[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) has finally been released and it was pretty darn spectacular. Living up to fan hopes, Star Wars 7 blended nostalgia perfectly with a thrilling new story. Finn and Poe Dameron were brilliantly characterised, with Rey standing out as the Star Wars Saga's new main protagonist. Of course, she's got a big foe to face in Kylo Ren, but does she hold the key to his redemption?
Obligatory spoiler warning: hey! This article contains spoilers! If you've already seen The Force Awakens, or you just love to know everything beforehand, scroll on. Otherwise, now's the time to make the jump to hyperspace!
Alright, let's get spoilery!
Just A Scavenger...
Although the trailers somewhat played down her importance, Rey quickly established herself as the hero of The Force Awakens. As her story began on Jakku, it quickly became apparent how she struggled against poverty and starvation, scavenging for parts to survive. But she was soon dragged into adventure by Finn's arrival, and their friendship was one of the most poignant parts of Star Wars 7.
"You looked at me like no-one else had before: like a person."
Rey's journey to become a hero is one of the highlights of The Force Awakens. In fact, even the title could refer to Rey's slow discovery of her powers: after initially trying to run away from the responsibility, Rey harnesses the Force to defend herself again Kylo Ren's torture. Oh and by the way, that scene was one of the most beautifully crafted and subversive of the entire Star Wars saga.
"You're afraid... that you'll never be as powerful as Darth Vader"
Rey's final battle with Kylo Ren was an incredible climax, paralleling Luke Skywalker's battles with Darth Vader in the original trilogy. This also subtly positions Rey as Kylo Ren's nemesis, and possible redeemer.
Rey As Kylo Ren's Nemesis
If Rey mirrors Luke Skywalker as she discovers her Force powers, then Kylo Ren is definitely Star Wars 7's answer to Darth Vader. Obviously, the situation is different, but Kylo Ren has already demonstrated how his fascination with Rey could prove a vulnerability in his devotion to the Dark Side.
After Rey proved her Force strength by resisting Kylo Ren's torture, he tried to persuade her to join the Dark Side. This echoes Darth Vader's proposition to Luke Skywalker that they "rule the galaxy together" at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, and just as Luke rejected Vader, Rey is horrified at Kylo Ren's persuasion.
"You're a monster!"
Their battle ended with Rey harnessing her Force sensitivity, tapping into the innate power to beat Kylo Ren back. As the Starkiller Base broke down, the two were divided by a chasm, and we were left wondering where the story would take them next. With Snoke promising to complete Kylo Ren's training, and Rey embarking on her mission to train with Luke, we'll see plenty of parallels between the two characters in Episode 8. But could Rey ultimately redeem Kylo Ren?
Kylo Ren's Redemption
As we learned Kylo Ren was actually Ben Solo, the possibility for his redemption became apparent.
It's clear that Kylo Ren is conflicted: he pretty much stated that he still feels the pull towards the Light, and struggled with his mission to kill Han Solo.
"Can you help me? There's something I need to do, but I haven't got the strength to do it..."
Ultimately, he does kill his father, but that's not to say that Kylo Ren can't be redeemed. He'll no doubt struggle with his grief in Star Wars 8, and it's possible that the next film will lead up to Luke Skywalker, and a newly trained Rey confronting Kylo Ren. What will happen in this confrontation remains to be seen, but as Kylo Ren is already fascinated with Rey's power, it's possible that she could be the one to finally get through to him, and persuade him back to the light.
Of course, it could go the other way, with Kylo Ren coercing Rey to the Dark Side... Anything's possible at this stage, but on symbolism alone, Kylo Ren and Rey seem posed to come to blows again, in a dramatic climax that could persuade Ben Solo to join his family once again.
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