'Star Wars' Concept Art Hints That Rey's Yellow Lightsaber Was Going To Play A Larger Role In 'The Rise Of Skywalker'

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ended with Rey revealing her new yellow lightsaber, signaling the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter for the Jedi. But originally Rey, who had fought for the past three films with lightsabers that belonged to Luke or Leia, might have been able to wield her own lightsaber much earlier in The Rise of Skywalker. New Star Wars concept art that show the inner workings of Rey's lightsaber, which she builds through the course of the film, suggests that the lightsaber would have played a larger part in The Rise of Skywalker in the original plans.

Luke Skywalker is wielding a new green lightsaber that he built himself in Return of the Jedi. Leia Organa has her own lightsaber during her training with Luke. But Rey fights and defeats Palpatine with Leia's lightsaber in the climactic battle of The Rise of Skywalker, only unveiling her own personal lightsaber in the very last scene of the film, when she takes on the Skywalker name near Luke's old farm home on Tatooine. It's a powerful moment for sure, but it did leave some fans disappointed that we didn't get to see Rey using a lightsaber all her own — and a rare yellow one at that.

Matthew Savage, a concept artist who worked on The Rise of Skywalker, shared some images of the designs for Rey's lightsaber, the incredible detail of which suggests that there was more in plan for the weapon than a final scene reveal.

The images show 3D models of Rey's lightsaber along with the designs for the "kyber crystal cage," the internal closure that houses the kyber crystal that powers every lightsaber. In a nice homage to her humble beginnings, the design is modeled off of Rey's quarterstaff, which she fought with before she was set on the path of becoming a Jedi.

So why was so much work put into a lightsaber that we ultimately see for five seconds? According to Lucasfilm art director Phil Szostak, Rey's lightsaber originally had a much larger role to play. Szostak said on Twitter:

The lightsaber was going to be in more than just one shot at the end. 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.

We may get a brief glimpse of this subplot early on in the final The Rise of Skywalker, when Rey is seen working on what looks to be a lightsaber before reading the ancient Jedi text. But it's unclear what role that lightsaber would play, and whether seeing Rey use it in her final battle against Palpatine would undercut that final scene on Tatooine.

Szostak also notes that concept art is done very early on in the production process, when plans for a film are still up in the air and nothing is set in concrete, quoting The Rise of Skywalker concept artist Bob Cheshire, "Concept art is a question mark, not a full stop" over an image of Rey holding Kylo Ren's lightsaber.