Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio says that the upcoming sequel will continue to build on the complicated relationship between the heroic Rey and the villainous Kylo Ren. The two are on opposite sides of the war between the First Order and the Resistance, but found themselves bonding through a Force connection and even briefly fighting on the same side in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi was a contentious entry in the Star Wars franchise that left fans divided, but perhaps the only thing that can set off fights as easily as praising or deriding The Last Jedi is bringing up the topic of "Reylo." This is a shorthand for a hypothetical romantic relationship between Kylo and Rey, which some fans are eagerly in favor of becoming canon and others consider to be an offensive concept. The pro-Reylo fans make the case that the two characters have an intense and fiery dynamic that could easily turn from hate to love, while the anti-Reylo side argue that Kylo is abusive and irredeemable, and it's certainly not Rey's job to save him from the dark side.
Terrio didn't give away exactly how Kylo Ren and Rey's relationship will develop in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (which, like The Force Awakens, was directed by JJ Abrams), but he did make it clear that they won't be as simple as hate-hate. Speaking to Empire, the writer noted that "Some of the most interesting scenes in The Last Jedi are the conversations between Rey and Ren." Though Rey resisted Kylo's offer to join him and the two were enemies again by the end of the movie, The Rise of Skywalker will continue to explore their intense bond.
"We’ve tried to pick up that complicated relationship that really has been present ever since the interrogation in Episode VII. When Ren takes off his mask, there’s a nakedness about him with Rey that he doesn’t express to anyone else. Rian developed that in fascinating ways and we’ve been able to develop it even further."
Of course, Rey isn't the first Star Wars hero to have a complicated relationship with the main villain. In the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker (Kylo Ren's uncle) discovered that Darth Vader was actually his father, and tried to persuade him to return to the light side of the Force. Vader ultimately did so, at the cost of his own life, leading some to wonder if Rey will succeed in saving Kylo Ren's soul in a similar way. As George Lucas famously said, "It's like poetry, they rhyme."
Then again, Kylo Ren and Rey's connection might be developed simply to lend some more weight and pathos to their inevitable final conflict. After all, if Rey ends up killing Kylo at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it will be all the more tragic if the characters sincerely care for each other on some level, instead of being straightforward enemies.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019