Star Wars fans gasped as one at the sight of the latest trilogy’s heroine, Rey, looking a damn sight more evil than usual and wielding a double-edged red lightsaber, in footage for the upcoming finale, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
With her skin looking grey and sunken, her hooded robe jet-black, and her eyes burning with the kind of hateful intensity usually associated with a Sith lord, could it be that the once potential saviour of the galaxy has thrown aside her friends and companions and turned to the Dark Side?
With much of The Rise of Skywalker remaining a mystery, we will sadly have to wait until the film’s release to find out exactly what’s happening (and whether our heroes are doomed), but until then speculation is rife. Here are five fan theories screaming “What’s up with Rey?” that have been doing the rounds…
1. This scene isn’t in the film
Perhaps a bit of a cop-out, the theory goes that this particular scene isn’t even in The Rise of Skywalker and is, instead, just a cheeky bit of footage to tease fans and get bums on cinema seats.
Though a little cynical, this marketing trick has been deployed by other big blockbusters. Avengers: Infinity War used footage of Captain America leading a charge of Avengers – including the Hulk – in the battle of Wakanda, but no such thing occurred in the finished film.
And Star Wars movies themselves have used this technique. The trailers for The Force Awakens, for example, featured a shot of Kylo Ren igniting his hilted lightsaber in the snow – but, again, this didn’t appear in the film when it hit theatres.
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2. Evil Rey is a clone
Beyond soldiers, the use of clones has been very limited as far as the Star Wars movies go. Well, that could all be about to change, with some fans suggesting there could be more than one Rey, with evil Rey being a clone raised under the cloud of the Dark Side.
All they would need is a drop of blood, or a single hair, easily obtained during one of Rey’s many altercations with the First Order and Kylo Ren. Perhaps Rey and her clone were even more of a long game than that, and evil Rey has been working behind the scenes this entire time. This could well have been hinted at by the trippy sequence in The Last Jedi, in which Rey sees multiple reflections of herself while exploring a cave on Ahch-To. There may even be more than one, and The Rise of Skywalker could see a whole army of Reys.
3. It’s all just a Force vision
This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen an evil version of one of our antagonists, with Luke Skywalker’s famous venture into the forests of Dagobah revealing his own face underneath Darth Vader’s helmet. This was, of course, a hint towards Luke’s parentage, but this kind of Force vision would explain the shocking sight of evil Rey.
A dark reflection of herself, the vision could be showing Rey the dark side of her power that she must defeat in order to triumph over the First Order. The battle between light and dark is always present within the Jedi, and this could be a more visual representation of the temptation that’s claimed so many Jedi before her.
4. She’ll turn to the Dark Side
There could be a very simple, if saddening, explanation to all of this... maybe Rey turns to the Dark Side. Her willingness to explore all sides of herself and her power has been hinted at, particularly while under her short-lived tutelage from Luke in The Last Jedi – and maybe, just maybe, she succumbs to temptation.
Whether it be the influence of Palpatine, or her affection for Kylo Ren, Rey could go the way of Anakin and be coaxed into joining the other side, forcing her friends to fight against her and her slick, new red lightsaber. Turning a hero into a villain is an idea that was touted for Luke many years ago, so it’s not unknown to the Star Wars writing room.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in Cineworld cinemas on 19th December.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.