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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker -- everything we know about 'Dark Side Rey'

What's with that red, double-sided lightsaber?

Twice as badass.
Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

New footage from Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, shown at Disney fan expo D23 over the weekend, is now available online. It's not a true trailer, but instead what entertainment industry types call a "sizzle reel," throwing together highlights to get fans excited about the December film. So you'll see a baby-faced Luke and Cinnabon-haired Leia, and then race through the rest of the films in the Star Wars saga building, of course, to the new footage.

And though it's not long, the new footage dangles some tempting new tidbits. The biggest ones involve Rey (Daisy Ridley), the main heroine of the three latest films. Here are three unanswered questions about Rey that loom even larger now that we've seen the new footage.

Her parents

We still don't know quite who Rey is, or whether it matters, and here, the new footage offers zero help. She may be an orphaned scavenger born to the galaxy's most uncaring parents ("filthy junk traders," according to Kylo Ren). But it seems more likely she's somebody else, maybe with a complex family history. Luke's daughter? Han Solo's daughter? Kylo Ren's twin? A clone? Or is she just a super-Force-sensitive kid that Emperor Palpatine tried to claim, as one theory runs?

It would be kind of sweet if Disney left her as a child of nobodies. That would seem to indicate that the Star Wars universe has no royal family, that anyone with a brave heart, a lot of lightsaber practice, and maybe a few extra midi-chlorians could rise to the top. After all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi ended with a slave boy using the Force to pull a broom into his hand, proof perhaps that the largest powers can be hidden in unlikely places.

But then there's that title: The Rise of Skywalker. Sure, it could mean Kylo is on the rise. One Reddit theory suggests that "Skywalkers" could be a new order of Force users founded by Rey herself. Or it could mean that Rey, somehow, has Skywalker blood.

That lightsaber

One thing we do know: By the end of the new footage, Rey has donned a black cloak and is holding a double-bladed RED lightsaber. Black and red. That's not just because she's a major fan of the Atlanta Falcons. (Though, who knows?) 

Star Wars fans know colors have meaning in this saga. Green and blue became known as the lightsaber colors wielded by Jedi, red for the Sith, and Mace Windu has purple, because who in their right mind would deny a personal request from Samuel L. "English-do-you-speak-it" Jackson?

And now Rey is Palpatine-ing it up in a dark cloak, with a lightsaber that's not only in a Sith-preferred color, but is double-bladed. Hmm, where have we seen a double-bladed lightsaber before? Oh, that's right, Sith lord Darth Maul famously wielded a double-bladed red lightsaber when battling Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn. It didn't end well for Qui-Gon. If Rey's wielding a red lightsaber, especially such a powerful one, it's a sign that something within her has changed.

Breaking bad?

So here's where Star Wars is leading us: We're supposed to think Rey's gone bad, right? That she was turned to the dark side, possibly by Kylo Ren, and will have to fight her own demons if she is to survive and find her way back to her own good heart.

Ridley bluntly addressed her character's possible switch to the dark side in a Variety interview. "It's been the most human thing because everybody struggles," she said. "Everybody has their things in life where one thing's pulling me this way, one thing's pulling me this way. What's this journey going to be and where am I going to end up? So it's been fun to play that."

But it seems obvious there's some kind of double-cross going on here. Rey's moments in the dark cloak with the red lightsaber could be a nightmare she has, or a vision, maybe seen by Kylo. It could be a trick she pulls on Kylo -- even one he helps her pull off -- if the good part of him can somehow win out. Or maybe she does go bad? Maybe part of the final movie involves her internal fight against the dark side, the ever-present evil that's been keeping these films interesting since Darth Vader Force-choked Admiral Motti for his disturbing lack of faith back in '77.

One thing's for sure: Disney and Lucasfilm didn't get this far by blatantly telegraphing what would be the biggest plot twist in the final trilogy of the biggest movie series of all time. If the footage seems to be presenting a clear and obvious plotline, it ain't happening. What's that famous Admiral Ackbar line? It's a trap!

We'll know for sure in just over 115 days. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on Dec. 20 worldwide.