in The Last Jedi. Establishing an illusion like that using only brute Force across the galaxy killed Luke, so it's strange that Snoke managed to create and maintain their link for such a long time without it collapsing.

But maybe Snoke linked Kylo and Rey by taking a shortcut through the World Between Worlds, using the knowledge acquired by the Emperor back in Rebels. If the Force Flash Fights happen in iconic places and times of the saga (Tatooine, Mustafar, Naboo, Coruscant, Yavin-4, Hoth) and both Kylo and Rey are able to interact with their environment and with each other, that probably means that they are linked through the World Between Worlds.

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That doesn’t mean that they should be trying to change the past (or to “kill it, if they have to”). As Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni said in the series commentary:

“The World Between Worlds is really about knowledge and gaining knowledge. As the Dume wolf says, what's in there is knowledge and destruction. You can gain knowledge of the future or futures that may happen, and you can see things that happened in the past. You can at times choose to alter them, but it's perilous to do so and when you alter something you don't know if that's not the way it always happened. So, destruction is the other half of what's in there. When you go through these doorways, you're in peril of destruction because you're missing all sorts of things that would have happened or things would've happened otherwise, you know, so it's a dangerous game, but it's not something we're here going in and out of different doors. It's an extension of the Jedi's ability to perceive the future and the past, as described in Empire Strikes Back.”

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Any character in the current Star Wars universe would be tempted to alter the past. Imagine being able to kill Palpatine before he took over the Republic, or to destroy the Hutts or Zygarrians, enslavers of planets, with one fell swoop. Or to knock off Padmé before she went to confront Anakin on Mustafar so that she could live, or to save the young padawans in Coruscant's Jedi Temple before they were murdered. Or to even prevent Kylo Ren from killing Han Solo. The possibilities are endless and right there in the text: Even the novelization of The Last Jedi opens with Luke dreaming of an alternate reality in which he lived a full life as a normal human in Tatooine, and waking up with a start.

From a meta perspective, this kind of power would be a great commentary on the fan culture surrounding Star Wars, particularly since Disney took over and the Expanded Universe became Legends. Aren’t we always looking back at the lost canon and endlessly discussing what the future of the series is going to be? Maybe Mara Jade and twins Jacen and Jaina exist in an alternate universe that could be accessed through the World Between Worlds. Or maybe the Expanded Universe was destroyed because someone messed with the timeline, and all that’s left are echoes and story fragments (the Legends). After all, J.J. Abrams already rebooted Star Trek in 2009 (which was defined by Honest Trailers as his "Star Wars demo reel") by using the different timelines technique.

Finally, pulling off the World Between Worlds would be a great move for Disney+, Marvel and Lucasfilm. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel universe is looking like a smorgasbord of potential storylines. WandaVision and Doctor Strange 2: in the Multiverse of Madness are already setting up this “every possible story might be told” magical space. Why restrict Star Wars, a legendary sci-fi/fantasy series, to a single, stable and exhaustible timeline?

Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives Dec. 20.

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