It was two seconds that launched two billion theories. We’re talking, of course, of the brief glimpse of “Dark Rey” from last month’s new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage. Seeing the trilogy’s hero wearing the black hood of the dark side, wielding a double red lightsaber, was shocking and mysterious. What could it possibly mean?
Like everyone else, we don’t know, but we’ve come up with a bunch of theories and ranked them from most logical to utterly ridiculous. Enjoy...
J.J. Abrams and his team want you to believe this. They want you to believe that Rey, the hero of this entire saga, goes against every instinct she’s had for two-plus movies and just breaks bad. Yeah. Sure, J.J. Which basically means, if they want us to believe Rey just straight up turns to the Dark Side, Anakin-style, we know it won’t be true. Come on now.
This is probably the most logical explanation out there. Rey is trying to find her place, learn more about the Force, yadda yadda, and sees a glimpse of what she could become if she gives into anger, fear, etc. We’ve seen this kind of thing before with a rising Jedi (Luke in the cave on Dagobah) and we know from The Last Jedi that Rey has darkness in her, if she chooses to explore it. But it makes too much sense. It’s almost certainly what actually happens, and that’s just no fun. Moving on.
I love this theory because it’s the perfect balance of “No freaking way” and “Well...maybe.” Disney, which owns Lucasfilm, has been known to purposefully put shots that aren’t in a movie in a trailer to throw off fans, such as that Infinity War shot above. Would they dare do it with Star Wars? Probably not but, if they did, Dark Rey would be an amazing troll. A perfect gut punch to internet speculation as the trilogy of trilogies ends. But, come on. We know that’s not going to happen. It’s in there. We just have to wait and find out what it is.
Clones are a huge part of Star Wars. There’s a whole movie named about them after all. So when we see a character that looks like Rey but isn’t exhibiting Rey’s trademark personality traits it’s easy to think maybe it’s a clone. Think “Reey,” sort of like Luuke from the Expanded Universe. Or, even better, maybe we finally go back to Kamino and there’s like a whole army of Reys like something out of Comic-Con and the Jedi now are just all Reys. Or, you know...not.
Another possibility that’s hypothetically in the realm of Star Wars is that Dark Rey is not a Rey at all. There are characters, like the clawdite, who can shapeshift to look like someone or something else. Zam Wesell from Attack of the Clones is the most famous example. Could one of those have been employed for...some reason? Sure, why not! Maybe General Hux hired one to sneak into Kylo Ren’s room looking like Rey to try and murder him. But instead, Jango Fett shoots it with a dart...wait, wrong Star Wars movie.
The Force can do almost anything. So it seems like a possibility that someone (Kylo Ren, the Emperor, etc.) is using the Force to make Rey do things against her will. Like put on new clothes. And construct a new lightsaber. And make that lightsaber like a switchblade. And find some new kyber crystals...you get our drift here? This makes no freaking sense. It’s just too much, even disregarding how unflattering it would be in regards to Rey’s willpower. We don’t buy it.
Things in this list are about to go off the rails, folks, starting with this entry. This kind of dovetails with “It’s a vision” but think of a more Reylo spin. What if this version of Rey, Dark Rey, is what Kylo dreams about? His ideal woman. The version of Rey he truly covets in every way imaginable...if you know what we’re saying. Think about it. No, seriously, think about it. Ben has just come back from a long day of killing Resistance fighters. He’s tired, sore, takes off his shirt, and lays down to sleep. He closes his eyes and what pops into his head? Rey. Dark Rey. Okay, we’ll stop now.
You wouldn’t see that coming, would you? One of the most shocking moments in The Last Jedi is when Supreme Leader Snoke is killed by Kylo Ren. And yet, Snoke is very strong with the Dark Side of the Force. Jedi can come back in a spirit form so who is to say Snoke hasn’t figured out a way to come back in another way? Like, using the Dark Side to take over the mind, body, and soul of Rey. In this obviously plausible Freaky Friday scenario he’s laces-up his black robes, constructs a red lightsaber, and maybe tries to touch base with the person who killed him, Kylo Ren. That would be one way to enact revenge, right?
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?” No? Well, he’s the Sith Lord that supposedly conquered death, a story that helped Palpatine sway Anakin to the Dark Side. Plagueis’ true nature, in canon, is fuzzy at best so if you want to get real out-there with your theories, maybe the way the Sith Lord found his way back to life was by coming back as a young baby. Maybe a young girl. Maybe a young girl who got left on Jakku but was mysteriously strong with the Force, almost as if she was a Dark Lord of the Sith in a previous life. That’s right. Dark Rey is the REINCARNATION OF PLAGUEIS HIMSELF! JUST BIDING HIS TIME TO STRIKE HIS ENEMIES! Muwhahahaha. Shit. Even just writing kind of sounds awesome in a way.
Let us explain. Star Wars is all about keeping to one reality in one timeline, right? The canon of Star Wars. Everything impacts everything else. But it is science fiction. People travel at the speed of light. So what if Dark Rey is from an alternate dimension? A non-canon dimension where, say, Anakin never became Vader, his kids Luke and Leia were trained as Jedi, Luke went to the dark side and made Rey his apprentice, and then sent his apprentice through the World between Worlds to destroy her counterpart? Hey, it could happen. (It won’t happen.)
For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom.