In the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer there is a prolonged scene that teases the possibility of Kylo Ren killing his mother, General Leia Organa. In the midst of a space battle between The First Order and the Resistance, Kylo Ren sits at the helm of his TIE Fighter and shares significant glances with his mother, General Organa, as they seemingly sense each other, their emotions intesifying. Played by the late great Carrie Fisher, Leia’s role in The Last Jedi is expected to be pivotal, but it’s possible that the beloved character will meet her end, or at least the beginning of her end, at the hands of her son, especially given that she will not appear in Star Wars: Episode IX.
Then again, the Star Wars series is known for grand twists and misdirection and what looks like an end for the Rebellion’s General might be a red herring. Still the potential has given die hard Star Wars fans and the internet a lot to think about.
It’s important to break down the scene. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), in a grim monologue throughout the space battle, convinces the audience to “Let the past die… Kill it. If you have to. That’s the only way to become who you were meant to be.” These shots are interposed with scenes of Leia and Kylo Ren’s hand on the trigger while targeting the bridge of a ship that doesn’t resemble any known First Order designs. It’s rounded with almost a Resistance feel to it, clearly Leia’s command vessel. The editing leads us to believe Kylo has a shot that would conceivably bring the ship down and kill everyone onboard but he hesitates. All of this is interspersed with shots of his mother Leia looking longingly, anxiously as she seemingly senses him. Again, the editing at least makes it seem that way. That’s also cut with more shots of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in the aftermath of a massive battle, turning to the camera and speaking in an absolute fury that “We are the spark that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.”
It’s very conceivable that Leia might meet her end at the hands of her son – solidifying his permanent villainy – or that she might survive the ship crash somehow and pass away off camera. Lucasfilm confirmed that they will not have actress Carrie Fisher return via VFX for Episode IX so Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the last chapter for Leia onscreen, one way or another. An offscreen death doesn’t seem worthy of such a pivotal character but an offscreen death at the hands of her son would fit in with the themes of Star Wars. Family, identity, and purpose and how they can be used and misused are at the core of these stories and having Kylo Ren kill his mother to please his master, or at the very least to save himself might be a prudent way of taking Carrie out of the picture. It would make redemption for Kylo Ren, formerly Ben Solo, even less possible though. It’s unlikely that the Star Wars films would take fans down such a dark path as it would forever dominate their destiny. Then again, people said that about the Empire Strikes Back as well.
Another intriguing opportunity presents itself. Kylo Ren’s palpable anger can be felt throughout the trailer. The moments before that final pivotal shot see Rey suffering at the hands of Snoke. Behind him is what looks like a throne, or perhaps a console. Kylo Ren’s anger at his mask is very noticeable and there are multiple shots of him brooding over the First Order hanger bay. Could Ren conceivably be shooting at Snoke in some twisted effort to try and protect Rey? Just because the trailer cuts him and his mother together isn’t indicative of him killing her even if the scene takes place during a space battle in which Ren is taking part. There’s a very real chance that he couldn’t bring himself to kill his mother, after all, she canonically cared for him and while both parents ultimately took saving the galaxy more seriously then saving their family there’s no truer bond than the one between a mother and her child.
Still, it’s hard not to argue with the facts. Carrie Fisher’s previous role in episode IX can’t happen and the actions of the other characters seem to hint at her passing as well. Poe Dameron delivers that incredible line amid the remains of a battle for one, as if he were taking command of the Resistance. That unforgettable look between Leia and the audience mingled with the emotions of her son certainly are intended to suggest the narrative that Ren will be adding matricide to his list of crimes. Couple that with John Boyega’s promise that Star Wars episode 9 will be “The war to end all wars” and things are looking grim. While it would turn Ren down an even darker path and make the final scene of the trailer absolutely tragic, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker himself warns the audience in the story, “This is not going to go the way you think,” while director Rian Johnson warns fans that the trailer is spoilery-y for some fans.
What do you think? Should Kylo Ren finish off his other parent after killing his father, Han Solo, and solidify himself as the pure evil menace for Epsiode IX or is it more interesting for the net film – and thematically – for him to seek redemption in a twist?
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