Is this Rey's destiny? Disney released a new teaser for the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Monday, two days after revealing it to fans at the company's D23 expo, and the trailer concludes with an apparent heel turn that could change the very fabric of the galaxy: Rey (Daisy Ridley), wearing a black cloak and wielding a red, double-sided lightsaber, like some nightmare combination of Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
The shocking moment (which could be part of a dark vision, if previous Star Wars films — like, for instance, in Empire Strikes Back when Luke comes face-to-decapitated-head with himself on Dagobah) capped the latest Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, which opened with footage from the previous films in the Skywalker saga — a nine-film franchise that started with Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope in 1977 and will conclude the family's story in December. (Star Wars, of course, will live in perpetuity, it seems, with Disney continuing to produce new material spawned from George Lucas' original vision.)
Directed by J.J. Abrams, who returns to the series after reigniting the franchise with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and starring Ridley, Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams, who is returning to the franchise as Lando Calrissian for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker is set after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and will feature Carrie Fisher's final screen performance. Fisher died before the release of The Last Jedi and unused footage from her work in The Force Awakens was used to complete her character's journey in the Star Wars films.
"The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story," said Abrams at D23. "When we we were telling this story we realized we couldn't possibly tell the end of this story without Leia."
"She was almost supernaturally witty and magical in a way," he added. "I went back and looked in The Princess Diarist and in the special thanks she wrote, 'Thank you to J.J. Abrams for putting up with me twice', but I had only worked with her on Force Awakens."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on Dec. 20.