Here at the All Over the House Institute for Thinking Too Hard About Pop Culture, we have been pouring over the scant few frames of new information presented in the latest trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker and, well, we have Theories. Specifically, we have theories on what the Dark Side version of Rey is doing with a double-bladed lightsaber and how she got those rather spiffing crackly red blades.
So please join us as we expand upon our excursions into wild guesswork as we explain our theories on why Dark Rey’s lightsaber is unstable. We’ll start with…
5. It’s Based on Kylo Ren’s Technique
The simplest explanation is usually the best but in Star Wars, the simplest explanation is probably something awful like “the Force did it” and nobody wants that, so let’s go with the next simplest: Dark Rey built her nunchuck lightsaber thingie using crystals she made; and she made those crystals using the same method Kylo Ren used.
This has the dual benefit of explaining why Dark Rey’s blades look the same as Kylo Ren’s blades, with their angsty crackles and all that; plus it explains how she got some red crystals to power her space sword’s energy beam in a universe where the Empire is supposed to have destroyed all the sources of new crystals.
It’s a pretty simple explanation and that’s why we here at All Over the House really, really hope it’s not the actual explanation because it sucks and we hate it. We don’t want to see a film where the major twist from the trailer is explained away as “yeah, I just followed a how to I found on the Space Internet”. Nobody wants that, Disney/LucasFilm.
4. She Is Using Kylo Ren’s Cracked Crystal
The next simplest explanation is that she’s stolen the broken red crystal from Kylo Ren’s lightsaber and is using it in her own. Now this one isn’t as convincing as the previous explanation for two reasons: everyone seems to agree that it’s not possible to power two blades from one crystal (even though I can power my own Darth Maul replica lightsaber using one set of batteries so come on guys, anything can be possible if you try hard enough) and also, it leaves open the question of what is Kylo Ren using in his lightsaber if Dark Rey has his crystal?
Does Kylo Ren have the blue blade at this point in the film? Is Kylo Ren the Skywalker that’s mentioned in the film’s title? That seems hard to believe given that we’ve been led to believe he’s a Solo before he turns to the Goth Side but his Mum is a Skywalker, so… maybe?
Of course there is another explanation…
3. She Is Using Another Damaged Kyber Crystal
Before Emperor Palpie went and got every Jedi in the galaxy horribly slaughtered because he was in a huff with them, there were a fair few lightsabers knocking about the place. Each one of those lightsabers had a crystal in it that powered the blade. Moreover, Palpie-poos himself had a load of lightsabers hidden across the Empire, if the Legends continuity is to be believed (which it both is and isn’t, depending on who you ask and what time of day it is).
That means there could be a fair amount of crystals still lying around here and there, ripe for the taking. Chances are good therefore that Dark Rey has found a couple and it using them, even if they got damaged during the Clone Wars, the fallout from Order 66, or in the many years since they were last used.
This is even more likely when we remember that new crystals are very hard to come by, what with the Empire having blown up the main source of new crystals while testing out the Death Star. So she would probably have to resort to powering her lightsaber using crystals recovered from previous lightsabers.
Speaking of the Death Star, its massive beam is powered by a giant lightsaber crystal and that crystal probably got seriously blown to smithereens when the Death Star exploded. Then there’s the giant crystal that was presumably powering the second Death Star, which also exploded. What happened to the remains of those crystals? Could they be powering Dark Rey’s lightsabers? We have to assume that if she managed to find any of those pieces (which probably fell like very hard rain onto known locations on Rebel-controlled Yavin IV and Endor, respectively) then whatever crystal pieces she recovered would also be rather damaged (because of the afore-mentioned massive explosions).
But if broken crystals aren’t the answer you’re looking for, maybe it’s because…
2. Her Lightsabers Are Broken
We get barely a couple of seconds of footage of Dark Rey in the new trailer so there’s no a lot to go on when it comes to what her lightsaber is all about (but from what we can see of it, we think everyone can agree it looks hella sweet). It’s therefore quite possible that she actually had a normal red lightsaber, or even two, at some point in the film and that those sabers were damaged earlier on. Since Rey is pretty good at mending things, we can presume she could get a broken lightsaber working again.
