It turns out the Dark Rey sequences in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could have been a lot different than what we ultimately got. At one point, the idea of having Daisy Ridley's Rey turn into Kylo Ren was on the table, as revealed in some brand new concept art. It's not clear how far along this idea got, but it does provide an interesting window into what could have been.
The image was shared by concept artist Adam Brockbank on Instagram. Brockbank worked on J.J. Abrams' finale to the Skywalker saga and previously shared an alternate version of dark Rey. Brockbank came through again recently with another bit of art that wasn't used in the movie that reveals Rey with evil yellow eyes taking off Kylo Ren's helmet. Rey's outfit, from what we can see, also looks a lot like what we're used to seeing Kylo in. Brockbank shared the image with the following caption.
"More dark Rey... #starwars #theartofriseofskywalker #starwarsconceptart."
Dark Rey appeared during a Force dream sequence in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Rey is tasked with retrieving the Sith Wayfinder abandoned on the second Death Star and, once there, she has a haunting vision that is not unlike the one Luke had in The Empire Strikes Back. In the movie, Rey is seen with a double-bladed lightsaber and a cloak, taking up after her grandfather, Palpatine. Though, given the nature of her relationship with Kylo Ren, it's easy to see why the idea of having Rey confront herself in that fashion was bandied about. For whatever reason, J.J. Abrams the filmmakers decided against it. The version we got was first revealed in a teaser trailer ahead of the movie's release that whipped fans into a frenzy at the time.
What we know for sure is that the development process for Episode IX was a bit messy. Colin Trevorrow of Jurassic World fame was originally on board to write and direct the finale to the sequel trilogy. Trevorrow had a screenplay for a version of the movie titled Duel of the Fates and details of that version, which was remarkably different, leaked online recently. Once Trevorrow parted ways with the project, J.J. Abrams, who had previously directed The Force Awakens to great success, was brought in to finish what he started.
The final product was received with a heavily mixed response from critics. Though, general moviegoers seemed to enjoy it well enough. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the lowest-grossing entry in the new trilogy at the box office and, unsurprisingly, was recently found to be the least profitable one for Disney as well. Though, it still turned a healthy profit, further cementing Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012 for just over $4 billion as a wise business decision. Be sure to check out the art from Adam Brockbank's Instagram for yourself.