Early concept art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features a much lighter design for Dark Rey. Only four years after the launch of Disney’s sequel trilogy with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams was tasked with tying up a plethora of loose ends and seemingly retconning Star Wars: The Last Jedi with The Rise of Skywalker. The film introduces a resurrected Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious as the man behind Supreme Leader Snoke and the First Order.
Perhaps the biggest (and most polarizing) reveal of the film is that of Rey’s much-theorized parentage. While The Last Jedi commits to the idea that her parents were nothing but junk traders, The Rise of Skywalker haphazardly makes her the granddaughter of Palpatine. Like all Force users before her (more specifically, Luke and Anakin), the idea that Rey could fall to the dark side of the Force had been flirted with in previous films. Even before audiences became aware of her ties to the Emperor, trailers for The Rise of Skywalker teased “Dark Rey” wielding a red double-bladed lightsaber—the result of a vision she has within the remains of the second Death Star.
Concept artist Adam Brockbank recently shared an early piece of art characterizing Rey’s dark side for The Rise of Skywalker. Unlike the hooded Rey seen in the film, this Dark Rey is reminiscent of a tempted Lady Galadriel à la The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Check it out below:
It’s interesting to see evil or dangerous characters not wearing dark colors. There’s sure to be a percentage of fans who prefer this pale Rey draped in white robes as she’s somehow more terrifying and tortured than the generic version of Dark Rey from the film. That being said, The Rise of Skywalker played it safe in a variety of ways, regurgitating many beats from the original trilogy. Some might question why the sequel trilogy didn’t allow Rey to embrace at least an aspect of the dark side, blurring the lines between good and evil and making her a more interesting character (rather than just a reincarnation of Luke). However, The Rise of Skywalker arguably took too much on to begin with and delivered on very little.
The sequel trilogy’s revolving door of creatives and lack of narrative direction has resulted in it being widely criticized. Had The Rise of Skywalker used the above design or even had Rey gin to the lure of the dark side, it likely wouldn’t have made a difference. In fact, the appearance of Dark Rey in the film ultimately serves no purpose other than fan service. Had Rey turned to the dark side in an earlier film and been depicted as a Galadriel-esque ruler, a journey back to the light or Finn and Poe’s attempts at overthrowing her could’ve proved extremely compelling.
Source: Adam Brockbank/Instagram