Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cut out a subplot involving Rey building her new lightsaber. Rey's new, yellow-bladed lightsaber did make it into the film, but only for one scene at the very end. Lucasfilm creative art manager Phil Szostak revealed that wasn't the original intent. Szostak, who authored the art books for each film in the sequel trilogy, posted to social media some concept work done for Rey's lightsaber hilt. Someone in the comments questioned why they put that much effort into the prop for a single scene. This prompted Szostak to clarify the situation by revealing the cut subplot.
"The lightsaber was going to be in more than just one shot at the end," Szostak says. "There was going to be a subplot throughout the film showing Rey working on it at her bench, using the Jedi texts as a guide."
Some of this material made it into the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, written by Rae Carson. The novel reveals that Rey wanted to build a dual-blade lightsaber to mimic the fighting style of her staff:
“It wasn’t needed in the end but we did design the inner workings and kyber crystal cage for Rey’s lightsaber. Drawn before we knew what colour the blade would be.” - concept artist Matthew Savage#StarWars #TheRiseofSkywalker https://t.co/09kKYZR8UO pic.twitter.com/on8XCqoqNE— Phil Szostak (@PhilSzostak) May 16, 2020
"She eyed the unfinished lightsaber on her workbench. It wasn't ready yet, and the one she'd painstakingly repaired — Luke's — didn't belong to her. So her quarterstaff would have to suffice as a weapon. Which was just fine. It had served her well on Jakku for years. In fact, someday, once she had mastered this lightsaber-building business, she might design one that felt more like a quarterstaff in her hand. Familiar and hefty. Two business ends. Maybe with a hinge in the middle for portability."
Rey wielded a dual-blade lightsaber in her vision of her darker side in The Rise of Skywalker. The moment foreshadowed that Rey is Emperor Palpatine's granddaughter (though the novelization reveals their relationship is more complicated than that).
"It's changed film by film honestly, like 98% it's so amazing, this last film it was really tricky. January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we'd sort of been shown the first time around, I was like 'Where's the love gone?' I watched the documentary, the making-of, this week, and it's so filled with love; and I think it's that tricky thing of when you're part of something that is so filled with love and then people...You know, everyone's entitled to not like something but it feels like it's changed slightly. I think in general that's because social media and what have you."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on home media. It is also streaming on Disney+.