This is a breakdown of everything in TFA and the surrounding texts and materials that I wrote over the course of about 2/3 months - its long one so you might want to grab a cup of coffee and sit down but I promise I will make it worth your while.
[EXTREME SPOILER WARNING]
- Rey Solo: A Red Herring?/Not Debunked
- Does the Dialogue actually hint at Rey?
- The Rey Han/Leia Parallels (ft the concept art)...
- Foreshadowing of Rey and Kylo's intertwined futures?
- The Skywalker Lightsaber's Journey...
- Who are Luke and Leia to Rey in TFA?
- Rey and Kylo embody the Parallel Opposites Trope...
- A Mothers Ring?
- EU Parallels...
- Luke's Importance...
- Did Rey hear Han's voice during her vision?
- This Conversation that was cut from TFA is interesting...
- The Lightsaber in the Snow
- Conclusion/This is the kicker...
"Who's the girl?"
An apparent but hidden conversation between Maz and Han; she goes down to face a startled Rey who’s just ‘connected’ with the Skywalker lightsaber. They talk about something that redefined my perspective on who I thought Rey was, could be, and why… starting with
Rey: ‘I have to get back to Jakku.’
Maz: ‘Han told me.’
Maybe Han told her something that meant Maz knew exactly where to find Rey because what he told her made her suspect the lightsaber would ‘call’ to the girl? Or maybe, as I believe, Maz simply felt a shift in the Force when Rey touched the saber.
This could still mean she’s Luke’s but it’s the next bit that might be a nod to otherwise.
First we have to remember one thing: Rey has spent her entire life waiting on a ‘family’ that she believes will come back for her. Her ‘family’, implying, traditionally, a mother, father, and possibly siblings. She’s dedicated to that belief more than anything.
Maz tells Rey that 'whomever' she’s waiting for on Jakku ‘they’re not coming back’ but Luke ‘still could’. How does Maz know that? And how could this possibly be reconciled with the theory that Luke is her father? All evidence indicates Maz has no knowledge of who Rey's family is.
Maz tells her that the lightsaber is calling to her, that the belonging she seeks is not behind her (what she lost/wants back) but ahead (in meeting Luke). Then how could Luke be both the family she lost and the one she seeks? I don’t think he actually can. If Luke is her father Maz Kanata’s heartfelt words about moving on don’t make much sense.
Maz doesn't know Rey's origins, how could she, she simply confirms what Rey already suspects - that her family aren't coming to get her.
Maz speaks like she’s been waiting for this day, that she has held onto this lightsaber knowing that one day someone would arrive and be called to it. That’s why the visual dictionary states that she keeps the box ‘unlocked’.
The writer of the visual dictionary is one of the very few people who know everything. Pablo Hidalgo - Lucasfilm's Creative Executive of Story Development.
While the lightsaber was lost in Bespin the leaked shooting schedule specifies that Maz stole the lightsaber from Kylo. Kylo thinks it belongs to him and the simplest explanation is that it did. Kylo having trained with the Skywalker saber as Luke and Anakin did, and Rey will, makes sense because then it is truly a Skywalker heirloom that all the Skywalker Jedi have trained with.
I work under the assumption that Rey is a Skywalker in some form. This series has been described as ‘a soap opera about the Skywalker family’ by Kathleen Kennedy - George Lucas' successor. This, for me, really made me consider that Rey might be Han and Leia’s. It makes sense. She'd be a Skywalker, an Organa, and a Solo. Capable of carrying the legacies of all our original trio directly. I feel the narrative of TFA was deliberately edited to lead away from this, to keep the audience in the dark so the shock of the reveal would be more impressive.
Honestly I came out of TFA and was pretty into Rey Skywalker for a while, maybe a week. I hadn't really been paying attention to the press coverage or anything so I had no preference pre-TFA. I guess what I'm trying to get across is I wrote two Rey Skywalker theories before looking into Rey Solo a bit more and I still wasn't convinced.
