9 'Rise of Skywalker' Theories to Explain Rey's Red Lightsaber, Ranked

Is it the weapon of a true Sith warrior or just a loaner saber Rey's holding for a friend?

We’re all worried about Rey’s state-of-mind in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but maybe focusing on Rey’s allegiance to a certain faction of the Force is the wrong way to think about all of this. Instead, maybe we should be only be focused on that wicked-ass double-bladed red lightsaber.

Obviously, Dark Rey theories and double-bladed lightsaber theories overlap just like a … well, just like Rey’s double-bladed lightsaber. But, what happens when we just focus on theories about Rey’s saber? Where did it come from? How old is it? Who built it?

The story behind an object in Star Wars is sometimes just as interesting as the people. Early drafts of The Force Awakens suggested that J.J. Abrams considered opening the film with Luke’s severed hand and lightsaber floating through space and in that same film, Rey’s “Force-back” vision showed her a partial story of what had happened to the Skywalker family’s blue-bladed lightsaber.

So what’s the story with this saber? Is it an elegant weapon from a more Sith-filled age? Did Rey just build it? What if it’s a loaner? Here are nine theories about Rey’s new saber, ranging from internet mind-tricks to Jedi visions of the future.

Speculative spoilers and material about possible Rise of Skywalker leaks below.

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Rey in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'.

9. The Lightsaber Isn’t Real at All

If the image we see of Dark Rey is 100 percent an illusion or false vision of the future or the past, then this theory states that the lightsaber itself isn’t real either. As many, many fans have pointed out, this theory seems the least likely because the lightsaber is such a physical and technical object. If Dark Rey was an illusion or a bad dream, it seems more likely she’d be holding her usual saber, or perhaps that saber with a red blade. But, because this is a totally new lightsaber, this theory feels the least likely. This sucker existed at some point, right?

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Rey

8. It’s Rey’s New Lightsaber Because She’s Evil as Sith

Okay, so the most literal interpretation of Rey’s new lightsaber is weirdly one of the least likely, but here goes: The new double-bladed lightsaber is something Rey has built because she has — however briefly — turned to the Dark Side. Like Kylo Ren’s saber, Rey’s red saber seems to crackle and hiss, implying the kyber crystal powering it is cracked, or Rey isn’t totally bad, yet.

Relatively recently, Star Wars canon established that the reason a red lightsaber is red is because the crystal bleeds after the user does something really, really bad. Meaning, your lightsaber can change colors, and Rey’s has changed colors because she’s done something bad enough to cause the crystal to bleed.

Ezra with a cross-guard lightsaber in 'Rebels'
Ezra with a cross-guard lightsaber in 'Rebels'

7. It’s an Ancient Lightsaber Rey Picks Up in an Old Sith Temple

In the Rebels episode “Twilight of the Apprentice” Ezra Bridger finds an old-school cross-guard lightsaber in a Sith temple on Malachore. The saber looks a lot like Kylo Ren’s saber, only green. Why mention this? Well, it’s totally conceivable that Rey simply picks-up this lightsaber in a similar setting and quickly decides to use it. After all, the exact same thing happened in The Last Jedi when she grabbed Kylo Ren’s saber.

'The Last Jedi' lightsaber
Rey presents Luke with his old lightsaber.

6. It’s a Mysterious Artifact and Maybe the Murder Weapon That Killed Her Parents

One rowdy rumor suggests that part of the plot of Rise of Skywalker will focus on Rey, Finn, and Poe trying to unravel the mystery of a murder weapon that is secretly this double-bladed lightsaber — except they don’t know it at first.

This rumor states that Rey learns that this saber is the saber that killed her parents and that the Dark Rey vision suggests that Rey herself is the person who killed them. This theory seems nuts mostly because it comes out of nowhere. Then again, who knows? If this saber was the murder weapon that killed her parents, maybe the vision is just Rey’s guilt about that fact, and not something that literally suggests she killed them. In any case, this theory could allow the saber to be a real object, but also create a situation where Rey wields it in a vision while holding it in real life at the same time. 

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Is Rey a clone?

