– Guest Post by kelC3PO
There may be something in the air when it comes to Rey and Kylo Ren… but is it romance, or family ties?
In this post, I draw comparisons between the Luke/Leia and ReyLo “relationships.” A majority of the post focuses on highlighting fan opinions from the late 70’s and early 80’s that are in favor of a Luke/Leia love. I then hypothesize that any ReyLo relationship will end the same way as Luke/Leia… with Rey and Kylo Ren as relatives. A population of fans were upset with this reveal after RotJ, and I suspect ReyLo fans will react similarly should ReySky be revealed in Episode IX.
It seems that Luke and Leia were meant to have some sort of romantic tension from the onset of the Original Trilogy (not surprising considering how their relationship unfolds in the screenplay, with Luke’s boyhood crush motivating him to save the beautiful and mysterious princess). A New Hope initiated the Luke-Leia-Han love triangle that continued through Empire Strikes Back, when we see Luke and Leia share a kiss only for Leia to later profess her love for Han. Some fans even cite this ROTJ poster as having a similar romantic feel between Luke and Leia.
Many pro-Luke/Leia comments can be found in fanzines from the late 70’s to early 80’s. For example, at least 5 outlets are cited in this excerpt from syfy.com:
Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, it was pretty much taken for granted that Luke and Leia were, if not the end-game couple, certainly a very likely candidate for that honor. Luke/Leia fics, such as “Kinmeet” and The Outland Chronicles made regular appearances in fanzines, and Maggie Nowakowska and Dyane Kirkland’s sprawling ThousandWorlds fic universe featured Luke and Leia getting married. But as fan Tim Blaes recalls in a letter in Southern Enclave #7, Luke/Leia fic only really cropped up consistently in zines like Against the Sith. While many fans enjoyed the ship and openly rooted for them, such as a fan who wrote into Against the Sith to complain that the only problem with The Empire Strikes Back was that they hadn’t gotten together, it was a pretty quiet part of Star Wars fandom. And that was largely for one reason: the irresistible charm of one Harrison Ford.
Taking inspiration from Kate Willaert at A Critical Hit, I have used archive.org to mine the fan communications section of the Starlog magazine for additional Luke/Leia support.
After ESB, some fans were disheartened by Leia’s professed love for Han.
This dissatisfaction also appears in fan letters to the “Star Words” section of Marvel’s Star Wars comics from 1977-1980.
Whereas other fans post-ESB were quick to conclude that Luke and Leia must be related… how else would Luke fit into the story?
It isn’t until RotJ that we learn that Leia is Luke’s twin sister and realize this romantic relationship was never meant for the big screen. At the time, Luke/Leia “shippers” refused to believe that this could be the true resolution to the Luke-Leia-Han love triangle.
In 1983, Luke/Leia fans were unsatisfied and mourned the death of their relationship. Will “ReyLo” share the same fate? I’m not here to argue for or against ReyLo, for that I’ll redirect you here and here. Instead, I’d like to suggest that any depiction of “romance” between Rey and Kylo Ren parallels the OT relationship between Luke and Leia, which was also believed by fans at the time to be romantic in nature.
What’s more intimate than telepathically sharing thoughts with one another? In Star Wars, at least, not much. However, it seems that telepathy is reserved primarily for family members (i.e., Luke-Leia, Luke-Vader). In that case, it would seem more likely that the telepathic communication between Rey and Kylo Ren in the Last Jedi is indicative of them being related rather than in love (ReySky, anyone?).
Ok, so if they are related, does that mean they are twins? If you believe in my Luke/Leia parallel, you may support a literal interpretation (i.e., Rey Solo), but we think that the evidence for ReySky is clear. Then again, what exactly could be meant by “twins”?
Here’s how the official Star Wars website defines “Twins in Mythology”:
Another name for twins in mythology is dualistic cosmology, because the twins motif is not restricted to blood twins. In some cases, they are considered twins because of commonalities between them. In some cultures, for example, two people could be considered twins if born on the same day. In mythology, the twins’ relationship is usually complementary; they are different but the same, and almost always rivals or partners. Either way, they are usually portrayed as being two halves of a whole.