Rey Solo: A Red Herring?
Here's the 'conspiracy' bit it gets more interesting later.
Someone told me that Rey Solo was a red herring used before TFA's release but I don't get that. A ‘red herring’ by its very definition has to be part of the narrative - just because people made assumptions doesn’t make it a red herring. That's not to say it wasn't manipulative press - I think they were using Rey to keep people away from Ben Solo because that reveal was in TFA.
Any press from after TFA tells a different story.
There was the February 25th 2016 post-TFA interview from Daisy Ridley that went:
"The thing I found funniest is that I was... the child. People were so presumptuous, like, 'You're Han Solo's daughter!' And in my head I'm like, 'How do you know? Have you seen the movie?' Clearly not, because I wasn't. That was a funny one."
This didn’t really deter me.
Daisy isn't allowed to confirm or debunk any theory; that would be considered a spoiler, she has an NDA, and she would face consequences. There would have been more of a blow up if Luasfilm had actually seen this as a big problem. She volunteered this information which is strange since she would know not to stray into this territory...
If they're going to make Rey Solo surprising they're going to have to give the hardcore fans some severe misdirection. I know that sounds absurd but JJ Abrams pulled a similar stunt in 2013 saying 'Khan's not in Into Darkness' which was a blatant lie. Actors and Creators will lie to the press to protect these secrets - these are secrets made possible through multi-billion dollar investments and the wrong words can seriously mess with how much profit is turned. I might remind people that post A New Hope Mark Hamill said Leia would be a 'chump' if she picked Han over Luke.
Also, even if Rey is a Solo 'I wasn’t.’ isn’t really a lie at this point - it's kind of cleverly worded - because we’ve had no confirmation, the reveal not being in TFA is not new information to anyone. 'Wasn't' being past tense and a reference to TFA specifically. She 'wasn’t’ revealed to be anyone’s child in TFA, especially not Han and Leia’s as a lot of people assumed she would be.
The same way JJ recently said Rey's parent's weren't in TFA - and then clarified he just meant there just hadn't been a reveal yet so it was impossible to know but they might already be in her world.
The actual question was 'What was the toughest secret to keep?’ and Daisy Ridley decides to start talking about Rey being a Solo. Why would it have been tough everyone asking her about Rey Solo if she was actually someone else the whole time? Wouldn’t that have been a walk in the park? I don’t know, but she wasn’t asked 'What was the most annoying part of the lead-up?’ she was asked 'What was the toughest secret to keep?’ Or maybe it was tough to keep the secret that she 'wasn't' a Solo? Does that make sense?
I’ve seen a lot of Daisy’s interviews and I would say there’s an awkward edge to this one. General lack of eye contact, especially when saying 'I wasn't'.
Rey Skywalker only became the most popular after TFA . All the little nods to Rey Skywalker in the press now are actually likely to be misdirection, I find it so hard to believe they're suddenly going to start being nice. If Rey was Luke's they be keeping people on their toes, misdirecting, not helping them out.
Honestly Rey Solo makes sense given the press. It would go:
- lead away from ben solo using rey solo
- give ben solo reveal to audience
- lead away from rey solo using ben solo
- give rey solo reveal to audience
Surprising reveal with the most minimal legwork and a classic sibling vs sibling dispute.
I found myself wondering: Why would they lead so heavily away from the idea of Rey Solo in TFA without actually ever disproving it at all? It's never specified that Ben is their only child. How much do we really know about the Solo family? There’s SO much secrecy around who Rey’s parents are, which means there’s going to be a big reveal, and what would shock people more than something that had already been, for many, apparently disproved (even though it wasn’t at all). I think it’s emotional manipulation. My lecturers tended to call it ‘the classic subterfuge’, the oldest red herring in the book; if you want to shock people with the originally obvious the key is doubt, make them doubt what they believe.
