The latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn't shy away from potential spoilers. Between Finn's battle with his former superior, Captain Phasma, Luke taking his lightsaber from Rey, and that potential allegiance between hero and villain, secrets were far from spared. However, there is one particular scene that seems to suggest the end of one of Star Wars' most beloved characters: General Leia Organa. In a one-sided "duel of the fates," Kylo Ren is piloting a starship and appears to lock his lasers on his mother. Considering the fact that Carrie Fisher passed away before filming was underway on Episode 9, it's no secret that her character will leave the franchise in some way or another. However, despite the fact that this scene in the trailer may as well be spelling out her ultimate fate, the opposite might actually be true. Kylo Ren might not be trying to kill his mother, but save her.
This new trilogy in the Star Wars saga is just as much about Rey's journey into the Force as it is Kylo Ren's pendular battle between the Light Side and the Dark Side. It's an oscillating journey that might have seemed figured out by the end of The Force Awakens with him killing his father, Han Solo, and essentially sealing the deal, so to speak, but Kylo's journey is hardly cut-and-dry. Even after killing Solo, the light might have nearly left him entirely, but there is still some rogue gleam flickering around inside. There's no doubt that he's battling it with some serious willpower, but that's not to say his potential for good doesn't exist.
In fact, if this wasn't clear enough in Adam Driver's performance, it's especially specified in the script for The Force Awakens. After killing his father, the script reads as follows (via IMSDb):
"Kylo Ren is somehow WEAKENED by this wicked act. Himself horrified. His SHOCK is broken only when -- CHEWIE CRIES OUT IN AGONY! Chewie furiously FIRES AT KYLO REN, HITTING HIM IN THE SIDE! Kylo Ren falls back, stunned."
There is so much to take from this single passage. The script spells out the fact that Kylo Ren is weakened by killing Solo, not strengthened (which was supposed to be the point of killing him in the first place). In fact, he is so affected that he isn't even capable of sensing Chewbacca shooting him. During the first scene in The Force Awakens, audiences are made well aware of Kylo Ren's Force abilities when he stops a blast mid-shot (and mind you, he's not even looking at the Poe Dameron when the shot is taken, adding further evidence to his exceptional awareness). So, to not have the wherewithal to not only stop Chewie's shot, but even sense it in the first place, speaks volumes.
Killing Han Solo wasn't the catharsis Kylo Ren was looking for. So, if Kylo Ren's journey in The Force Awakens was all about his attempt to transcend his former identity - Ben Solo - and embrace the dark side, The Last Jedi appears to represent his inner conflict surrounding the consequences of his actions. On a more visual level, the scene in the trailer where Kylo smashes his helmet against the wall might further support this idea.
Now, to get a firm grasp on this theory, let's revisit that scene in the trailer. Kylo Ren is piloting his TIE Silencer and appears to be aiming his sights on Leia, who is on the bridge of a Resistance ship—noticeably worried about a potential incoming attack. While there is no way to confirm how The Last Jedi will open post-opening crawl, rumors suggest that it will revolve around the Resistance's escape from D'Qar, where their base is located. So, considering that the Resistance appears to be on the run (as ragtag rebels are wont to be) and that The Last Jedi directly follows the events of The Force Awakens, there's some weight to this theory.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017