In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first time Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) learned about Rey (Daisy Ridley) was when he sensed there was an awakening in the Force. Soon after, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) came to report news that shocked the evil leader of The First Order: "The scavenger resisted you!" Kylo Ren confirmed his discovery: "She is strong in the Force!"
The destiny of Rey and the raw power she wields seems to be at the heart of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The newest trailer released tonight dropped scores of stunning new imagery and naturally ignited numerous new questions that the sequel written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper) must answer. The most pivotal questions, naturally, surround Rey, who we know traveled to the remote world of Ahch-To to meet Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the legendary Jedi Master whom she long admired and whose family lightsaber she carries. We also know from the footage we've seen and what has revealed about The Last Jedi thus far that theirs is not to be a harmonious mentoring. Skywalker, the Last Jedi, doesn't want to train Rey and even envisions the Jedi ending with himself.
As Snoke continues to be shrouded in mystery, we wonder what Snoke's ultimate plan is in regards to the two young people who have the most raw power over the Force in a generation. Kylo Ren, who finalized his turn to the Dark Side when he murdered his father Han Solo (Harrison Ford), has been Snoke's apprentice since he somehow stole him from the tutelage of Luke Skywaker, his former Jedi Master. But Rey is out there now too, and Rey even bested Kylo in a lightsaber duel on Starkiller Base. The new trailer shows glimpses of some pivotal moments in The Last Jedi and it seems like Rey does encounter Snoke after all at some point in the film. There's even a horrifying moment where Snoke is torturing Rey. But does he want to kill her? That seems unlikely. Why have only one apprentice when you can have two?
Snoke, as far as we know, is not a Sith Lord like his predecessor as Star Wars' big bad Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was. If he's not a Sith, then he doesn't subscribe to the ancient and outdated Sith law that there can only be two Sith at a time, a master and an apprentice. What's more, Kylo Ren followed up a great achievement of the Dark Side by committing patricide by immediately losing a lightsaber duel to a complete novice, no matter how powerful in the Force she is. But that "raw, untamed power," which Snoke pointedly says with a hint of admiration, is certainly something that he desires. Rey, hardly in control of her power, defeated Kylo Ren. Imagine what she could do if she were properly trained?
Daisy Ridley has spoken about how Rey learns 'you shouldn't meet your heroes' and that her time training with Luke, who doesn't want to train her or even want her on the island at first, doesn't go as expected. Luke even says in the trailer, "This is not going to go the way you think." Does Luke's reluctance or his irascibility somehow drive Rey away from him and towards Snoke? Or does Rey believe for some reason she has the power to take on Snoke herself?
Either way, it seems like Rey falls into Snoke's clutches. Having both Kylo Ren and Rey under his thrall would be the greatest consolidation of the power of the Force in this era of Star Wars. It would be the hat trick Palpatine himself never achieved when he tried to tempt Luke Skywalker to his side, especially when his intention was for the young Skywalker to kill Darth Vader and replace him. When Rey defeated Kylo Ren, he ordered Kylo be brought to him so he could "complete his training." For however long Kylo Ren was Snoke's apprentice, he still wasn't all he could or should have been. The battle on Starkiller Base immediately proved Rey is already better than Ren is.
If Snoke for some reason can't have both young Force users, would Snoke sacrifice Kylo Ren if it meant turning Rey to the Dark Side? Of course he would. As for Rey, we know she is a good person, but she has yet to be truly tested by the Dark Side. It's important to note that Rey to date has never asked to become a Jedi, she just wants someone to help her control the power inside her and, in her words, "to show me my place in all this." What if Rey's place turns out to be by Snoke's side?
A third option - judging from the moment Kylo Ren extends his hand in friendship - is that Kylo Ren and Rey could work together and abandon both of their masters towards a new goal: to balance the Force between them. However, that seems like fan shipping that doesn't really have a solid basis (yet) from where the characters are as The Last Jedi begins. But who knows what directions the film will take Rey and Kylo Ren?
As for Snoke, Rey must be a prize worth having and a prize worth sacrificing anything for - including his current apprentice. After all, if Snoke is referring to Rey in the narration of the trailer - and he just might be - than he knows Rey is "something truly special" - and worth any cost.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017