One of the things Kasdan explained to JJ in those early talks is 'Don't explain everything. Be efficient. Tell a story in a look; in the most succinct way.'
J.J. Abrams: The thing about Star Wars is everyone who has seen these movies thinks, you know, “I am your father.” It’s one of the first things you think about. And, “There is another.” And moments like that. But when you think about those big moments and then you stop and go, oh, neither of those things were in Star Wars. You know, Star Wars didn’t say that Luke was the son of Vader. Star Wars didn’t say that Leia was the sister of Luke. You didn’t really understand what these references were. The Empire, dark times, Clone Wars. There are these things that are discussed that don’t get explained. It was Episode IV. You know, George, among the unbelievable list of brilliant things he did, dropped you into a story and respected you and said, “You will infer everything necessary to understand exactly what you need to know.” And that’s what we tried to do with this. We knew we were going to have a moment when Snoke was going to say to Ren, “Your dad’s in the picture.” Can this movie actually also hold, you know, “And Rey is this and Finn is that and this is where Poe…”? It was one of those things, and again it speaks to your restraint...Look, this is the first, this is an opportunity of a lifetime to write a movie that is the first of a series, and there is a story to be told. And it will be. But this movie, it felt like “the droid is in the hands of your father, Han Solo” was probably the one real revelatory familial piece we could get away with.
A lie that leads the audience away from an idea and a backstory we can't quite match up? Thats what we got in the OT from George Lucas and that's what JJ Abrams is carrying through this new trilogy.
Pablo Hidalgo said on Twitter:
@pablohidalgo oh captain, my captain: is the Rey Solo coffin firmly closed, courtesy of Daisy Ridley?
Pablo Hidalgo: Well, I think she'd know. But I'll leave it at that.
@pablohidalgo but like... Isn't she gonna get in trouble for revealing stuff?
Pablo Hidalgo: who could possibly get mad at a face like that? :)
@pablohidalgo if Daisy can break her NDA so can you, so start spilling the beans.
Pablo Hidalgo: I think what Maz says to Rey about the belonging she seeks says a lot. But I guess that requires believing Maz.
@pablohidalgo belonging = family? because right before that she treats "who Rey's been waiting for in Jakku" and "Luke" as separate entities.
Pablo Hidalgo: And that the person she's waiting for is never coming back. Would it make sense if Maz meant someone who's upstairs?
@pablohidalgo I'm not saying she's Han's daughter though? Lol I'm not d*mb. I'm just trying to reconcile Maz's words w Luke being the father.
Pablo Hidalgo: But, as far as Luke goes, Maz says the person she's waiting for is never coming back. But there is one who still might.
This is literally doing my head in. Pablo tries to draw this person away from Rey Solo too and refuses to debunk it? He literally suggests Maz might not be trustworthy and then bases his counter-argument off something she said. Couldn't it just be irony that Rey waited for so long for her family to come get her and then her dad shows up and she didn't even realise. Not to mention 'who could possibly get mad at a face like that? :)' is such a cop-out but he doesn't deny that Daisy was on dangerous ground.
Overall I think Pablo’s deal is that whenever someone sends him something he’ll find a way to debunk it, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or not he’ll find a ‘hole’ even if he knows it’s going to be patched up later.
Basically, the words of the cast, crew, and people like Hidalgo are not infallible and very hard to determine the real meaning of. I think the best evidence is probably within the film, but like JJ said it has to be 'inferred' so it's all the little stuff that adds up.
One last thing to weigh up is Pablo's 'belonging' comment since that seems undeniably genuine, and the interesting thing is TFA goes out of it's way to show you that this belonging isn't Han and Leia, it's her training with Luke e.g. Rey turning down Han's job offer, Han's death, the symbolism of Rey taking one last look at Leia before leaving, and then one last look at the Falcon before walking up to meet Luke. Her belonging isn't family; it's the force. Maz's next line after 'belonging' is 'I am no Jedi, but I know the force.' and I think that's because Rey's belonging is specifically connected to being a Jedi - Maz has no actual idea who Rey's family is so the theory that she says it in order to get Rey to her father is kind of obsolete. She just knows Rey is important and force-sensitive and Luke is the only one who can train her.
