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Initially enemies in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey and Kylo Ren’s relationship morphed into something different in The Last Jedi. With a little help from Supreme Leader Snoke, the two loners, struggling to find their place and purpose, developed this deeply personal connection and despite being on opposite sides of a war. And they found something they lacked in each other.
With December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set to complete the Skywalker Saga, this trilogy and the stories of these characters, one of the big questions heading in will be the relationship between Rey and Kylo, and how that relationship/ Force connection will impact their stories in the film. Addressing the relationship with Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, Adam Driver said:
And then he had been forging this maybe-bond with Rey, and it kind of ends with the question in the air: is he going to pursue that relationship, or when the door of her ship goes up, does that also close that camaraderie that they were maybe forming?
As Adam Driver told Vanity Fair, whether or not Kylo Ren continues to pursue some kind of relationship with Rey is one of the biggest questions for his character in The Rise of Skywalker. After the fight with the Praetorian Guard in Snoke’s throne room, Rey thought Kylo had turned and sought his help to save the rebellion. Kylo had different plans though and held out his hand, beckoning Rey to join him and rule alongside him.
Rey rejects him and ultimately leaves with the Resistance at the end of the film. That impasse between them could be seen as a breaking point. It seems their differences couldn't be solved, leading to a parting of the ways. The same would seem to hold true here, literally closing the door on their relationship.
But if Kylo values that relationship and still believes he can turn Rey to him, then he could choose to pursue that bond. Whether he would find Rey receptive to such a thing and she still sees the light in Kylo is another matter entirely. Ben Solo’s entire life as Kylo Ren has been a rejection of all the things that Rey values, as Daisy Ridley explained:
I think there’s a part of Rey that’s like, dude, you fucking had it all, you had it all. That was always a big question during filming: you had it all and you let it go.
Rey has been waiting for and seeking family since we first met her, and cannot understand how Ben could eschew the one thing she’s always wanted. Meanwhile, Ben Solo had a family and a good one. They weren’t some abstract concept Kylo told her horrible stories about either, Rey knows Leia and in the brief time they shared together Han Solo became something of a father figure to her. She also came to know and love Luke. Ben had all these great people in his life that loved and cared about him and he threw it away.
Not only did Ben eschew Han and Luke and Leia, he killed one, tried to kill another (and kind of succeeded) and is at cross-purpose with his mother. Any relationship with someone who has such fundamentally different values than her will be extremely fraught and difficult for Rey.
But families always look different to those who are in them than they do from the outside. From Kylo’s perspective, he didn’t have it all, rather, the pressure of his family and their expectations for him are what have caused him such internal strife, as Adam Driver continued:
How do you form friendships out of that? How do you understand the weight of that? And if there’s no one around you guiding you, or articulating things the right way … it can easily go awry.
We don’t have a ton of insight into Ben Solo’s childhood or his turn to the Dark Side in film canon. But from Adam Driver’s perspective, growing up as the son of the heroes of the galaxy was no picnic. He was always worried about not measuring up to a family legacy laden with tragedy and triumph. Either from a lack of guidance or an approach that didn’t speak to him, this pressure led Ben astray.
According to Vanity Fair, the inside word is that Rey and Kylo’s Force connection will run even deeper than what we’ve seen so far, meaning that it was definitively not severed with Snoke’s death. What that means for their relationship in the film and their respective arcs, will they team up to fight Palpatine, will Kylo be redeemed, etc., gives us plenty to speculate over.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.