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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now in theaters, and the debates about it within the fandom are already raging. As the finale of the entire “Skywalker Saga,” Episode IX has some massive story threads it’s obligated to tie together into a thrilling and revelatory climax, and none of those threads is bigger than the story arc of Daisy Ridley‘s Rey. Rise of Skywalker has been teasing massive twists in Rey’s story – both the origin it sprang from, and where it potentially ends up. The Rise of Skywalker D23 Trailer revealed a dark side version of Rey wielding a double-bladed red lightsaber, leading to all kinds of fan speculation and theory.
So: Does Rey turn to the dark side in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Now that the film is out, we know the answer!
WARNING! Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker SPOILERS Follow!
As it turns out, the answer to whether or not Rey turns to the dark side in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is: sort of.
Like Return of the Jedi, the major Force-themed storyline of The Rise of Skywalker has to due with Rey being tempted by the power of Emperor Palpatine, by battling his apprentice (Kylo Ren instead of Vader, this time). The main thrust of the movie has Rey and her Resistance buddies (Finn, Poe, C-3PO, Chewbacca) running a relay race to find artifacts that will lead them to Palpatine’s hidden base in the Outer Rims. Along the way, Rey begins to see her Force powers spike out of control, as she begins to remember more and more details of her own traumatic past.
As it turns out, Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter, and as such she not only has access to massive amounts of Force power (like Force lightning, Force healing, visions, etc.), she also has a strong lure toward the dark side.
Rey learns more and more about her true origin, and as she does, those dark side emotions (anger, fear, confusion) are stoked. The penultimate stop on Rey’s quest brings her back to Endor (where the final battle between the Rebel Alliance and Empire was fought), and the remains of the second Death Star. There, Rey discovers the Sith Wayfinder that can bring her to Palpatine, and when first touching it, she has a vision of herself as a Sith Lord, aka the “Dark Side Rey” the trailers teased. After battling her dark self, Rey jumps into a duel with Kylo Ren, and her anger overcomes her to the point that she fatally stabs him through the abdmen.
In the end, of course, Rey not only doesn’t succumb to the dark side: she brings “Ben Solo” back into the light. After fatally wounding Kylo Ren, Rey uses Force Healing to save his life, and Ben abandons the dark side as a result. Rey ultimately stands against Palpatine (with the help of Ben and a lot of Jedi Master Force ghosts) and saves the galaxy.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. The Mandalorian streams new episodes every Friday on Disney+.