Once again, this post contains ***MAJOR spoilers*** for The Last Jedi.
See, we even have a Spoiler gif. If you proceed any further, there is no one but YOURSELF to blame. You have been warned.
Welcome back to our analysis of Reylo in TLJ! In part one, we discussed the characterization/motivations behind Rey and Ben’s *romance*. Part two is going to be a little more speculative, presenting some of our current theories for Episode IX and then debunking a few TLJ theories that have been floating around the internet.
But first, let’s take a moment to appreciate that a.) Reylo is canon and b.) REYLO IS CANON and c.) ReYLO is cANNOn. (Shhh, we’re not obsessed with this ship at all.)
Just kidding, we’re obsessed.
Moving on from all the fangirling (as if!), we present to you Part Two of our Reylo Meta!
When Ben and Rey have that infamous hand-touch scene, they both get a hint of a vision, a prophecy of the future, if you will, foreshadowing the changing dynamic of their relationship. Rey tells some of what she had seen to Luke, and then she repeats it more conclusively to Ben in the *Elevator Scene*, and he responds by recounting to Rey his version of the vision.
(Excerpt of dialogue from the Elevator Scene)
REY: I saw your future. Just the shape of it, but solid and clear. You will not bow before Snoke. You’ll turn. I’ll help you.
BEN: I saw something too. Because of what I saw, I know that when the time comes, you’ll be the one to turn. You’ll stand with me. Rey, I saw your parents.
I’m sure some obsessed fool on Tumblr has already dissected these two phases to the extreme, and so I’m not going to do that here. What I am going to focus on is the nature of the prophecy discussed. Some people are of the opinion that Rey and Ben’s shared vision is a plot device only pertinent to The Last Jedi, and the implications of this prophecy will not extend into Episode IX. Clara and I aren’t quite on board with this theory; we see both the prophecy and the sequential fight scene as some major Foreshadowing, and even if Episode IX doesn’t make any reference back to TLJ’s prophecy, the Reylo prophecy will play out to completion within the character’s actions. As of now, the Reylo prophecy is only partly fulfilled–the best is yet to come.
Not convinced? Let me explain. First, let’s look at the prophecy from the viewpoint of someone who claims that it is completely fulfilled within TLJ, and specifically, within the Throne Room fight scene.
As Rey saw it:
- Ben will not bow before Snoke.
- He’ll “turn” and she’ll help him.
As Ben saw it:
- Rey will “turn” and stand with him.
The Throne Room Fight Scene:
- Ben ceases to bow before Snoke after Snoke orders him to kill Rey. He “turns” by killing Snoke and fighting the Praetorian guards with Rey. She stands with Ben and helps him to defeat the guards. Right there, you have most of the prophecy fulfilled.
So what’s missing? Two things: the nature of a Prophecy, and the elements of the Reylo Prophecy that the Throne Fight left unfulfilled.
If the Reylo prophecy is legitimately fulfilled by the Throne Room fight, then this “prophecy” is a story-telling gambit and something of a cop-out. A prophecy is by nature extensive and all-encompassing, and to create a prophecy that is resolved within minutes of its being vocally shared is pointless. Just look at the prophecy-vision from the prequels: Anakin foresees that Padme will die in childbirth, and he will be powerless to save her. This particular prophecy is more in-line with the prophecies of Classic Tragedies, in that it has created a closed circle of fate, and once Anakin triggers this circle via his fatal flaw (pride), his and Padme’s fates are set and the prophecy is inadvertently fulfilled. Of course, the irony is that Anakin’s attempts to avoid triggering of the cycle (becoming a Sith to save Padme’s life) are the very events that set the cycle into motion and trap him in a self-engineered destruction.
The Reylo Prophecy obviously isn’t going to be this type of prophecy. As Reylo is the inverse of Anidala, then the Reylo Prophecy will work in the opposite direction: it will function as a liberation rather than a prison, as a redemption rather than a death-trap. It will be a prophecy that Rey and Ben Solo subconsciously fulfill, one that unlocks a bright new life of potential, rather than a prophecy that limits them to one only one possible outcome. It is, essentially, the most obvious clue to Reylo ending as a legitimate Romance in Episode IX (providing that J.J. Abrams follows through on this).
