With all the excitement surrounding the final Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, all thoughts of “Dark Rey” seem to have disappeared from the collective minds of fans. However, while the latest look at Episode IX may have confirmed Emperor Palpatine’s return, a tantalizing new theory suggests that the mysterious figure believed to be Palpatine is actually Dark Rey.
Confused? It actually makes a lot of sense and the evidence is pretty damning. So let’s dive in.
Warning! Speculative spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
When Dark Rey first appeared in the D23 Expo trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, several fan theories speculated that she could be a Force vision or a successful clone experiment that stole from the Jango Fett blueprints. Others wondered if the Rey we’ve come to know would be successfully swayed to the Dark side, or if she was always a former Sith apprentice for Palpatine simply suffering from amnesia.
It’s also worth noting that previous Rise of Skywalker leaks allegedly revealed that when Palpatine shows up in the movie, he’d be attached to a “bunch of mechanical stuff”. That made a lot of sense since the last time we saw Palps he was being thrown into the heart of the Death Star II in Return of the Jedi. No matter how powerful he is, there’s no way he could’ve come out of that scenario completely unscathed, right?
So, if the Emperor was attached to a bunch of machinery upon his return, who would bat an eye? Add to that the fact that the figure in the trailer was heard breathing heavily and voila! Fans concluded the man in question was Palpatine.
However, one fan on Reddit may have noticed a tiny detail in both the D23 and the final Episode IX trailers that could force us to totally rethink what we know about Emperor Palpatine’s role in The Rise of Skywalker. Redditor u/choppazulu posted a side-by-side image comparing Dark Rey’s caped costume and surroundings with that of the masked person in the trailer we thought was Palpatine and came to the conclusion that the figure was actually Dark Rey.
Take a closer look at the robes below.
“The cloak is the same. If you look at the hood at the shoulders, the folds are identical. The top of the hood drapes in the same fashion as well,” the theorist writes.
Surprised? Yeah, me too. After all, the scene in the final Rise of Skywalker trailer shows Light side Rey standing opposite the robed figure. So, how could Dark Rey and regular ole Rey be in the same room together?
Well, it would only be possible if Dark Rey is actually revealed to be a clone. Now, it’s also possible that the theorist is spitballing a bit, especially since there’s no further evidence confirming the cloaks are at all identical. Still, consider the idea that this very scene may be paralleling the mirror cave scene where Rey sees multiple versions of herself. But this time, maybe it’s not a vision.
After all, if Rey really is a clone of Palpatine (as some fans have speculated for years) then there’s probably more than one clone. Dark Rey could be a Sith version of the movie’s hero. She might even be a vessel for Palpatine himself. We haven’t actually seen Palps in any of the trailers so far, so it’s entirely possible he’s taken up residence in the body of one of his own clones.
Whatever the case may be, Dark Rey remains one of the biggest mysteries ahead of The Rise of Skywalker and there’s no telling where and when she may finally turn up. But, if it turns out that Dark Rey has zero connection to Emperor Palpatine, then that would make for the biggest surprise of all.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters December 20.