Most of the press over the next few months will be centered around the way Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker will bring a 42-year, nine-movie saga to a close. But even as critics take the long view of history, this movie will define the most recent trilogy for the current generation. And within this trilogy lies an uncomfortable complex relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey, known to fans as "Reylo." But have no fear. Rey actress Daisy Ridley promises Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker will tackle the issue of her character and the way she relates to Adam Driver's Kylo.
The original trilogy of Star Wars films back in the 1970s was based on a familial relationship. Luke Skywalker faces down with his estranged "dark father," Darth Vader. The two had twisted, complicated feelings over the nature of their relationship. It was those feelings that saved Vader, allowing him to die in peace.
The prequel trilogy was also based on a male relationship, this time two men who were as close as brothers, Obi-Wan and Anakin. Anakin's turn to the dark side meant that Obi-Wan had to turn on his brother, take him down for the good of the galaxy. Those bitter feelings are never resolved.
The choice to make the lead in Star Wars: The Force Awakens a woman, Rey, has had a profound effect on the central relationship. For the first time, this is not a story about father and son, or brothers. It's an emotionally charged could-be would-be couple, who are both attracted and repelled by one another at the same time, in an unhealthy way.
This inability to define exactly what the complicated feelings between Kylo Ren and Rey are has driven an entire world of fan fiction. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ridley promises that the audience's obsession with "Reylo" has not gone unnoticed. She loves it.
It does not bother me, people writing theories. It’s really fun hearing them. Plus, because I know what’s sort of going to happen, I think it’ll be really interesting to see people’s reaction to [the final film]. Obviously, there’s this whole Reylo thing and some people are very passionate about it, some aren’t.
But for those who need answers, the film will provide, well, something:
J.J. does deal [with it]. It’s a very complex issue. People talk about toxic relationships and whatever it is. It’s no joke and I think it’s dealt with really well because it’s not skimmed over.
The "toxic" nature of the Reylo relationship is one of the reasons it's such a flashpoint in the fandom. Some would like the dismiss it altogether, that Rey is (or should be) too strong to find herself entangled with someone like Kylo Ren.
But the story this final trilogy has created is too complex for that. Like the prequels, Rey has to take down Kylo, for the good of the galaxy. But like the original trilogy, there's also hope that the feelings these two have for each other might be enough to bring Kylo peace before he goes.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.