'They're never coming back'? Who were her family; perhaps a senator, a racing pilot/family man, and a young Jedi. But they're all gone. Literally TFA really focused on that. Kylo refuses to use his old name. Han responds to Rey's 'You're Han Solo' with 'I used to be'. Leia is no longer a princess or a senator, everyone just calls her 'General' - Poe was at one point meant to specify that she disliked being called 'princess' now. The whole Solo family broke and became people very different to what they'd been around the time Rey would have been with them if she's a Solo. A peace-maker turned General. A family man turned rogue. A Jedi turned dark-side-user.
Does the Dialogue actually hint at Rey?
The big problem is, of course, Han and Leia not mentioning Rey... directly. Except they might have, right in front of people's noses, and it was so well done nobody even noticed. On top of that if they do think she's dead... thats trauma, you're unlikely to bring up a 'dead' daughter you lost 15 years ago in the middle of a conversation even if you're talking about another child. It was hardly the right time and Leia and Han seemed to be on tenterhooks around each other anyway - trying not to say the wrong thing.
I mean, the idea they’d directly allude to Rey Solo is kind of absurd why would the creators even begin to give it away it’s obviously a huge part of the story; like for most of the originals the audience thought Luke’s father was dead, because we believed what Obi Wan said.
That’s another point: don’t believe everything you were told in TFA some of it might be untrue - like Maz's words and Rey's perception of her abandonment.
JJ Abrams already said Rey's backstory was to be 'inferred' which is interesting in the most exciting way when applied to the Han/Leia conversation - there is so much that can be/has to be inferred there.
Let's look at the dialogue that supposedly 'proves' Rey Solo to be impossible, all of which was very confusing to me. At first I thought ‘Well this is just bad writing,’ and as a screenwriter I was kind of disappointed because Kasdan is someone I look up to. Now I think maybe I’m the one who made a mistake. Here's how I interpreted it:
Let’s start at Leia's ‘That’s why I wanted him to train with Luke. I just never should have sent him away. That’s when I lost him. That’s when I lost you both.’
The keyword is ‘both’.
‘Both’ in this instance equals Han and Ben.
Leia acknowledges that the point in time in which she lost her son was when she lost Han too – though since it seems Han didn't actually leave for over a decade after this other sources seem to suggest Han went off on his own for periods of time but still came home, until the massacre and then he didn't.
Then Han says, ‘We both had to deal with it in our own way.’
‘Both’ = Han and Ben? Han and Leia? Could technically be either.
I originally assumed the ‘both’ in this sentence referred to Han and Leia because otherwise I couldn't rationalise the 'it' but once I put aside that assumption and actually looked at it in the context of Leia’s previous line it helped me realise I don't know what 'it' is. Han could be talking about himself and Ben.
Let's work on that assumption a moment: 'Ben and I both had to deal with it (?) in our own way.’
It doesn't make sense for Han to jump a decade to talk about Ben's betrayal and Han leaving then - Leia was talking about a specific point in time.
The only event we know of in relation to the Solo family from this point in time is Ben leaving to go to Luke. It hardly makes sense for Han to be saying ‘Ben and I both had to deal with being separated our separate ways’; that’s a paradoxical sentence. And, I started to wonder why sending their son away was something they had to 'deal' with, that makes it sound like something terrible happened rather than them just making the best decision for their son's well-being.
So I was thinking...
Then what could be this ‘it’ Han references. There’s this allusion to something more happening BEFORE Ben was sent to Luke in a number of sources outside the movie.
Just my personal impression; but Leia's face fell in this moment.
