Prior to the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there was an enormous amount of fan speculation surrounding the Dark Rey vision. Trailers for Episode IX hinted this version of Rey was either possessed by Emperor Palpatine, or a clone of some kind. However, the idea of Rey being a clone goes back to the vision she had in the cave during The Last Jedi. Now, one fan theory bridges the two films with an insightful exploration of how Rey’s Last Jedi Force vision was foreshadowed Palpatine’s big reveal in the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
During her time on Ahch-To with Luke, Rey ventured into a mysterious cave with strong connections to the Dark side of the Force. In hindsight, she was likely drawn to it because of her biological ties to Palpatine. However, her goal at the time was to learn more about her parents and why they abandoned her on Jakku.
When she asks to see her parents in the mirror-like surfaces of the cave, Rey is shown a series of her own reflections instead. The scene is open to infinite interpretations, one of them being that Rey herself was a clone. Dark Rey seemed to confirm as much.
The Rise of Skywalker seemed to shoot down that reading of the cave scene. The Episode IX novelization officially confirmed that Palpatine — who died after falling down the shaft of the Death Star II in The Return of the Jedi — was actually a clone all along. It seemed like the only explanation for how he was able to return from the dead.
Reddit user gangacer3 posits that Rey’s Force vision was actually hinting at her own biology and heritage. Namely, that seeing her many reflections was foreshadowing the reveal that Palpatine, not Rey, was actually a clone. From another perspective, the vision did (unintentionally) reveal Rey’s parentage, as we learn later on that her father was also a failed clone of Palps. Seeing her many reflections confirmed as much, if only in a roundabout way.
“Just like how there were a bunch of Reys in the cave vision, there were a bunch of Palpatines elsewhere since he created many clones of himself after Episode 6,” writes the theorist.
The theory offers a deeper connection between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, tying up loose storylines and plot holes. It also offers a refreshing new interpretation of the oft-dissected scene, which has remained ambiguous even after the events of Episode IX. Star Wars has retroactively foreshadowed multiple storylines, including Anakin’s turn to the Dark side, so it’s not an entirely outlandish idea.
The Last Jedi is available to stream on Disney+.