D23 Expo 2019: 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' footage further teases the Emperor's return and hints at Rey's fall to the Dark Side

Some exciting new footage from the film was screened during the Expo featuring the Emperor's voice and a scene that suggests Rey may defect to the side of the Sith in the coming war.

                            D23 Expo 2019: 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' footage further teases the Emperor's return and hints at Rey's fall to the Dark Side

The cast and crew of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' made an appearance at Disney's D23 Expo on August 24 with John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, and more taking the stage. Some exciting new footage was screened during the appearance and it confirms every Star Wars fan's worst suspicions about the fate of Ridley's lead character.

The footage confirms that Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine (or at least his voice) is back from the dead after his death at the hands of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in 'Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi'. It also hints that he may be getting a new apprentice, none other than the young Force-sensitive Rey (Ridley). 

According to ComicBook, the exclusive footage showed a small village, an army of ships in space, Rey cutting her way through trees, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) emerging from a ship and a shot of Rey and Kylo fighting while surrounded by water. Palpatine's voice is heard narrating and he teases that the story "nears its end." Finally, Rey is seen wearing a black robe and wielding a red lightsaber that splits in two, reminiscent of the one used by Darth Maul.

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017). (IMDb)

Fans have speculated for a while that Rey might fall to the Dark Side, something pretty much every Star Wars hero has done at some point or other. The Emperor's return was first hinted at in a teaser that was released for the movie in April 2019. 

The scene doesn't confirm that Rey will be going full dark but it is an ominous tease that is bound to get fans excited. The Emperor has previously expressed a lot of interest in the Skywalker bloodline, which would make Kylo Ren the last of the Skywalkers besides his mother Leia (Carrie Fisher), the obvious choice to be his new apprentice. That said, Rey has been shown to possess a very strong connection to the Force and a pull towards the Dark Side as seen in 2017's 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'.

Actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver will reprise their roles as Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren respectively in the upcoming film. Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher will also reportedly appear in the movie. JJ Abrams, who directed 'The Force Awakens', was brought back to the franchise to direct 'The Rise of Skywalker' and wrap up the sequel trilogy. 

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' will arrive in theaters on December 20, 2019.

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