The new preview for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that debuted at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California Saturday, caused a widespread disruption in the Force. Or at least it caused many attendees to talk the about most shocking moment on social media.
The preview for the highly anticipated ninth and final installment in the Star Wars Skywalker Saga ends with an ominous voiceover by Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). "Your journey nears its end," the back-from-the-dead baddie intones as Rey (Daisy Ridley) comes into focus wielding a red, double-bladed Darth Maul-esque lightsaber while draped in a Sith robe, indicating the new trilogy's foremost hero may have turned to the dark side.
Surely this is a misdirection (a vision, perhaps?), right? Star Wars can't possibly be following in the path of Game of Thrones by making its most beloved heroine break bad at the 11th hour?
We asked Ridley about the jaw-dropping moment and what it means shortly after the video screened, and her answer might surprise you.
"I mean, the evidence is on the screen. Take that evidence as you will," Ridley told us (watch below). “But there’s no smoke without fire.”
Following 2015's The Force Awakens and 2017's The Last Jedi, Star Wars fans are pinning their hopes that the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel will stick the landing to a franchise that launched more than 40 years ago with 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope. Ridley and her cast mates are optimistic fans will be satisfied.
Read more: New Stormtroopers revealed
"Just wait and see what J.J. and [co-writer Chris Terrio] did," said Ridley. "It's really impressive how they wrapped it up altogether and hopefully [with] a fitting ending."
John Boyega, well known for being the most hardcore of Star Wars fans among the new cast, added some context for why he thinks the film will triumph.
"It's just not easy for the Resistance," he said.
"The Resistance are broke, they don't have weapons. Not a lot of allies. You know how they were left after Last Jedi. It's not a great situation. ... Darkness, for the first time in a long time, has taken like 10 million leaps forward.
“And for us to deal with that as Resistance heroes is a bit of madness. And there’s conflict between us, between ourselves, figuring out our past. And all of that is just approached in a magnificent way and I can't wait for it."
Explained Kelly Marie Tran, who returns as Rose Tico: "J.J. has done a really good job of bringing a lot of things together, in terms of having [characters] from the older films. Everyone's together in this movie, which isn’t something that's happened before. So it’s really exciting."
By Kevin Polowy, Yahoo Entertainment
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens 19 December.