Daisy Ridley teases Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's "Dark Rey" is real. This past weekend, Star Wars 9 was one of the many projects Disney promoted during the biennial D23 Expo, with director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and various members of the cast on hand to discuss the film. Lucasfilm didn't bring a new theatrical trailer, but there was still a special look at Star Wars 9 featuring new footage. The teaser ended with the tantalizing image of Rey dressed in all-black robes, wielding a new double-bladed red lightsaber.
The shock factor of this shot led to it spawning a plethora of fan theories mere hours after the footage screened at D23. At the end of The Last Jedi, Rey seemed to have firmly chosen her path to follow the light side of the Force, but the latest Star Wars 9 preview hinted some kind of turn was in order. As moviegoers continue to speculate, Ridley herself is fanning the flames to that particular fire.
In an interview with Yahoo at D23, Ridley was asked about the Dark Rey reveal. The actress, who by now is a veteran of the Star Wars press game, kept her comments brief, but nevertheless fascinating:
"I mean, the evidence is on the screen. Take that evidence as you will. But there’s no smoke without fire."
A popular theory to emerge over the past couple of days is the Dark Rey shot isn't confirmation of Rey's turn, but instead part of a dream or vision sequence (a la the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens). Since Lucasfilm historically avoids putting outright plot spoilers in marketing materials, logic dictates Rey doesn't actually go to the dark side in the final film. That sounds like something the studio would want to save for December, rather than give away in August. But by saying, "there's no smoke without fire," Ridley is suggesting there's some truth to Dark Rey. That would make for quite a plot twist in Star Wars 9, and potentially a very tricky one to pull off at this stage in the trilogy. Of course, right now it's difficult to gauge the context of the Dark Rey shot since so little official information is available.
It will be interesting to see if more of Dark Rey is seen throughout the rest of the promotional campaign. There's still a full theatrical trailer on the way, plus a bevy of TV spots as the release date draws nearer. Depending on what Lucasfilm wants to highlight, fans may get a better idea of what Dark Rey entails. At the same time, it'd be smart to not read too much into what the trailers present. Like any other movie studio, Lucasfilm has been known to employ sneaky tricks in advertising. The Star Wars trailers tend to be more about establishing the tone and atmosphere of a project, rather than outlining the entire main narrative. Whether Dark Rey is merely a dream or in fact reality in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remains to be seen, but the shot got people talking. And honestly, that means it did its job.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019