The number of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker leaks circling the internet right now can be a little overwhelming, but one of the most confounding rumors about Episode IX has to do with a sand worm that Rey fights early in the movie. The entire thing sounds a little farfetched, but a new Star Wars comic all about Kylo Ren may reveal that we’re simply looking at that sand worm from the wrong angle.
Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker below.
I just threw a lot at you, so let’s backtrack for a sec. According to a Making Star Wars leak from early September, one key scene in Rise of Skywalker will feature Rey and a group of her allies taking on a giant sand worm, which helps unlock new Force healing powers that were hiding dormant in Rey. We’re not totally sold on any of this — it kind of sounds like Dune — but let’s put that doubt aside for now because this will all make sense soon.
Meanwhile, in the lead-up to Episode IX, a series of Star Wars comic book one-shots have explored the histories and backstories of various key characters from the sequels trilogy, including Snoke, Poe Dameron, and, perhaps most important of all, Kylo Ren.
In the recently released Age of Resistance — Kylo Ren #1, a younger Kylo embarks on a mission that his grandfather, Darth Vader, had previously attempted and failed. An early preview showed Kylo conversing with a veteran Stormtrooper over strategy, but we didn’t know what the mission actually was. Well, now that the comic is here, we know, and it’s a real beast.
Here’s a key page from Age of Resistance — Kylo Ren, courtesy of the aptly named redditor u/The_Art_Jedi:
Could this monstrosity be the sand worm Rey fights in Rise of Skywalker? First, a few key Star Wars facts:
- That’s not a sand worm, it’s a Zillo Beast (but if you saw it in a short clip from Episode IX you might not be able to tell the difference).
- The Zillo Beast pictured above is actually a clone of the original beast. It was created by Emperor Palpatine and worshipped as a god by the Benathy, a race that lived on the periphery of the galaxy.
- Kylo Ren succesfully kills this specific Zillo Beast (at least, according to Wookiepedia/)
- Age of Resistance — Kylo Ren writer Charles Soule confirmed that Lucasfilm gave him a list of key plot points from Episode IX to guide his comic book story and make sure it connects to the upcoming movie in meaningful ways.
So where does this leave us? Well, even if the “sand worm” in The Rise of Skywalker isn’t the one pictured above, it’s definitely possible that Emperor Palpatine cloned more than one copy of the original creature. And with Palps making a comeback in Episode IX, it’s worth reconsidering any role he might have in shaping the galaxy and its inhabitants.
Maybe Palpatine even modified this Zillo Beast specifically to unleash Rey’s healing powers as part of his longterm plan to cheat death. Or maybe it’s protecting the Emperor’s weakened body early in the film before he manages to fully resurrect himself.
Then again, maybe sometimes a giant sand worm is just a giant sand worm.
Star Wars: The Rise of ~~ Sand Worm~~ Skywalker* slithers into theaters on December 20.