Dark Rey: Surprising 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' fan theories explained

Last week’s Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker ‘D23 special look trailer’ had fans tuning into the force to try to predict what exactly that shot of Rey dressed like a Sith (while wielding a double-bladed red lightsaber) could possibly mean.

There’s a bunch of wild theories currently flying around the internet faster than a bounty hunter with a rocket on his back, so we’ve herded some of the best into one place. You know, like a scruffy nerf-herder might.

Daisy Ridley goes dark in Rise Of Skywalker (credit: Disney)
Daisy Ridley goes dark in Rise Of Skywalker (credit: Disney)

Potential spoilers follow, as one of these is definitely true.

Dark Rey is an evil clone of herself

Rey sees herself in the mirror (credit: Disney)
Rey sees herself in the mirror (credit: Disney)

One of the more popular fan theories involves the cloning technology explored in the prequels. Many believe that original Rey is actually a copy, created to fight in Palpatine’s army. This new Dark Rey is the original template (she does look a bit older, we guess?) and our Rey is the copy.

It would explain why Rey was so instantly gifted in so many areas, and it - sort of - explains that bit in The Last Jedi where she sees multiple versions of herself in that Dark Side sinkhole on Ahch-To. However, with Rian Johnson confirming the scene was meant as a poetic metaphor for Rey facing her fears, it would take a major retcon from JJ Abrams to make this one work.

Dark Rey is a Luke Skywalker clone

Luke loses his hand in Empire Strikes Back (credit: 20th Century Fox)
Luke loses his hand in Empire Strikes Back (credit: 20th Century Fox)

The Force Awakens was originally intended to open with Luke’s lightsaber travelling through space, still attached to the hand Vader chopped away from Skywalker’s arm.

A couple of giant leaps later, and fans have decided that Luke’s hand was used to clone Rey from the Jedi’s DNA, complete with his Dark Side potential. Where Luke resisted, Rey has failed - and she’s the next Vader.

Yeaaaah, the big flaw in this theory is that The Force Awakens’ opening scene was meant to end with Luke’s hand burned up by Jakku’s atmosphere before being dropped into the desert to be found by Maz Kanata.

So that debunks that one - NEXT!

Dark Rey is Palpatine’s daughter

Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine (credit: 20th Century Fox)
Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine (credit: 20th Century Fox)

Forget cloning for a second, fans have been arguing since the first movie that Rey’s actually Palatine’s daughter, with gifs comparing their fighting styles flooding Star Wars forums since The Force Awakens’ initial release.

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The mystery of Rey’s parentage is still unresolved (yeah, we totally don’t trust Kylo Ren was telling the truth when he told Rey her parents were ‘nobody’) and this would explain Palpatine’s random return to the Star Wars universe.

And with Marvel’s comic Darth Vader No. 25 stating Palpatine conjured Anakin out of nowhere with his ‘ability to create life’ this one has some canon credibility. It’ll be a lot to explain in the final instalment of the Skywalker saga, but this could have ‘I am your father’ levels of impact.

Dark Rey is Qi'ra’s daughter

Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story (credit: Disney)
Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story (credit: Disney)

Or perhaps Dark Rey was created the old fashioned way - the result of an affair between Han Solo and his old flame (last seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story) Qi'ra.

The theory states that Han hooked up with Qi'ra, she had Rey, and they were forced to abandon her. Rey finds out, looks into her past, and discovers that her mum was trained by Darth Maul (who also had a red double-bladed lightsaber), and decides to continue her training as a Sith.

Seems a bit convoluted to us, but JJ was the brain behind Lost and Alias, so maybe this is a twist that’s been hiding in plain sight all along.

Dark Rey is a Knight Of Ren

This fun fan theory has combined the fact one of the Knights Of Ren looks quite slim, with the fact (s)he appears to be carrying a lightsaber, to create the argument that Rey’s been a Knight Of Ren all along.

We’re not sure how this works in terms of the chronology of the new trilogy, nor do we quite understand how Kylo Ren wouldn’t recognise his old sparring partner (maybe he never saw her with her helmet off?), but we’d absolutely love this one to be completely factually accurate (it won’t be - sorry).

Dark Rey is a reflection in a spooky mirror

One of the more creative fan theories has Rey in Darth Vader’s haunted castle, looking at herself in an evil mirror.

While we admire the imagination of this one, and now all we want to see is a horror flick in the Star Wars universe, we’d say this has a snow planet’s chance in hell of actually coming true.

Though, the image does look a lot like a reflection, so maybe Rey returns to Ahch-To, after all...

Dark Rey is a force vision

Luke loses his head in Empire Strikes Back (credit: 20th Century Fox)
Luke loses his head in Empire Strikes Back (credit: 20th Century Fox)

Now we’re talking! This is almost certainly the truth behind Dark Rey. Especially as the official Star Wars site listed the shot in the trailer as being a ‘vision’ before they realised their error and swiftly deleted the word from the description.

It’s the explanation that makes the most sense. After all, Luke saw a vision of himself in Darth Vader’s helmet in Empire Strikes Back, so why wouldn’t Rey see herself in full evil mode?

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Or maybe the vision belongs to Kylo Ren, and he’s imagining what his crush would look like cosplaying in his outfit.

But, whatever the reason for the vision, we’re pretty sure the Skywalker saga isn’t going to end with the new lead turning into the biggest villain in the galaxy, shortly before the credits roll on the series forever, so this is definitely a classic JJ fake-out.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is released in the UK on 19 December 2019.