Of course 'Both' could still mean Leia and Han - but then there's the question of what the 'it' was Han mentioned because in that case I still believe Ben being sent away was symptom - something more happened to the Solos around this time.
The dialogue progresses quickly with Han’s, ‘I went back to the only thing I was ever any good at.’ Which tells us, given the context, that Han feels he failed as a father - which is in-keeping with him referencing the loss of two children.
The nail in the coffin for me is that visual dictionary mentions 'a profound tragedy’ that ended Han’s life as ‘family man’ and 'what had become normal' for the Solo family, but it doesn’t specify what that tragedy was.
In my opinion it seems pretty apparent that Han’s life as a ‘family man’ and ‘what had become normal’ ended before his son was sent away; that tenuous period in-between Ben being sent away and Ben’s betrayal in which Leia and he were somewhat estranged, Han spent time away, and his son was gone, doesn’t fit in with being the ‘normal’ Han had apparently become used to: aka his mostly peaceful, happy life with his family. Whether or not it has anything to do with Rey, even though I believe it does, as far as I can work out it seems like this ‘profound tragedy’ that ended ‘what had become normal’ happened a short while before Ben was sent away, and the separation of Han’s family and the end of the ‘normal’ were a consequence of that tragic event.
A month after I came to this conclusion Pablo Hidalgo posted this on Twitter. A conversation with a fan about the Documentary on the TFA Blu-ray:
He didn't answer the question definitively, but I wouldn't expect him to. What does matter is that he actually points toward something I’d already found bits of evidence for, that fits in the timeline best, that makes most sense for the characters. He certainly seems to suggest my belief that the visual dictionary tells us something we didn’t know before is accurate. Something tragic happened to the Solos prior to Ben leaving them.
Then later there’s the line ‘We lost our son, forever’ which, if they do have another child, seems strange without knowledge of Han’s motivation for saying it. The importance of the 'forever' on the end can't be overstated. The novel explains that Han says it because he’s responding to Leia’s ‘denial of reason’; her belief that Kylo can still be saved. He’s trying to be gentle in saying ‘Leia, he's never coming back.’ Mentioning a child they lost long ago not to the dark side but in different circumstances and that Leia already believes can never come back wouldn’t make sense given that Han’s motivation in saying it is him trying to save Leia the pain of hoping a child who still lives but that they lost to the dark side can return. I would note the fact he says 'our son' not 'our child' - not ruling out that they also lost a daughter.
The 'Me. You.' almost felt like she was reminding them that they were still there and could do it... like maybe she could see Han's sight was clouded by loss.
Dialogue-wise the rest of the TFA script to me looks technically flawless, there's nothing vague there unless it's deliberately cryptic - so maybe this was deliberate. I think perhaps it's a plot-hyper: you give the barest amount of information but plant the key somewhere in the text.
And maybe it's also worth noting that immediately after this it cuts to Kylo and Rey's interrogation scene; which Kylo comes out of thoroughly rattled by his connection to Rey and her power.
So... maybe Han and Leia did discuss their daughter through the effect her loss had on their family. This isn't unlike the kind of indirect language people do use when talking about delicate subjects such as the loss of a young child, even when it all happened so long ago.
In the TFA Documentary Adam Driver says Kylo is "mainly motivated by the feelings of abandonment from his family."
JJ Abrams elaborates saying "Han couldn’t stay in one place" and that "Leia couldn’t stop fighting."
Adam describes Kylo as thinking them 'selfish'.
The implication is that in the absence of solid parenting, Kylo Ren emerged.
Why make it out like Leia and Han were bad parents? It seems a strange thing to do with two of cinemas most iconic characters. Unless maybe there's a lot more to it but we don't have the full story yet. Maybe they were mourning selfishly - they failed to see the effect the loss had had on their son and they threw themselves back into their work to deal with it not seeing how that was furthering Ben's suffering.