Twins in mythology are often used to describe the duality of nature, whether it be the sun and moon, male and female, winter and summer, etc. Mythological twins were often attached to these forces of nature as a way to explain them. Sometimes they are at odds with each other, and sometimes they work together as equal partners. This is the fundamental nature of twins in mythology.
According to this definition, the concept of twins is “not restricted to blood twins” and, “Sometimes they are at odds with each other, and sometimes they work together as equal partners.” Thus, ReyLo could still manifest a Luke/Leia-type reveal in Episode IX, even if Rey and Kylo turn out to be first cousins.
In both ANH and ESB we see Luke and Leia share a kiss. Whereas in TFA and TLJ there was no physical romance between Rey and Kylo Ren. Could it be that Star Wars execs are pre-emptively avoiding fan outrage at any “incest” scenes? (People were upset even if those kisses were pretty G-rated.) Before you go off on the “George Lucas didn’t mean for them to be siblings” rant, yes yes, I know. And it doesn’t help issues of continuity this time around, seeing that we have switched directors back and forth for the ST. However, in the end, the conclusion of the trilogy will be dictated by the same fundamental question as the OT in 1983: What ending will best wrap up the trilogy and its stories? And as best as we can speculate, the answer is ReySky.
Yes, some fans will be unhappy with a ReySky reveal – either because they ship ReyLo, or maybe they are tired of the “everyone is related” trope. But you know what? It wouldn’t be the first instance of fan let-down in the SKYWALKER saga.
The Brady Bunch comment always makes me chuckle because it reminds me of this Jimmy Fallon Star Wars skit. The second angry fan’s comment is especially pertinent 36 years later, now that Star Wars is, in fact, a Disney movie… if the trope fits ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Please just hear. me. out. Rey and Kylo Ren are destined to fall into the Long Lost Relative trope, just like Luke and Leia.
Our hero or heroine meets someone who they seem to share a number of traits with. The story progresses, and they find themselves working together, at cross-purposes, or drawing together romantically. And then — The Reveal. The reason our hero has found that other person uncannily familiar or compellingly attractive is that the new person is a Long Lost Relative they may never have known they had, or had believed gone forever. Variations include blood siblings, parents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins once removed, and so forth. This trope is an integral part of the plot in stories where Everyone Is Related. Often this is hinted before it happens — thanks to Super Powerful Genetics members of the same family usually share a number of trademark traits and habits that you can easily spot them by. Once reunited, the relatives may form a Brother-Sister Team or join up with the rest of their Badass Family, since blood is Thicker Than Water.Excerpt from Long Lost Relatives Trope description.
Storytelling is all about the parallels. Like a musical composer or poet, George Lucas crafted themes to be used as motifs throughout the OT and PT. There’s no denying that JJ continued with those patterns in TFA, and he will undoubtedly do so for Episode IX. And I truly believe that if Rey does find Kylo “compellingly attractive” it is only because they both descend from the Skywalker gene pool. This is the Skywalker saga afterall…
Honestly, considering the logical story arc that is likely to unfold in the ST, I think the true love connection here will be Finn/Rey. With the addition of Rose in the Last Jedi intentionally driving a wedge between them, we get a sense of Finn’s greater love for Rey, Rey’s jealousy toward Rose, and we now have a new thematic love triangle mirroring that of Luke-Leia-Han. Well, maybe the new “love triangle” is instead Finn-Rey-Kylo. If a romance is bound to unfold in Episode IX, it would make more sense for the trilogy to resolve with Finn/Rey being romantic and ReyLo being a familial reveal.
But then again, why does Rey need a man in the first place? Can we not just have a strong female lead kick some a** and go home alone? Maybe that’s for another post.
Until then, xoxo kelC3PO