Rise of Skywalker Concept Art Shows Kylo Ren’s Violent Search For Exegol

Early concept art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker depicts a far more violent Kylo Ren as he searches for the distant planet Exegol.

Concept art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker shows Kylo Ren’s violent search for Exegol. The ninth and final film of the Skywalker Saga was released in 2019 and quickly became a box office smash hit, grossing over $1 billion worldwide, making it the seventh-highest grossing film of the year. Like the previous two entries in the sequel trilogy, the third film’s reception was decidedly split resulting in continued debate years later on social media.

The Rise of Skywalker concludes Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) journey as she searches for her place in the galaxy while attempting to control the burgeoning powers that previously lay dormant within her. At her every turn was the once fledgling Jedi-turned-evil First Order Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, who murdered his father Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in an attempt to complete his turn to the dark side. With the sudden return of Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren must trek to the dark lord’s hidden location to find out the mystery behind his resurrection.

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Early concept art by one of Tea Rise of Skywalker‘s concept artists Jon McCoy shows Kylo Ren’s violent search for the Wayfinder that would lead him to Palpatine’s lair on the storm-ridden planet of Exegol. In the images, Ren can be seen slicing through an assortment of foes with his lightsaber. One rendition shows Ren standing at an altar holding what looks to be an early version of the Wayfinder with recently killed bodies behind him, fresh with red hot scorch marks. Check out some of the preliminary concept art below:



Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

Kylo Ren Star Wars concept art by Jon McCoy

The final version of the scene in The Rise of Skywalker, placed at the very beginning of the film, ended up being quite brief. Along with a squad of storm troopers, the scene shows Kylo Ren tearing through dozens of enemies with his lightsaber in a desiccated forest to obtain the Wayfinder from a nearby stone altar. However, the journey in the concept art appears to be a more protracted affair. In the concept art, Kylo Ren lands at the base of a mountain and treks to the summit, cutting through dozens and dozens of enemies in his path, before finally reaching the Wayfinder located at a ritualistic platform at the mountain’s peak.


The climatic film in the theatrical Star Wars saga was steeped in action and moved at a breakneck pace, bouncing from locale to locale as the Resistance heroes are chased across the galaxy. Perhaps a more deliberately paced journey for Kylo Ren as he tracked down the Emperor could have mutated the divided response to the Emperor’s return to the franchise. Regardless of the length of the scene’s final version, it was still a brutal moment depicting how emotionally conflicted Kylo Ren has become after his battle with Rey and the near loss of his mother in the previous film. The Rise of Skywalker can be currently streamed on Disney+.


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Source: Jon McCoy

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