Apart from that we still have no reason to doubt Luke strayed from Jedi tradition and had a family, and at this point it would be hard to introduce one given the amount they've got to fit into Episode VIII they don't really have enough time to establish it. They could do it but I feel it would be a struggle to make it authentic. There weren't any hints dropped in TFA.
Kira, the original name of Rey during early production has become a point of interest given that Luke means 'light' and Kira means 'beam of light' but I counter with the idea that 'light' might just be a nod to their allegiance in the Force.
We also now know that Rey can't have been at the Jedi Academy when it fell because Hidalgo confirms Rey was on Jakku before that point.
It seems to me there was a family tragedy - the loss of Rey - before Ben turned dark.
The disappearance/supposed death of one child would deeply wound Han and Leia and could also have a profound impact on Ben.
There's actually nothing to suggest Ben didn't go to Luke after Rey was left on Jakku. '10 years old' has been thrown around a lot but mostly because people were trying to match up the attack on the academy with Rey's abandonment even thought it never really worked - so maybe Rey was abandoned when Kylo was 15 - consequently he began to spiral into the darkness and this was when he was sent to his Uncle.
And then the loss of their eldest child to Snoke... well, it's not hard to see how that sequence of events would lead Han and Leia to the place we saw them at in TFA: Estranged but still obviously capable of caring very deeply about each other.
Leia's main focus in TFA is, after all, to bring her family home. On top of everything else maybe she's compensating for not being able to bring Rey home. She chastises herself for believing she could bring Luke home right before they have that confusing conversation. How couldn't Leia feel Rey lived? Well, there's the fact distance seems to numb Force bonds and Rey was in the outer rim - Obi Wan suggests taking baby Luke to the outer rim so that Vader can't find him and this is a recurring idea in the non-canon EU that could have been carried into the new canon.
In the EU kidnapping was a problem for the Solos often. There were always those who wanted the Solo children for their power. They were isolated from everyone during at least the first two years of life to keep them safe. There was even an incident in which the reborn Palpatine tried to possess baby Anakin Solo.
Leia is direly aware of this, she mentions that from Ben's birth she knew there would be those who would try to manipulate him and his power.
Also, some have said 'Well if Snoke was in Ben's head since birth why wasn't he in Rey's'. The thing is we don't know he wasn't. Toward the end of the novel there's a moment in which she hears a voice, which many have assumed to be Snoke's, call her to the dark side. They'd supposedly never met before. Maybe Rey's awakening with the Force reestablished a connection. Maybe Snoke had something, or everything, to do with what happened to Rey.
We already know the First Order is in the business of kidnapping young children, conditioning, and training them. Maybe the fact the troopers of this era are children taken from their families rather than clones is more important to the story than people might think.
When Han meets Rey he begins to see something in her he can’t explain - this is mentioned in the script in their first meeting. Leia doesn’t meet Rey until after Han is gone at which point I think she realises who ‘the girl’ is. The script describes Leia as ‘grateful’ in the moment she sees Rey. She 'takes her face in her hands' - it’s so excessively intimate in nature. What could Leia even possibly be ‘grateful’ for in the moments after her son has just killed his father?
A parallel to this moment would be that the script says that in the moment Han sees Rey is okay on Starkiller Base he is 'maybe more grateful than anyone'.
Finn is literally right there and Han is the one that is most grateful for her being okay? He's also the first person to ask if she really is okay. It doesn't mean he knows who she is but it could definitely suggest he cares deeply about her, and is of course glad that it seems his son has not succeeded in killing her and perhaps there's still hope for him to be turned back.
I'm still not convinced Han and Leia put her on Jakku at all - that seems very unlikely.
