A few days ago, a clip from the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker made its way online that shows Kylo Ren journeying to a mysterious location while Palpatine feeds ominous words into his mind.
In this moody sequence, the Original Trilogy villain confirms an old fan theory when he reveals that he was the voice in Ben Solo’s head this whole time. But if recent speculation has it right, then Sheev may not be the only familiar remnant of a previous Star Wars era to have a presence in the scene.
At the 40-second mark, after Kylo has descended into the giant stone structure, you’ll find a shot featuring a mysterious shape in the background. And while it’s hard to say for sure just what we’re looking at, many fans are now speculating that it might be a statue of Darth Nihilus, the malevolent “Lord of Hunger” who was first introduced in the 2004 game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
If it is indeed a statue of the Sith Lord himself, then it’s unlikely his appearance will amount to much more than a quick Easter egg. After all, J.J. Abrams has enough on his plate without having to worry about another villain entering the fray. Still, the timing of the reference would be interesting, seeing how we already know that Lucasfilm is working on a Knights of the Old Republic film series.
Is it possible that this one shot will serve as a subtle and fan-pleasing hint of things to come? We wouldn’t rule it out, but before we worry too much about what’s next for the franchise, we’ll find out how the current era comes to a close when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.