In what's sure to be the most pored-over scene of the final The Rise of Skywalker trailer, Rey and Kylo Ren destroy a mysterious black statue in a gleaming white room typical of a classic Star Wars interior. While we're all busy trying to figure out whether the ashy material and rounded shape of the flying debris is a match for Darth Vader's barbecued helmet last seen in The Force Awakens -- the safest bet, perhaps -- it's easy to miss one smaller, but no less interesting, detail.
While Rey carries her lightsaber in one hand to destroy the offending... thing in front of her, the force of her swing brings what's clutched in her other hand into view seconds later: a long dagger.
A WEAPON UN-FIT FOR A HERO
Along with a holster for her blaster, the dagger is the only weapon -- other than the Jedi and Sith's signature one -- that we see Rey wield in the trailer. But... so what, right? A girl needs to defend herself when she's shoulder to shoulder with a guy who's proficient at murdering the people he's closest to.
Given the clear importance of this scene, however, it's difficult to imagine Rey would be grasping a random knife she found lying around -- especially when she already has a lightsaber, blaster and, let's not forget, can chuck people around a room with her space magic. Something as sneaky and smacking of "last resort" desperation as a dagger also seems unbefitting of someone positioned to be the most powerful Jedi who ever lived.
If the dagger is significant, then what is that significance? As you can imagine, speculation among fans has already yielded some viable answers.
One explanation points to it being a Sith dagger, known as a Shikkar. The weapon is prominent on the cover of the no longer canon compliant, Fate of the Jedi: Omen novel, and is listed in the definitely canon-compliant, Book of the Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side.
Favorites of the Lost Tribe of the Sith, the elegant and slight weapon's blade is made of glass and shaped by the Force, breaking off inside the victim for extra vindictive effect. Using one is not exactly considered to be an honorable move. Obviously, with the image of Dark Rey from the D23 sizzle reel still looming large in people's imaginations, the idea of Rey possessing an old Sith item adds extra kindling to the theory that she may make a heel-turn switch to the Dark Side.
Where could she have gotten it from? Who knows -- Kylo's clearly a Dark Side relic kleptomaniac so maybe she swiped it from his collection.
THE DAGGER OF MORTIS
A far more interesting theory is that the blade is a legendary one seen in The Clones Wars series: the Dagger of Mortis. If true, this could plunge the final installment of the Skywalker saga into even deeper realms of mystical surrealism than we saw in the belly of Ahch-To in The Last Jedi.
The dagger was a prominent part of the "Mortis" trilogy in the George Lucas-supervised cartoon that saw Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano journey to the dream-like Mortis at the center of Wild Space. There, they found three cosmic beings with unprecedented levels of power: the Father, Son and Daughter. (They can also turn into flying monsters because the Force is weird like that.)
As supervising director Dave Filoni explains in a behind-the- scenes featurette, everything within this mini-arc is a metaphor: the Son is the dark, the Daughter is the light, while the Father keeps his two quarrelsome children in balance. However, aware that he has reached his last days, the Father needs the prophetical Chosen One to maintain this balance when he's gone.
Anakin, being his usual stubborn self, refuses the job, leading the Daughter to take matters into her own hands: she takes Obi-Wan to the Altar of Mortis where the Dagger, the only thing that can kill the Son, manifests before his eyes. Needless to say bringing a knife to a family party doesn't work out too well for any of them. Mortis, along with the Dagger, then disappeared at the story's conclusion.
There's an obvious superficial parallel between the Father, Son and Daughter and the Emperor, Kylo Ren and Rey, as well as between the dark vision of Anakin's future that the Son showed him and the similar one we've seen of Rey. It's possible that, in a quest to find this mythical weapon, Dark Rey shows up as a result of her going through the same tests Anakin was put through to certify his Chosen One status. (While Anakin's future came true, it's important to note that the Father told Anakin it didn't have to; erasing his knowledge of it so the Jedi could retain the freedom to choose.)
Though Palpatine might not be on the same level as a trio of Force gods, his miraculous survival indicates he's even more powerful than we realized -- and that's saying a lot for a guy who, even pre-supposed death, could inseminate women from planets away. Given this, it certainly wouldn't hurt Rey's chances to have something that packs more of a mystical punch than a plain old lightsaber at her side when confronting him.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. The film arrives on Dec. 20. Advance tickets are available now.