Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Is Max Von Sydow Playing Kanan Jarrus?

Does this mean he’ll survive Star Wars Rebels?

Max Von Sydow is a fantastic actor with a distinguished career. Everyone celebrated when it was announced he was going to be in The Force Awakens… but we still have no idea who he was going to play. Sure, there was that rumor that he’s playing an older Boba Fett (which we still don’t believe), but it isn’t the only rumor out there.

Which brings us to the latest fan theory: Movie Pilot is theorizing that Sydow will be playing Kanan Jarrus, the lead from Star Wars Rebels.

How likely is this?

Well, the age lines up. Kanan was born 33 years before A New Hope. The Force Awakens takes place about 33 years after A New Hope. That would make Kanan a little below 70 years old. Max Von Sydow is in his 80s, so we can see where that makes sense.

It’s also been rumored that Sydow will be playing a character that fans will recognize, and Kanan will certainly fit that bill.

However, thinking that Sydow will be playing Kanan is very arbitrary. It could just as easily be his apprentice Ezra. If Rebels is on the trajectory it seems to be on, it’s very likely that Kanan will eventually sacrifice himself for Ezra’s survival. Of course, that’s merely speculation on our part.


So… why is it unlikely then?

Luke Skywalker is being touted as a sage in The Force Awakens. He’s the mysterious and powerful Force user people are looking for. He’s also the only real connection with the Jedi of the galaxy. Finding Luke is a big deal.

So, having Kanan Jarrus, an actual Jedi from the Clone Wars era, hanging around kind of negates one of the central tenants of the story. It takes away the power and gravitas from Luke’s character because Kanan, in many ways, actually outranks Luke in experience. Luke is famous for training with Yoda and facing Darth Vader, but Kanan has also done both those things. It destroys the drama of the situation, and thus it’s highly unlikely J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan went that route. In all honestly, Kasdan probably hasn’t seen any of Star Wars Rebels and thus has no idea who Kanan Jarrus is.

It’s more likely that Sydow will probably just be playing an original character. If he is playing a character from the past, he’ll be from the original trilogy.


  1. In the comments there was mention of the overseeing Disney lot that are overseeing TFA and Rebels and whilst yes that’s true it doesn’t mean they have a massive impact on the story Kasdan and Abrams have created, they will of course be told the story has to follow certain lines and include characters though the latter I think was more we want you to bring back Luke and the OT gang more than you must have these specific characters we’ve just introduced since we bought Luscasfilm. I think we can be fairly sure with the exception of adding the OT characters and the direction the story must go I think the story is very much their own, I’d be surprised if they had said you must include Kanan or Ezra.
    As for Sydow we’ll just have to wait and as they’ve said the character will be familiar I’d take that to mean familiar to audiences from the films more than anything as the films reach the wider audience there are probably quite a few people that watch the films but don’t watch Rebels or TCW so they’d have to re establish those characters for the wider audience in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people that enjoyed the original trilogy but stopped watching the prequels so I think it would be an original trilogy character especially as Disney have put a lot of focus on that aspect if you look at what EA is doing with Battlefront it is very OT focused I assume as a follow on TFA would also draw a lot of parallels from the OT.

  2. Kasdan having seen Rebels or not doens’t matter. The story is dictated by the New Canon Story Group (headed up by Pablo Hidalgo) and they handle both Rebels and TFA…so even though Kasdan is penning the script, the story and character choices are all with that Story Group.

  3. So Kanan is supposed to be around 66 in TFA. Max von Sydow is currently 86. How do the ages ‘line up’? And Ezra? He’s supposed to be around 52.

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