'Rise of Skywalker' D23 Footage Inspired Dark Rey Theories and So Much More

Unpacking all the recent 'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' theories after the D23 footage.

The end is nigh: At Disney’s D23 expo this past weekend, Lucasfilm showed a new nostalgic trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Clocking in at 2 minutes, 11 seconds, the controversial clip is labeled as a “D23 Special Look,” which means we’re due for one more trailer before The Rise of Skywalker premieres on December 20. In the clip, we see emotional scenes from previous Star Wars movies along with some scenes that debuted in the April Rise of Skywalker trailer. There’s also plenty of exciting new stuff.

The most interesting part of the new Rise of Skywalker trailer, by far, is the emergence of what everybody’s calling “Dark Rey.” Whip out your Sith army knife and let’s dig in.

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6 Theories That Might Explain “Dark Rey” in The Rise of Skywalker

In the final shot, we see Rey wearing a dark, Sith-like cloak with a double red lightsaber that’s way cooler than anything Darth Maul ever had. In a sci-fi franchise that often dips into magical fantasy, there could be a myriad of possible explanations.

Logic tells me that if Rey does straight-up turn to the Dark side, Disney wouldn’t reveal that in a trailer four months before the movie comes out. But maybe that’s what they want us to think? Is this a dark premonition of a potential future? Is this Kylo Ren’s nightmare? Is this Palpatine’s dream? Is she possessed by Palpatine? Is this an evil clone? Inverse’s Ryan Britt breaks down the six most likely theories that can explain it. Read more.

  • How do you think Dark Rey fits into The Rise of Skywalker? Email me your theory at corey@inverse.com.

Dark Rey’s Lightsaber Is Less Original Than You Might Think

Dark Rey’s cool lightsaber might seem like a totally new style of blade to most Star Wars fans, but it’ll look familiar to anyone who’s seen the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels … but everyone who wielded one either turned to the Dark side and/or was killed. Here’s more about who also wielded this style of saber.

My personal theory about this new lightsaber is that Rey fixes the blue Skywalker lightsaber and fights Kylo Ren with it midway through the movie, but they wind up semi-permanently swapping lightsabers, so she modifies his crude crossguard saber into something that aligns with her fighting style. She spent years of her life and most of The Force Awakens wielding a staff, and we saw her and Kylo Ren swap sabers briefly in The Last Jedi. In the modern era, this isn’t a big deal for Force-wielders.

Dark Rey Isn’t the Only Character Who Might Turn Evil

Aside from Dark Rey, the next most striking shot from the D23 footage is of C-3PO in what appears to be some kind of chair in a ship (maybe the Millennium Falcon?) — and his eyes are glowing red with an ominous glaze. Here’s why everyone’s concerned.

While everyone’s talking about Palpatine possessing Matt Smith’s secret character, Rey, or Kylo Ren, there’s another out-there theory that the “MacGuffin” of Episode IX is some kind of technological device that Palpatine has attached his essence to. He could have transcended into some kind of evil artificial intelligence that can control droids and the derelict ruins of the Death Star. More on that theory here.

More from a galaxy far, far away:

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Everyone’s Favorite Mindhunter BSU Member, Revealed

Thanks to everyone who replied to last week’s newsletter about who their favorite member of the Behavioral Science Unit was in Mindhunter Season 2. The data we collected has given us a great deal of insight that will help us profile the backgrounds and habits of our readers.

Everybody obviously hates Gregg Smith, who is the absolute worst for letting his do-gooder honesty impede the progress of our beloved Behavioral Science Unit on Mindhunter. After everyone got a chance to watch Season 2, Inverse’s Jake Kleinman asked you who your favorite member of the BSU was. Ford? Tench? Carr? The responses did not disappoint.

Lilian wrote in to say, “My favorite member is Bill Tench.” Jim agreed, saying, “Bill Tench. So well acted. What a great, complex character. He holds the show together.” I’d have to agree, Jim. Bill is a brilliant detective in his own right, even though Holden gets most of the credit for creating the BSU, and his sense of humility and humanity really keep them grounded in reality.

M. Vallazza was partial to Holden: “I really like all three of the major protagonists — Ford, Tench, and Carr. I do slightly favor Ford because he is soooo cute. I’ve seen all of Season 2 but didn’t like it as well as the first season.” Look, I’ll admit it. Ford is a cute man. But if I were to put my psychoanalysis hat on, I bet you didn’t like Season 2 because it complicated Ford’s position by compromising his mental health in ways that are realistic but incredibly frustrating if you really like him.

Durango’s favorite was Wendy Carr, but Dave had a really compelling pick: “My favorite (honorary) BSU member is Ed Kemper, since he gives them so much insight. How’s that for a non-answer?” Let me ask you something, Dave: Would you let Ed Kemper hug you? How would you react?


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Media via Lucasfilm