Star Wars: The Last Jedi – How Rey and Kylo Ren’s Relationship Changes in the Movie

Rey and Kylo Ren's relationship is at the center of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Could one recruit the other to his or her side of the Force?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ strengths lied with its excellent cast of characters. At the center of that cast were the mysterious Rey and the villainous Kylo Ren (formerly Ben Solo, Han and Leia’s estranged son who fell to the dark side). While the two couldn’t be more at odds in the first movie, their dynamic might change in The Last Jedi.

According to EW, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars sequel digs deeper into how Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo (Adam Driver) are alike and how these similarities might bring them closer to each other. In fact, they get so dangerously close to each other that one character could turn to the other side. 

So far, the TLJ trailers have teased a possible alliance between the two characters, one that’s facilitated by an older Luke Skywalker, who is seemingly opposed to helping Rey learn the ways of the Force and find her place in the conflict between the light side and the dark. According to EW, Luke rejects Rey rather than take her in as a new student.

“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before,” Luke says in the movie’s first and only trailer. “It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.”

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Luke is of course traumatized from the last time he tried to train a student remarkably powerful in the Force. That student was his nephew Ben, who eventually turned to the dark side and destroyed Luke’s Jedi academy. Now, with a chance to make up for his past failure, Luke instead rejects Rey instead of helping her. 

“This is very much about Rey trying to figure out how she fits into all this, much like any of us as we’re growing up, as we’re transitioning from childhood into adulthood,” Johnson told EW. “You’re going meet people who you think are going help who don’t. And help is also going to come from unexpected places.”

Kylo took an interest in Rey almost as soon as he first heard word of her after the debacle on Jakku. His surprising reaction to the mention of “a girl” who’d helped Finn and BB-8 escape the junkyard planet is still one of The Force Awakens‘ most enigmatic moments. The scene almost plays out like Kylo knows of the girl in question. Later, when the two are dueling on Starkiller Base, Kylo offers to train Rey. 

Could Rey, feeling rejected and disappointed by Luke, take Kylo’s offer and work with him to master the Force? While it does seem unlikely that Rey will completely just turn to the dark side by movie’s end, something a bit more complicated might be in play between Rey and Kylo, a kinship in where they come from and what has shaped them. After all, both characters feel abandoned by their parents, are still trying to understand their place on their respective sides, and could probably use a better teacher than a clearly scarred Luke. And does Kylo know more about Rey than meets the eye?

“[Rey] doesn’t really know what she wants,” Ridley told EW. “She really is trying to do the right thing and morally, her compass is really pointing north.”

Her situation sounds much like a young Luke’s in The Empire Strikes Back. In the original Star Wars sequel, Luke is in sort of a confusing place. He’s still learning the Force, albeit without a teacher. And unlike the celebratory ending of A New Hope, Empire leaves Luke in more uncertain terms than ever before. He’s abandoned his Jedi training with Master Yoda in order to save his friends, and in the process has discovered the truth about his father. While Luke never hesitates to reject Vader’s offer to rule the galaxy as father and son, the hero clearly feels betrayed by Ben and Yoda for not telling him the truth. 

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Rey, who may very well find out who her parents are in The Last Jedi, might also end up feeling betrayed by those she thought could help her. There is undoubtedly some kind of mind-shattering revelation headed her way, perhaps even in Supreme Leader Snoke’s throne room. As teased in the trailer, Rey comes face to face with the Sequel Trilogy’s main villain and is tortured in the process. Is this a sign that she’ll join Kylo in his fight to eradicate the Jedi?

Let’s hope, for the sake of the Resistance and whatever’s left of the New Republic, that Rey will be able to fight the temptation she’ll undoubtedly face in The Last Jedi. We’ll find out on Dec. 15.