Like we said, our theory is that the Throne Room Fight was not a complete fulfillment of the prophecy—it was a merely a foreshadowing of another fight when Rey and Ben will again take up arms and stand together. After all, even the events of the Throne Room didn’t bring the prophecy to completion: Ben still did bow before Snoke, at least initially, and he did not make a legitimate turn to the Light.
And it could be argued that while Rey was standing with Ben, she was also standing against Snoke, which somewhat invalidates the prophecy’s implications of her becoming completely loyal to Ben. Ben very specifically states that he saw Rey “turning” to fight with him, but Rey never “turned” in the Throne Scene. She was not tempted by the Dark Side, and after the elevator scene, it was obvious that she trusted Ben and was willing to stand with him, so her supporting him against the Praetorian guards really can’t be considered a “turn.”
Ben too misread the Prophecy’s implications of Rey “turning” to “stand with him.” He assumed that since Rey’s parents had sold her off like garbage, he could offer her the emotional support and belonging that (to him) she was clearly never going to find anywhere else. He believed she would “stand with him” by accepting his hand and ruling the galaxy with him; however, he grossly underestimated Rey’s sense of loyalty to the Resistance. She refused him because she was not willing to betray her new “home” for Kylo Ren.
Honestly, my first thought in the theater was that the prophecy was pointing toward a moment in Episode IX when Rey chooses helping Ben over helping Resistance. I’m not at all suggesting that Rey goes to the Dark Side (she’ll certainly flirt with it, but she has no intention of turning). I’m not even thinking of a possibility where Ben and the Resistance are working at cross-purposes. It is more probable that only by her teaming up with Ben will she be able to defeat the ultimate evil in Episode IX. Of course, the Resistance will be directly opposed to this because Ben Solo is, well, Kylo Ren, and Rey has to make the ultimate choice about where she is finding her “home.”
We shall just have to wait and see. Two years isn’t that long, right? Right? (*Wails in the distance*). We’ll cover more of our Episode IX predictions in a future post. (Yes, our blog has been temporarily taken over by Stars Wars. You’ve got to let the past die, peasants. Kill it you have to….and you know the rest).
REY’S TRUE HOME
The Last Jedi forced Rey to face a lot of harsh truths about herself, and as a result, she initially had some fantastic (and much needed) character development. What do I mean by the word initially? Simply that, while Rey is brought to an internal place of self-realization via her Force-skypes and her time in the Dark Side Cave, she is unable to overcome the external lies that she has accepted as her pseudo identity.
The biggest (and probably the most controversial) of these lies is the idea that the Resistance is Rey’s new home, and that she will continue to refuse Ben Solo’s advances until he stops targeting this home. The latter part of that statement is true, even at the most obvious level: Rey has friends in the Resistance, and for Rey, the idea of “friends” carries a lot of weight, especially since she spent the first nineteen years of her life alone. So obviously Rey isn’t going to condone any actions of Kylo/Ben’s that will threaten Finn or Leia. But the idea that the Resistance itself is Rey’s new home? Yeah, that’s not true at all. Let me explain.
In the beginning of TFA, Rey’s primary goal as a character was survival. She was living like an animal, focusing all her energy on obtaining enough food and water for one day, and then repeating these same actions the next day, and the next—her routine became a subconscious reflex. She literally had no future.
Fast forward to the end of TFA and the beginning of TLJ. Rey has essentially moved up a step on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once she sees the value of human companionship (by befriending Finn), she begins to focus all her efforts on establishing an emotional connection.
