There was widespread joy across the galaxy this morning as Star Wars fans woke up to Vanity Fair’s extensive preview for Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. It’s tempting to dive right in and gather up every last bit of information, but, as VF senior staff writer Joanna Robinson teased on Twitter, there’s actually a clue hidden in the two covers for this Rise of Skywalker-focused issue, and it’s all about Kylo Ren and Rey.
Possible spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
Shortly after the feature went live on VF’s site on Wednesday morning, Robinson hopped on Twitter to share a side-by-side photo of the two Rise of Skywalker covers. One features Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the other features Rey (Daisy Ridley). Robinson captioned the photo with: “There’s actually a pretty clever hidden meaning behind our matching Kylo and Rey covers and I’ll be so curious to know if any of you figure it out before #TheRiseOfSkywalker opens.”
Robinson’s tease that a big Rise of Skywalker clue is hiding in plain sight on both VF covers immediately sent fans into sleuth mode. Her comments were filled with guesses as to what exactly the hidden meaning was and possible theories about how it would play into the final film of the Skywalker saga.
Here are the internet’s four best guesses for what the Vanity Fair Star Wars cover might be hiding.
4. The Missing Hands Are the Key
One of the first things fans picked up on was the fact that one of Kylo and Rey’s respective hands are obscured. Likely connecting the dots that both Luke Skywalker and his father Darth Vader lost a hand each and the Episode IX subtitle is The Rise of Skywalker, fans guessed that this was a hint that Kylo and Rey would lose one of their hands during the film.
The implication to this theory seems to be that if a Skywalker is meant to rise once again, they might be re-created in Luke’s image, which would include losing a hand. Or, if history is set to repeat itself, Kylo or Rey (or both) could lose a hand while fighting each other or another enemy, signaling the rise of another Skywalker.
3. The Setting Is Telling
Fans also picked up on the fact that the sun appeared to be setting on Kylo’s cover while it seemed to be rising on Rey’s. This led to variations on the theory that The Rise of Skywalker will show the end of The Empire/First Order or the end of something in Kylo Ren’s life (possibly even the actual end of his own life) and the start of something new for Rey.
2. It’s All About Unity?
Twitter user @mlbookworm took the opposite approach with a guess that the covers appear to unify Kylo and Rey. Instead of interpreting the sunrise and/or sunset to mean these two are in opposition, they believe that the photo shows these two in the same place at the same time, hinting at a unified front between these former enemies.
It’s a more optimistic approach to the setting theory and could still make sense for the story the Rise of Skywalker trailer is hinting at. Rather than Rey rising up after defeating Kylo, the two characters with a unique Force Connection coming together to take down the Empire would be a poetic end to the Skywalker saga. It certainly doesn’t hurt that when the covers are shown side-by-side, they literally appear to be on the same page… Interesting.
1. The Words on the Cover Might Be the Connection
Okay, this one might be the biggest stretch of them all, but it could actually work. Twitter user @semperfidani pieced together the titles from each of the articles featured on both covers as a way of seeing whether the hidden meaning was there. They theorize that “maybe the title of the other articles? The crash and burn of the Return of (the) Empire (which leads to) The next frontier?” is the big hint about what we can expect from The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s a huge leap to mix and match words from other article titles to create a theory, but @semperfidani’s reading of those titles kinda works within the confines of the Star Wars Skywalker saga and the story we’re expecting to see in December. Is it so wild it could actually work? Or just wild?
Robinson hasn’t confirmed the hidden meaning behind the covers and likely won’t until The Rise of Skywalker comes out in seven long months. For now, we only have these theories to rely on when it comes to figuring out what the hidden meaning behind the covers may be.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters December 20, 2019.