star wars the rise of skywalker rey final shot

Another day, another Star Wars “controversy” that has been debunked. But of the many issues that comes from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, this is decidedly not one of them. A few days ago, an eagle-eyed Star Wars fan pointed out that the final shot of Rey in silhouette in The Rise of Skywalker looked oddly similar to another silhouetted shot earlier in the film. The observation went viral, but editor Maryann Brandon, who worked with Stefan Grube on editing the movie, has confirmed that this is not true.

Spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker follow.

All movies go through reshoots and story changes, but no film’s script has been so hotly debated as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which has become the center of many a conspiracy theory about alternate endings. But one theory has sprung up around two eerily similar shots that, to fans, signify a changed ending. A Twitter user noted that the final shot of Rey (Daisy Ridley) standing on Tatooine looked remarkably similar to a previous shot of her standing on Passana waiting for the attacking TIE fighter. This was evidence of recycled footage, the user speculated, which could mean the final shot possibly included Ben Solo (Adam Driver).

But Maryann Brandon, a member of the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker‘s editing team, has debunked the rumors springing up around that shot. Brandon told Comicbook.com that both shots were filmed separately for their intended scenes:

“That shot was shot in the desert where they shot the sequence on Pasaana, but it was shot for that shot. It was specifically shot for that and then ILM created a lot of that shot, so that’s a question for Roger Guyett and the artists at ILM, how they created it. I picked the shot of Rey, which I know was shot in the same desert. It wasn’t already in the film, it was for that sequence.”

Surprise, it turns out that there are only so many ways a person can stand in the desert! The meager evidence of the original tweet aside (Ridley’s scarf thing isn’t even on the same side) there is nothing wrong with using recycled footage, even in a big-budget film like The Rise of Skywalker. Sometimes filmmakers do it intentionally, to create a repetitive effect or to bring the story back full circle. In this case, I think it was just a case of Ridley having a go-to desert stance.
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