Darth Maul is one of the coolest characters in Star Wars. Is it possible we see him in The Rise of Skywalker?
Warning: Potential spoilers ahead. If you want to remain spoil-free, I advise you to turn back now
There are a lot of questions surrounding the alleged picture revealed at D23 featuring Rey in dark robes wielding a double-sided red lightsaber. Since this image has not yet been released to the public, we can only speculate as to why Rey was in dark clothes holding a (presumably) red lightsaber.
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The image was shown in a “two-minute ‘legacy reel’ about STAR WARS,” and not a new trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, according to Kyle Buchanan, who was at the event. Perhaps the image could have been old concept art from previous drafts of The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, or it could be a foreshadow for Episode IX. Again, all of this is pure speculation.
I doubt that the photo is a shot from Episode IX. It’s difficult to see Rey becoming a Sith in The Rise of Skywalker.
For one, we have only seen her in white or grey robes yielding Luke’s blue lightsaber. As we know, Star Wars has a history of conveying important character developments through clothing (think Luke’s black outfit for Episode VI, which was revealed to be white underneath all along after he defeated Darth Vader and successfully resisted the dark side).
In the only released trailer for Episode IX, we saw Rey in clean, white robes, much lighter than the gray robes she wore in Episode VIII, which likely signifies her eventual alignment with the light side. It’s hard to imagine Rey undergoing a drastic character change in which she switches from light to dark in one movie. If Rey was going to turn to the dark, then she would have joined Kylo in The Last Jedi when he asked.
The image of Rey yielding a double-bladed lightsaber and dressed in black may never amount to anything that seriously impacts the story. It may not even be part of the story. Like I said, it could simply be concept art.
However, Disney wouldn’t have shown it if it was meaningless. There are endless possibilities to what the image means. For me, I see it being a clear connection to Emperor Palpatine’s former apprentice, Darth Maul.
The clearest connection to Maul is the double-bladed lightsaber. Fans have been calling for Rey to wield one like Maul’s after seeing how well she wields her staff and since Maul is the only movie character we’ve seen with a double-bladed lightsaber, there is an obvious connection to be made there.
Bringing him back would be feasible, too. We could see him in a force vision or flashback when Rey and company head to the Death Star, which we saw them doing in the Episode IX trailer. Perhaps when Rey touches an artifact in the Death Star, she experiences a force vision that takes her through the Star Wars timeline, like in The Force Awakens, and Maul is featured in the vision.
I think there’s a high chance that we could see Maul back on the big screen in The Rise of Skywalker. Obviously he won’t have a major role in the film, considering he is not alive in canon after he was slain by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Rebels.
Maybe we’ll see part of his fight with Obi-Wan on Naboo, or some never-before-seen training with Emperor Palpatine. There are a lot of ways we could see the Dathomirian in Episode IX.
Including Darth Maul in the final installment of the Skywalker Saga would be great fan service. As I wrote about before, Maul was criminally underused in the prequels and bringing him back would be a great gift for the fans. He may not have much, or any, screen time, but seeing Maul on screen again, even for a limited time, would be awesome nonetheless.
Director J.J. Abrams has said that Episode IX is going to tie in the prequel and original trilogies. So why not bring one of the coolest Star Wars characters back? Of course this could be disproven tomorrow, and maybe I’m totally off here, but it’s fun to speculate while we still can.
Star Wars: Episode IX premieres December 20.