As a result, it’s perfectly reasonable to think that someone with a damaged lightsaber that used to put out a standard red beam might be able to bodge the broken space sword back into somewhat working order, albeit in a way that emits a crackly blade.
In addition, there’s the possibility that she is using a jerry-rigged set of hilts that were damaged before she found them; or that she constructed the entire lightsaber herself, using reclaimed parts from lightsabers that were damaged following the Clone Wars or Order 66. This increases the chance of Dark Rey’s lightsabers actually being broken in some way.
So what we could be seeing here is basically a Dark Side scavenger who cobbled a cool-looking weapon together using whatever she could scrounge up, no matter about whether it actually worked properly or not.
Still, there’s yet another possibility…
1. It’s A Force Vision
Rey isn’t the smartest cookie in the galaxy – she thought Luke Skywalker wasn’t real, if you recall (and in the novelisation of The Force Awakens, Finn actually thinks she’s a backwater hick because of that). Rey also doesn’t have the best education in the world, having grown up in a desert in the middle of nowhere, so the chances of her having seen a real lightsaber before the events of Episode VII are actually rather limited.
If this is true, she has only ever seen a red lightsaber that is unstable; and this will naturally cloud any images she conjured up in her head. Given that, we can safely assume that a Force vision like the one Luke saw on Dagobah could feasibly include an unstable red lightsaber, because it would be generated using information in Rey’s head.
Luke had seen Vader and his standard red lightsaber a long time before his Force vision in the cave but if Rey has only ever seen Kylo’s red lightsaber and no other, maybe in her mind that’s what all red lightsabers look like? It’s not unfeasible for someone with limited education to believe that blue lightsabers have smooth beams and red ones have crackly beams.
So what we are seeing in the trailer could very easily be a Force vision from some part of Rey’s Jedi training, rather than a glimpse of a major twist in the plotline where the person we’ve been following for the last two films turns evil; although let’s face it, we have seen that before. No amount of brain bleach can ever make us forget the prequel trilogy so we just have to learn to live with it. It’s hard, we know, but stick with us and we’ll all get through this horror together.
As annoying as this “it was all a dream!” revelation might be, there is other evidence to back this up. Earlier in the trailer, Luke clearly says “we have passed on all we know…”; which suggests someone is getting some training (and that it’s probably not Luke who’s getting it). The likely recipient is Rey, what with her having spent most of the previous film asking Luke to teach her something. Part of Luke’s Jedi training involved wandering haplessly into a cave full of the Dark Side and confronting his own inner turmoil. Maybe Rey is doing the same thing?
Further evidence comes from the fact that Dark Rey’s face is entirely emotionless when we see her. This mirrors the emotionless face of Dark Luke that we see after he decapitates “Darth Vader” in one of the least thrilling lightsaber battles since Obi Wan threw a fight so he could multiclass into an Immortal Jedi Ghost.
If the Force Vision incarnations of a Jedi trainee (we refuse to use the word “Padawan” here at All Over the House, even though we totally just used it just now) just wanders around like an emotionless mannequin, which Dark Luke seemed to (and you’d think he would show some emotion, what with having just had his head cut off), then Dark Rey showing no emotion does lead us to believe this is probably a Force vision after all.
Of course all of these things could be wrong. There’s only one way to find out for certain but since that way won’t become available until December, we’ll just have to stick to wild speculation for now. Oooh, maybe she’s a Dark Side Clone and we’ll get to see Rey fight Rey! Maybe she’s a Force Giant and the good guys will need to commandeer an AT-AT with lightsabers attached to fight her!
Now that’s a film we’d pay to see! Hey, Disney: we’re available to write the script if you’re interested.