The new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer reveals Kylo Ren fighting with Rey on the wreckage of the second Death Star as violent waves crash around them. But Kylo and Rey's fight sequence seems like an echo of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi's duel in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, which could hint at a possible inversion of the fiery duel on Mustafar.
Rey's fight with Kylo Ren in the rain was first revealed in the Vanity Fair spread on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It also appears to be featured prominently on the new Rise of Skywalker poster, the two figures surrounded by blue while perched on wreckage with the face of Emperor Palpatine looming in the background. The was briefly highlighted towards the end of The Rise of Skywalker's special look from D23, which continues to underscore the duel's importance as a pivotal moment in the upcoming sequel, potentially even the climax of the film.
What's interesting is that Rey and Kylo's duel takes place over stormy seas, inverting the climactic ending of Revenge of the Sith, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker struggle against each other over raging lava on the planet Mustafar. This variation creates parallels between the two scenarios while still imbuing the story with new variations, both visually and thematically.
But director J. J. Abrams would presumably only place Rey and Kylo into dialogue with Obi-Wan and Anakin if there was a thematic connection. Since Rey and Kylo's fight changes the burning lava of Mustafar into frigid waters, perhaps the scene also inverts the relationship being played out within the fight. At the heart of Obi-Wan's duel with Anakin, there are two close friends who become bitter enemies, driven apart by the insidious Emperor Palpatine. If Rey and Kylo's duel is a visual inversion, it could also be the site of a reversal: two enemies who unite to become allies against Palpatine, or even become friends. If the two did join forces, it would fit within the larger patterns of variation within the Star Wars saga.
As a whole, Star Wars pulls from widely from different genres to construct variations of the Hero's Journey, which Joseph Campbell characterized as a narrative pattern that occurs throughout myths and stories around the world. Some of the typical stages of the Hero's Journey include the hero being called to adventure, learning from a mentor, being tempted by evil, and finally, overcoming obstacles and rejecting temptation. George Lucas was inspired by the cyclical nature of the Hero's Journey, and as a result, there are parallels and patterns throughout the generations of Star Wars stories.
But while Star Wars has reoccurring themes and tropes, it does not simply repeat itself. Instead, the saga engages with variations on themes, which has prompted some fans to imagine the different episodes as rhyming or following Mike Klimo's "Ring Theory". This is why even though the first film in each trilogy begins with an unknown young person from a desert planet, discovering that they have a deep connection with the Force, each trilogy plays out differently. Similarly, while Rey and Kylo return to Endor, the site of the broken Death Star II, The Rise of Skywalker already seems significantly different from Return of the Jedi, which is why it perhaps is looking to Revenge of the Sith.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019