The Rise of Skywalker wasn't a perfect movie, but we can all agree that Rey and Kylo Ren's lightsaber duel on the ruins of the Death Star was freaking awesome. The scene obviously serves as a pivotal moment in Star Wars: Episode IX, leading Kylo to renounce the Dark side and become Ben Solo once again, but it might also be subtly rewriting another iconic moment in Star Wars history.
Like George Lucas famously said of his movies, "It's like poetry, they rhyme," and the moment this scene rhymes with could reveal a lot about how The Rise of Skywalker connects to one of the darkest moments in Star Wars history: the prequels.
In a post to the Star Wars Speculation subreddit, a user with the name u/BigSpicyMeatBOI posted a simple but powerful theory about Rise of Skywalker:
In Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the ocean duel is almost a reflection of Anakin and Obi Wan’s duel on Mustafar, but instead Kylo turns to the light side. They use water instead of fire and lava. Water meaning life and peace vs lava showing hate and suffering.
In essence, Rey and Kylo's battle on the Death Star is the exact opposite of Anakin and Obi-Wan's duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith. In Episode IX, Kylo turns good. In Episode III, the battle only solidifies Anakin's turn to the Dark side. The fact that both scenes feature gravity-defying gymnastics (more so than usual, even for Star Wars) and a natural element serving as the backdrop only helps tie them together.
Was this something J.J. Abrams always planned? It definitely seems possible. The Rise of Skywalker is undeniably in tune with the desires of a hardcore Star Wars fanbase that's come to love the prequels but dismissed Rian Johnson's attempts to deconstruct the franchise's core concepts in The Last Jedi.
And if The Rise of Skywalker couldn't just bring back Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost — as some expected before Episode IX's premiere — then paying tribute to his most epic lightsaber fight is a pretty close second.
Then again, there are only so many ways to stage a lightsaber battle. Eventually, things start to overlap and look the same. This could just be a coincidence. But considering the precedent in Star Wars for these kinds of rhyming scenes and plotlines, we wouldn't be surprised if it's exactly what J.J. Abrams was planning all along.