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Star Wars Fans Are Going Bonkers Over This Possible Spoiler

Contains potential spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Another day, another new hotbed of speculation bubbling up before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker emerges in theaters.

It seems there hasn't been a single day in the past 40-plus years during which someone, somewhere wasn't speculating about the future of the Star Wars franchise. But now, ahead of the launch of the ninth franchise installment, there's a new and particularly intriguing tidbit to consider — one that, if proven true, will blow open the doors of Star Wars lore to let several thousand years of history matter in a way that it hasn't before in the core Skywalker saga. 

As a warning, we're about to discuss possible plot spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker. Read on at your own discretion.

The most recent TV spot for The Rise of Skywalker features a brief cut of Rey (Daisy Ridley) holding aloft a strange-looking ceremonial dagger, as if she's reading it or perhaps even using it as a compass. This reveal plays into a popular fan theory about how the narrative will progress in The Rise of Skywalker, so some fans are crying foul that such a seemingly significant piece of the plot puzzle made it into a measly non-trailer promo clip. We have to ask, however: is it really a spoiler? Let's take a look at why the intense response claims it is, and consider just how significant this piece of information might be in the grand scheme.

The Star Wars theories fans are clamoring around

The fan theory fueling this furor has two diverging branches of thought. Both versions assert that the dagger is an ancient Sith weapon that's in some way a map to finding Palpatine, wherever he is in his non-corporeal seclusion. Additionally, both claim that Rey will eventually get her hands on the dagger. The idea goes that the dagger may have Sith language etched into it that only Rey can perceive and only C-3PO can translate — but only if his safety protocols are overridden because the Sith language is forbidden to learn. Fans point to other Rise of Skywalker trailers in which C-3PO has red eyes and seems ready to accept the droid version of death as evidence that someone will override his protocols and make him translate the writing on the Sith dagger. 

The diversions in the theory are based on what exactly the weapon is: some believe it's a general Sith assassination weapon called a shikkar, while others are convinced it's the Dagger of Mortis.

A Sith shikkar is a weapon dating back to before the Old Republic. In ancient Star Wars expanded universe lore, the Sith originally forged physical weapons before they invented the concept of the lightsaber many centuries later. (The history and meaning of lightsabers is a complicated one.) Sith used shikkars for assassinations because their blades were forged from glass; once the weapon pierced the target, the Sith using it twisted it at the fragile hilt to snap it off, leaving the blade inside the wound. Gruesome and brutal.

Now, we need to add the caveat here that you may be anticipating: Yes, all of this lore has been shunted off into the "Legends" category since the Disney acquisition of Star Wars as a property. As of the moment, this is non-canonical territory, but as time has rolled on since the declaration of all expanded universe content being non-canonical, Disney is cherry-picking content from this pre-established well of lore to re-canonize as it sees fit in restructuring Star Wars as a whole. It's not unreasonable to believe Disney has interest incorporating the temporal extremes of the franchise's lore for depth of flavor. Fans constantly clamor for that kind of thing, and it's rarely been incorporated beyond lip service in the past Star Wars films.

The other diverging thread of this theory might hold more water by virtue of the fact it is technically already canon. The Dagger of Mortis was featured in the 2008 animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is recognized as Disney-era canon. To make a very long and complex story short, the Dagger of Mortis is capable of killing pure manifestations of the Force that become corporeal in reality. That's an awfully convenient MacGuffin for when your long-time Sith enemies who actively pursued immortality might have found a way to not be dead and have been lying in wait to reappear in the galaxy. (Lookin' at you, Emperor Palpatine.)

Neither weapon looks like the one featured in the Rise of Skywalker TV spot, but that could mean anything or nothing at all. At the end of the day, we can't forget that all of this is speculative fan theory stringing together content from notoriously unreliable clips with concepts they want to be featured in the film.

Misleading and false cuts in trailers guarantee nothing

The biggest roadblock that keeps us from treating this possible spoiler as anything even approaching gospel truth is the nature of how trailers have been cut in the past few years – and especially trailers from Disney-owned properties. It appears that people may have forgotten that the trailers for both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame had cuts in them that were either alternate scenes filmed for deliberate obfuscation, or digitally doctored to remove surprises. Secrecy is paramount to these blockbuster productions, where even the smallest detail (accurate or entirely fabricated) can become a massive leak in one day's news cycle. This goes all the way back to Thor: Ragnarok — remember how in that film's trailer, both of Thor's eyes were intact for the cuts on the Rainbow Bridge? That was a straight-up lie on Disney and Marvel's part, but done in service to prevent spoilers. So was the addition of the Hulk in that big dramatic charge in Wakanda as part of the Infinity War trailer. The Endgame trailers lied to us, and so did the Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok trailers. Could The Rise of Skywalker be misleading us in the same way?

That said, the Sith dagger could very well be in the final cut of The Rise of Skywalker, but its significance to the plot could be literally anything. The Last Jedi made a pretty big deal of upending tropes and expectations, and The Rise of Skywalker writer-director J.J. Abrams is a man always interested in creating red herrings for the audience to chase as a distraction from the actual story. 

At this point, fans should accept the fact that any trailer put online through a company as clever at rhetorical dodging of the question as Disney will have content in there that may or may not amount to anything. The Sith dagger appearing in the Rise of Skywalker TV spot certainly isn't an accident, and therefore it's an enticement rather than an outright spoiler. It's a gimme, and the gimme is something to distract from a deeper truth about the film's plot. The dagger was cut into the promo clip to push people t do what everyone is now doing: talk about The Rise of Skywalker and speculate about the plot, which engenders more viewers to have deeper interest in the film and hopefully go see it. Just because we know for a fact ahead of time that The Rise of Skywalker is going to make a billion dollars doesn't mean Disney won't put in the effort to get as many people off the fence and commit to seeing it as humanly possible. That's the game of marketing.

With any luck, we'll find out the truth of this mysterious Sith dagger when The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20.