Remember when we all went crazy for that glimpse of Dark Rey in the second trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? We always knew it wasn’t teasing some actual evil turn from the heroine, but we thought it might be the set-up for something with some significance to the plot. As it was, Rey’s vision of her dark self only appeared in one brief scene. However, some newly uncovered concept art reveals that the notion of Rey going in a darker direction genuinely was considered at one stage.
A glut of concept art for unseen sequences from Episode IX have surfaced online, and among the most interesting pieces are these that reveal a tense battle between Rey and Kylo Ren that we never got to witness in action. Typically, Kylo is the much fiercer fighter, but in these images, Rey’s the one who’s not holding back, unleashing her full Palpatine potential. One image sees her about to slice Ren’s head off with his own lightsaber, and in another she’s Force-choking him, borrowing a move from Kylo’s grandpappy Vader.
Presumably, there was never a version of the movie where Rey kills Kylo, joins Palpatine and evil reigns supreme, so this deleted sequence must’ve ended with Rey coming to her senses and letting her enemy go. Perhaps this was an alternate version of their fight on board the wreckage of the Death Star. That culminates with Rey managing to land a fatal blow, though only after Leia’s death distracts Kylo. What’s more, Rey uses Force-healing to prevent his demise. So, quite the opposite turn of events from those depicted in this concept art.
Daisy Ridley has spoken about her enjoyment of getting to play “the worst” aspects of Rey, which does suggest she might’ve filmed more material as Dark Rey that never made it into the finished version of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Looks like this is just going to further fuel those calls for Disney to release an alternate cut of the movie.