'Rise of Skywalker' Theory: Rey's Scary Red Lightsaber Isn't What You Think

Everyone's ignoring some pretty clear lessons from 'The Last Jedi.'

After Disney revealed footage of an evil looking Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wielding a fancy red double-sided lightsaber, fans we quick to speculate that “Dark Rey” could actually be a clone — and original Rey might be one too. There’s evidence to support this in The Last Jedi (remember when Rey can’t see her parents in the Force vision?), but there’s another important lesson to be gleaned from Episode VIII that helps contextualize why Rey looks like she’s turned to the Dark side.

As we race towards the end of the Skywalker Saga, it seems the classic binaries of the Star Wars universe don’t matter anymore. Last Jedi started that trend, and Rise of the Skywalker could finish it. It’s possible that by the end of Episode IX, Dark Rey is just regular Rey using a red lightsaber. She’s not a Sith. She’s not a Jedi.

Light side versus Dark side of the Force. Jedi versus Sith. Good versus evil. Red versus green/blue lightsabers. Since A New Hope, Star Wars has always dealt in these oversimplified binary frameworks, but the new trilogy has deconstructed all of this over two movies so far. If The Last Jedi broke from this mold, The Rise of Skywalker might shatter it.

When Rey can’t see her parents in the Ahch-To Force cave and learns via Kylo Ren that they were alcoholic junk traders, she realizes that she can’t dwell on missing a family that she can’t even remember. She has to establish a sense of self-worth on her own terms. In other words, she has to embrace her destiny without being swayed by external pressures, either the Light or the Dark side of the Force. In this, she’ll probably be the one to bring balance to the Force. Part of that could involve transcending stereotypes about what color lightsabers people are compelled to use.

rise of skywalker rey versus kylo ren
Kylo Ren vs. Rey on some wreckage in the ocean of some planet.

We know that the blue Skywalker lightsaber broke in The Last Jedi, but Rey seems to be using a repaired version of it in the first The Rise of Skywalker trailer. She also uses it to fight Kylo Ren on what appears to be Death Star wreckage, as we’ve seen in Vanity Fair photos and the latest D23 footage.

What if this happens midway through the movie, she loses this fight, and Kylo Ren claims the blue lightsaber? Rey might walk away with his red crossguard lightsaber, which she then customizes into a weapon that’s more suitable for her. Namely, a double-sided lightsaber that feels similar to the staff she used for years back on Jakku. Alternatively, maybe the best she can do is find one or two corrupted red kyber crystals as the power sources for a new weapon? Better than nothing, right?

Disney loves a good bit that involves heroes swapping weapons, so it makes something similar in The Rise of Skywalker feel that much more probable. Avengers: Endgame had a comedic moment of Thor and Captain America swapping weapons. In The Last Jedi, Rey summons Kylo Ren’s lightsaber to threaten Snoke, while Kylo Ren uses the blue lightsaber to kill Snoke and later defeat one of the red-clad guards. Some of these moments were teased before the movie even came out, and even then people incorrectly assumed she would fall to the Dark side.

The point of that demonstration was to show to Star Wars fans that none of these binaries matter anymore in the modern context. It doesn’t matter what color lightsaber people use. The sword is just a tool.

rey dual bladed lightsaber
The "Sith army knife" is the best fan edit of Rey's new lightsaber.

If Kylo Ren had walked away with the Skywalker lightsaber in The Last Jedi, and it was still intact, do you really think he would corrupt it and turn it red just to fit a neat color scheme that’s been programmed into our brains for 40 years? No, he wouldn’t. He would just use it. Who cares about the color of your laser sword?

The point of all this is to elucidate the point that Rey is a resourceful hero who literally grew up scavenging whatever she could find in desperate circumstances. She’s going to take whatever weapon she can find. Assuming this Dark Rey scene isn’t a vision or dream, as some recent supposed leaks indicate, we don’t have to automatically assume that just because Rey has a cool red lightsaber she’s turned to the Dark side.

Recent Rise of Skywalker leaks make it seem like this special lightsaber might be the MacGuffin that drives the plot forward, but ultimately, it’s probably just another laser sword that our hero wouldn’t hesitate to use if given the chance.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released December 20, 2019.