5. That’s a Clone of Rey, So the Lightsaber Was Built by Clone Rey

This one is easy. If there are multiple Reys running around, then they all could have lightsabers. Some might say that the Clone Rey theory sounds bonkers, but recall, there’s a precedent in the Legends canon, and also, it would be amazing if Rey fought herself in the last episodic Star Wars movie ever. You thought Cap on Cap was hot in Avengers: Endgame? Well, get ready for Rey versus Rey! (Maybe.)

Star Wars Attack of the Clones
This green lightsaber was one that Anakin was just borrowing. Really.

4. She’s Just Borrowing It

There is a precedent for people borrowing lightsabers. Remember in Attack of the Clones when Obi-Wan and Anakin both lost their sabers and then those two dudes tossed them a few loaner sabers out of nowhere? Yeah. What are the rules there? Who builds the loaner sabers? Why do loaner sabers have the crystals that they do? Who knows and maybe who cares? If the saber is a loaner saber then nobody has to think about any of this.

palpatine
He's got to have a better saber than this one, right?

3. She Stole It From Palpatine

This is my favorite idea: What if Rey does pretend to turn to the Dark Side of the Force (kinda like Luke in Dark Empire) and then, at the right moment, she turns on the Emperor, stealing a double-bladed lightsaber that Palpatine had been rocking for part of the movie? Let’s face it, nobody ever really liked Palpatine’s lightsaber in Revenge of the Sith, meaning, he needs a better one. If this lightsaber is Palpatine’s, everything makes sense. It’s totally his style.

(This theory also works if Rey steals Kylo’s lightsaber and makes a new custom saber out of it.)

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Young Rey being abandoned on Jakku in a flashback.

2. The Lightsaber Belonged to One of Rey’s Parents

If the lightsaber belonged to her parents, it could imply one of her parents was a secret Jedi or a secret Sith. I like this theory because it could invert how we feel about what the Rebellion did to the galaxy after beating the Empire. Imagine the political situation: the Rebels are forming the New Republic, and so, they decide to track down anybody who likes to dabble in the Dark Side. You could have a situation where a really pious crusade happens and anybody who ever had ties to the Sith could be hunted down. (I also think it’s possible that the plot of The Mandalorian could be about a bounty hunter killing Imperials while on the payroll of the Rebels.) Anyway, Jyn Erso’s mom was a secret Jedi, so, could one of Rey’s parents have been a secret Sith?

Even if you don’t buy that, there are all kinds of reasons Rey’s family might have been holding onto that lightsaber. If they were junk dealers, then maybe the saber is simply something they were trying to sell. And, when they realized their young daughter was really good with it, they freaked out.

Dark Rey
Dark Rey

1. Rey Does Make a Double-Bladed Lightsaber, but the Red-One Is From a Possible Future Vision

For hardcore Star Wars completists everything I just wrote up-top about how a red saber becomes red will read as a giant “no duh.” But it’s worth noting only because the idea that a crystal becomes red because of something the user does is really new canon. Prior to the novel Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston and the Darth Vader Marvel comic miniseries by Charles Soule, Sith lightsabers had red blades because the crystals they used were synthetic. But, since this new canon was established, good lightsabers (blue, green and purple) can go bad.

For example, it’s generally accepted that Kylo Ren’s crossguard lighstaber is actually just his first good-guy blue lightsaber from The Last Jedi flashbacks. Here’s how that theory goes: Kylo broke bad, the crystal bled to red, but cracked in the process because Kylo isn’t 100 percent evil. This is why Kylo’s saber is a little spitty and unstable, which is similar to what we see of Rey’s new saber.

Which brings us to what I think is the most likely theory: Somewhere in the course of the movie Rey could build a double-bladed lightsaber, but it’s a blue or green-bladed kind. What we’re seeing is some kind of potential Force-vision — ala’ Dagobah in Empire — and in this vision, Dark Rey is carrying real Rey’s lightsaber, but the saber is red and cracked and crazy. The saber isn’t fake. The vision is a possible vision of what Rey could become if she followed Kylo’s path. Which, since The Last Jedi, feels like where the story is going.

If Rey’s lightsaber is a real thing, and not an illusion, then it could make Star Wars history as the first saber that has two different blade colors in the same movie.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

Media via Lucasfilm, Star Wars