After Rian Johnson’s experiments on The Last Jedi proved divisive (to say the least), most expect Disney and Lucasfilm to play it safe with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Installing J.J. Abrams as director seemed like an indication that they were hoping for a return to the crowd-pleasing nostalgia trip of The Force Awakens, as did the reveal that Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine would be making a comeback.
But now, Disney has revealed new footage at their D23 Expo that suggests we might be in for some very surprising developments. Brandon Davis of Comicbook.com was in attendance at the panel, and provided this description:
“A special look back at Star Wars plays to conclude the presentation. It includes all of the previous films. “We’ve passed on all we know. The thousand generations live in you now but this is your fight.” It culminates with footage from the new movie. The group overlooks a small village. An army of ships in spaces. Rey cuts through trees. Kylo emerges from a ship. Rey and Kylo fight surrounded by water. Palpatine narrates — it nears its end” Rey is wearing a black robe — her red lightsaber splits in two, dual wielding like Darth Maul.”
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Rey in a black robe? Wielding a dual-bladed red lightsaber? What’s going on?!? It would be one heck of a twist for the trilogy if Rey – up to this point a model of heroism and morality – succumbed to the temptations of the Dark Side. Yet, how else can you explain her wearing a black robe and wielding a saber that sounds very reminiscent of Darth Maul’s?
My first thought was that this has to be connected with the return of Emperor Palpatine. In every single appearance he’s made across the saga he’s been trying to corrupt a Force user. Most of the Prequel Trilogy was about his slow seduction of Anakin Skywalker, then Return of the Jedi saw him trying the same trick on Luke Skywalker. Could Rey be his final roll of the dice, and has he succeeded this time? If nothing else, it’d certainly make for a shocking climax if the finale of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker showed a reformed Kylo Ren battling Rey in an attempt to prevent her making the same mistakes he did.