This new survival instinct is undermined by her prevailing insecurity—that she doesn’t deserve to form emotional connections with anyone. She’s just a scavenger from Jakuu, an absolute nobody. What could she possibly offer the Resistance? In all honesty: not much. If Rey was not Force-sensitive, if she was not a possessor of Raw power, if she did not have the capability to become a Jedi, then she would be of no great asset to the Resistance. The Resistance would have still accepted her, but in all likelihood, she would have shuttled down to a low-level job, such as a pilot or a mechanic.**
But the Resistance as a whole would really have no reason to embrace her and nurture her. After all, the Resistance is an impersonal force—it is an ideology brought to life; it cannot extend meaningful emotional connection. Rey is looking for human connection, not an intellectual connection within the theoretical realm of “restoring justice and peace to the galaxy.” What is justice—what is peace? These are concepts, not physical beings that Rey can hug, or confide in, or trust and grow to love. The Resistance is a playground for idealists and politicians (just look at Poe, Leia, and Rose) but it really has nothing to offer Rey.
Rey certainly likes the idea of fighting for the Greater Good—she has never been part of anything, never belonged anyway, and suddenly this belonging is offered up to her on a golden platter and so it’s only natural for to accept it, and try to find a sense of security in the idea of being one with the Resistance.
**Yes, I understand the Resistance pilots aren’t on the same level as the Resistance mechanics (and the mechanics aren’t on the same level as the Resistance garbage-shoot emptiers, because Rose Tico does not equate to garbage). But on a general level, they are all just roles played in the service of a larger cause; no one person is the hero. So, yeah, if Rey became a really good pilot she wouldn’t be a nobody, but she would still just be a cog in the wheel. (Okay, Clara?!)
Rey is good at playing the role of Hero, and as was pointed out in someone’s Tumblr meta, this role essentially becomes her mask in Act III of TLJ. Ben copes (or rather, he doesn’t cope) with the loss of Rey by throwing an epic tantrum; Rey copes by reverting back to the Plucky Heroine.
In fact, after refusing Ben’s offer of a mutual galactic empire, she immediately heads back to save the Resistance, picking up right from the moment when she first saw the First Order firing on the Resistance transports. But in all honesty, is Rey really going back to save the Resistance, or is she going back to save her friends? The imagery of the Resistance being a spark that will ignite the fire that will burn the First Order down is meaningless to Rey; even if she had heard Admiral Holdo’s speech, she would not have been moved by it in the same way Poe was. So despite what she tells herself, Rey has no real loyalty to the Resistance—she is only loyal to her friends, and as those friends happen to be in the Resistance, she is interested the helping the organization for the sake of the individuals involved. (This should actually be pretty obvious, especially as the same thing is true of Finn at the beginning of TLJ).
But what was it that gave Rey meaning to the Resistance in the first place? Why is she even given the chance of becoming one of the Heroes of the Resistance? It’s obvious, isn’t it? It all leads back to Rey’s aforementioned Force powers, Force powers that were first awakened in her by guess who…oh, that’s right. Kylo Ren. Ben Solo. (Honestly, I think this speaks for itself.)
Yes, Leia gave Rey a clocked beacon meant to “light her way home,” and, yes, Rey had grand visions of returning to the Resistance with a redeemed Ben Solo, her Hero status finally earned. The latter part of the statement is simply one more example of Rey’s desperation to prove herself, and her need to prove that she is worthy of love—quite simply, Rey is trying to prove that she’s someone worth sticking around for, someone who’s too valuable to abandon.
TLJ brought her character arc to the point where she has accepted her lack of grand familial legacy, and Episode IX will complete her arc, as Rey fully embraces her newfound self-acceptance, and begins a new life, free of any sort of persona or mask (kind of like someone else I’m thinking of…). And Leia? For Leia the Resistance is her home, just as the Rebellion and the New Republic once were, and she obviously extends this understanding of “home” to Rey, little knowing that Rey will never find solace in an ideology. The idea of Rey “coming home” is also a personal one to Leia, and considering that Rey and her wayward son are so strongly connected, it is logical to see Leia’s role as the Mother extending itself to Rey.
Episode IX will see Rey truly find her back to a redeemed Ben Solo, the only man who could possibly understand the raging power of the Force inside her and around her. He is her true home, just as she is his.