Rey’s belief that her family will ‘come back’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean they were on Jakku, especially since it’s the last place you would leave a child you cared about, it could be interpreted as a belief they will come back ‘to’ her, not come back ‘for’ her. The reason she stays can be applied to situations like when a child is told by their parent in a shopping center ‘if you get lost stay still and wait for me to find you’ because then all the parent has to do is retrace their child’s steps and they don’t have to worry about the child and themselves both moving around and missing each other. It's confirmed that Rey has no memories that could help her find her parents and so her best bet is to have hope that they still think she’s alive and that they know where she is or that there's clues they can follow to find her again. Maz notes that she can see it in Rey’s eyes she knows the 'truth'... ‘hope’ is all that is left, and Rey doesn’t truly believe they’re coming back anymore.
The ‘you feel like hes the father you never had’ really cemented the whole ‘Rey Solo’ thing for me - whats being overlooked is while neither party knows this at the time Rey is force sensitive and that throwaway comment might have a lot more weight than either Rey or Kylo or even the audience realise in the moment. Rey’s strong with the force which makes her highly perceptive if she feels like Han is her father not hours after knowing him that’s not nothing. That’s a big red flag. I feel like Kylo becomes aware of this once he comes to recognise her abilities and so (in the novelisation) he goes to sit in the pilot seat of the crashed millennium falcon, a seat only Rey and Han have recently sat in, and wonders about that ‘something’ he seems to be missing that he feels the Falcon can help him find. I feel the Falcon is explicitly linked to the Solo family and it's central throughout TFA.
The Rey Han/Leia Parallels (ft the concept art)...
Luke is attributed to paralleling Rey but in fact Rey’s childhood mirrors Hans young life in quite a comprehensive way.
While the following is 'non-canon' following the sale of Lucasfilm JJ Abrams said this on the EU’s now non-canon status:
“It wasn’t even clear what is canon in the EU. We have to try and tell the best version of a Star Wars movie. [But] I thought ‘If ideas that come up feel like they overlap and feel like they work? Great.”:
Han and Rey's childhoods:
- Abandoned around age 5
- no memory of anything before the abandonment/their parents
- left to fend completely for themselves
- leads a solitary childhood.
- watched/used for profit by MAF (manipulative authority figure) - (shrike parallels plutt)
- becomes scavenger/thief for MAF in order to survive.
- MAF works outside the law and essentially controls the environment they grow up in.
- essentially becomes MAFs property as they are paid only in food.
- daydreams of having a family on a regular basis.
- grows up wanting to be a pilot - han for the imperials/rey for the resistance
- races speeders in their childhood
- teaches themselves mechanics and piloting with little to no help
- at age 19 they run away
- they witness the murder of the only parental figure they’ve ever had
- they escape in a ship stolen from the MAF who’s monopolised their entire childhood.
- they reluctantly get swept up into a war.
- end up as the pilot of the falcon - chewie in the co-pilots seat.
Below is the concept art:
They supposedly used this early unused Luke concept art to inspire Rey’s outfit and yet Rey’s concept art looks more like the unused ROTS Han concept art.
1) The neutral colours - The thin straps wrapped haphazardly round their calves - Cream pants to just below the knee - The double belt -Short sleeved, ragged and layered - fabric wound around the lower arms. The overall effect is just very similar.
It must have been decided early on that Han was going to pass down his blaster to Rey because that in her hand in CA#1 is a BlasTech DL-44 - Han's iconic weapon from the original trilogy.
However, the blaster Rey is actually given in the film is an LPA NN-14 blaster - a slightly newer model adapted to fit a smaller hand - and since it's been on the falcon since Han lost it it's fair to infer Rey's blaster belongs to or was originally meant to be Leia's. Not really evidence but it's a nice touch.
2) The black vest is very Han Solo - the fabric gauntlets caught my eye too.
All the concept art, even the stuff from before casting was set, Rey was drawn Caucasian with dark hair.
Even when Finn's character was drawn completely different.
Overall the concept art really pushes the Rey/Han parallels in general.
That's a Han Solo belt by the way - fabric gauntlets again too.
While you can see in the above images parts of Rey's style - like the detached sleeves and 3-quarter length trousers (She still has Han's DL-44 blaster in this for some reason) It was confirmed that Rey's outfit at the end of TFA was meant to be 'Han Solo inspired' and it quite clearly is...
