The new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's footage shown at Disney's D23 Expo 2019 has fans buzzing like crazy. That's because the trailer ends with a pretty spectacular moment, which sees Sequel Trilogy heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) sporting some dark robes and unleashing her epic new weapon: a double-bladed, hinged, and red-colored lightsaber!
Now there are a lot of theories already circulating about what this scene with "Dark Rey" is *really* depicting. However, that question aside, it's important to note that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn't the first time that Rey's new lightsaber appears in Star Wars canon!
There are still a lot of Star Wars fans that don't bother to watch the animated series portions of the franchises - even though they are considered full canon. Those fans therefore probably never saw the the General Pong Krell arc of Star Wars: Clone Wars - nor the season 2 episode 17 of Star Wars Rebels, in which this double-bladed lightsaber with the hinged hilt first made appearances.
Pong Krell's arc in Clone Wars saw the violent Jedi warrior / general betray the Jedi Order and Galactic Republic, after being seduced to the dark side. When the general's plot is discovered, a brigade of Clone Troopers tried to arrest and subdue Krell, only to find the four-armed general ready with his signature weapons - two double-bladed lightsabers with hilted handles. The action happens so fast that the lightsaber itself rarely gets a moment to shine - but thanks to a later episode of the following series, Star Wars Rebels, this lightsaber would once again make it's way into the spotlight.
The episode of Rebels ("Shroud of Darkness") saw Jedi Kanan Jarrus, his padawan Ezra Bridger, and Anakin Skywalker's old Padawan Ahsoka Tano all return to the Jedi Temple on Ezra's home planet of Lothal. The group hoped to use mediation and the sacred location to make contact with Master Yoda's Force ghost, as Ezra had done once before. However, when each Force user enters his/her meditative space, the temple puts each of them through a test, in the form of a troubling vision that pushes them into some big revelation or resolution. For Kanan, that test comes in the form of a lightsaber duel with "The Sentinel," a Jedi warrior entity that guards the temple.
And the weapon that the Sentinel uses for the duel with Kanan? That's right: a double-bladed lightsaber with a hinged hilt!
Now granted, the Sentinel's hinged double-bladed lightsaber is yellow, and not red, but the connections between Rey's new lightsaber and The Sentinel seems like an undeniable Easter egg. Given that Rebels didn't necessarily get all of the fan attention that it deserved, this is the perfect kind of Easter egg that helps acknowledge the series (by generating the sort of conversation like this very article), without tripping up the plot of Rise of Skywalker with major connection to something a that most mainstream fans haven't seen. As for why Rey's double-bladed lightsaber comes in that ominous red color? Well, that's a whole other theory that needs discussing.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be in theaters on December 20th.