'Rise of Skywalker' Dark Rey Theory: 'Last Jedi' Already Revealed the Truth
Examining Episode VIII's secrets could help explain Episode IX.
After Disney released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage shown at D23 to the public Monday, the greatest new mystery has everything to do with Dark Rey. At the end of the trailer, Rey appears in dark robes wielding what’s referred to as a “reticulated red blade” in a StarWars.com blog post. Has everyone’s favorite Jedi newbie broken bad? Is this some kind of dark vision of the future?
Taking a fresh look at The Last Jedi, however, leads us to a possible explanation that would make for a really exciting twist in The Rise of Skywalker: Rey was always a clone, and Dark Rey is just another clone of the same person who’ll also appear in the film.
Potential spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Much has been said about how J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens implied that Rey was special, with a connection to the legacy of a prominent Force-wielding family like Kenobi or a Skywalker or maybe even a Palpatine. But then The Last Jedi retconned her backstory when Kylo Ren said her parents were “filthy junk traders” who sold her for drinking money, reinforced by Rey’s vision in the Ahch-To cave. With Abrams back in control with The Rise of Skywalker, will he retcon Johnson’s retcon?
He might, but in a way that will totally make you rethink your interpretation of Rey’s Force vision in The Last Jedi. You see, Rey may have been a clone all along.
After learning the truth about what happened in the fallout between Ben Solo and Luke Skywalker, Rey gives in to the temptation of a nearby cave on Ahch-To with strong connections to the Dark side of the Force. She hopes to learn about her parents, a desire that Kylo Ren calls her greatest weakness. There, she sees herself in a long a series of reflections “leading somewhere.” She says, “at the end, it would show me what I came to see.” What she sees disappoints her.
“Let me see them,” Rey pleads. “My parents. Please.”
Two shadows through a faded dark mirror coalesce into a single figure that is ultimately revealed as yet another reflection of Rey. She yearns to know more about where she comes from — and that might be exactly what the cave shows her. She just didn’t understand it yet.
“The idea was if the up top is the light, down underneath is the darkness,” Rian Johnson said in an interview with /Film of the scene. “And she descends down into there and has to see, just like Luke did in the cave, her greatest fear. And her greatest fear is [that], in the search for identity, she has nobody but herself to rely on.” Johnson is, of course, referring to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Vader fights Darth Vader in a similar Force cave, but he sees his own face under the mask.
From a narrative standpoint, each of these heroes are shown what they need to experience at that precise moment — the deeper symbolic meaning of truth underlying it all is more important than the literal truth.
Rey being a nobody isn’t about finding closure and the objective truth of her parents’ identity so much as it is about her being confronted with the reality of her situation. She was lost in the universe, desperate to find meaning in her existence and answers to all of her questions. But much like the Oracle in The Matrix telling Neo that he’s not “The One” — “She told you exactly what you needed to hear.” — Rey needs to learn a very humanist lesson here: Even if she learns who her parents are, that won’t change who she is, and it won’t help her discover what she’s worth.
Her value and identity and purpose, in a very humanistic sense, must be established on her own terms. In other words, she has to choose and embrace her own destiny without being swayed by external pressures, either the Light or the Dark side of the Force. In this, she might finally be the one to bring balance to the Force.
But this rich thematic assessment could also get a drastic twist in *The Rise of Skywalker if it turns out that Rey is just one of many clones.
Imagine a clone. Now imagine what you might tell them if they asked you who their parents were. They wouldn’t have parents at all, in the traditional sense. Even Boba Fett was merely a Jango Fett clone and not technically his son. All of the stormtrooper clones in the first two trilogies had the same DNA as Jango Fett, so they didn’t have fathers or mothers.
Rey wants so desperately to know the truth about her parents, but ultimately, her “parent” is someone that looks exactly like her. The viewer, and Rey, think she’s looking at a bunch of reflections in a magical mirror when in reality, she may be looking at the literal truth about her legacy as one of many clones.
What if the hero Rey that we all know is the successful result of a clone experiment hidden away on Jakku where Palpatine’s residual forces and the First Order couldn’t find her? And what if she isn’t the only one? That would explain where Dark Rey comes in.
We have to at least entertain the theory that Zorri Bliss, like Jango Fett many years ago, served as the blueprint for these theoretical Rey clones. Palpatine would have had no qualms with killing any clones that didn’t work out or weren’t obedient, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising if only a few, or even just one, survived.
Perhaps this very mystery is why we know so little about what happened in the 30 years between the original and current trilogies? It’ll be quite some time before we learn the truth about Dark Rey, but this feels like a plausible explanation that would finally make cloning relevant again in Star Wars.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released on December 20, 2019.