Then there's the above concept art, featuring Leia and Rey (dressed in another outfit that was meant to look Han Solo inspired) that takes up the entirety final two pages of the Concept Art book. It might be important to point out that some of this art was created before it was decided that the reveal of Rey's parents would not be in the movie - though I can't be sure which pieces. I know that the Leia/Rey art was done a while before filming began whereas the second outfit for Rey was created later on in filming.
All this art of her dressed as a mini Han has got to mean something.
Rey parallels Han and I would say Kylo more parallels Leia - with so much anger and yet a lot compassion too. The difference is Leia chooses to act on her compassion whereas Kylo pushes it away and acts on his frustration. Though I feel Rey also has a lot of parallels with Leia.
Rey completely has that Anakin/Leia rage simmering underneath her skin and I feel that's going to be addressed in VIII.
They just set up so many comparisons between Han and Rey in TFA. They finished each other’s sentences multiple times when they first met - even Han thought it was strange. There’s Rey’s affinity for the Falcon - the fact she seems to inherit both it and Chewie’s loyalty. The Finn/Rey 'fixing the falcon' scene was a direct reference to the 'fixing the falcon' scene in ESB with Rey in the exact same place as Han.
There’s so much Han in Rey. It all seemed like they were trying to soften the blow that’ll come which is that Rey never knew Han was her father when she knew him but they connected and understood each other so vividly. Absent fathers are sort of a theme amongst Star Wars protagonists after all.
There's just little aspects of Leia and Rey's personalities that peak through Rey's surface - not so much in the film, Daisy Ridley made a decision to make Rey as original as possible. But...
In Rey's Survival Guide she refers to people as 'laserbrains' and calls her speeder her 'baby'. Iconic Leia and Han language.
In the book 'Rey's Story' it opens with Rey using her flight simulator to fly a ship through an asteroid field using tunnels and caves to avoid TIE Fighters just like Han in ESB - the setting of Han and Leia's first kiss. She comes out of the experience and immediately begins to think of the family she lost and how much she longs to go home - wherever that is.
Impossible to know if this was knowingly done but it's worth mentioning just to cover all the bases.
Along with the big stuff it's all these little quirks and parallels that really got me.
All the parallels to Luke I could find were skin deep - they're obvious protagonist/Jedi parallels that are at least 90% of the time linked to the lightsaber. JJ admitted to having Rey parallel Luke and Anakin because it was 'familiar'. The Luke ones still make sense and are relevant if Rey's a Solo - the sheer amount of Han ones seem out of place and irrelevant to the story if she's a Skywalker through Luke.
Rey inherited the Lightsaber, but people seem to dismiss that it's also part of Leia's Legacy as a Skywalker, it belonged to Kylo, and then Rey also inherits Han's gun, Han's clothes, and a ship that is so iconically Han Solo's.
And there's this moment...
Apart from all this it's made very evident in the new, canon Princess Leia comics that Leia trained with melee weapons on Alderaan as a teenager... especially staffs...
The variant cover of #16 is actually Leia holding one such staff.
And then there's the obvious physical resemblances. Caucasian. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Similar features to the rest of the Solo family. Han's eyes in the old-canon were always described as brown. Now in the new canon they're suddenly called Hazel, like Rey's.
“Young woman to play 17-18 Years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multi-racial). Must be 16 or over.”
-original casting call for 'Rachel'
While the original casting call was open to all who fit this description, we also know 'Rachel' was used to cast multiple parts - such as Korr Sella, Jess Pava, Bazine Netal. When the casting process began all Lucasfilm knew is they wanted a female protagonist the script wasn't finished for months after the original call. Girls weren't reading the actual script and had no idea what parts they were reading for - casting crew could have been looking at specific girls for Rey's part without those girls knowing. I've had a couple of anonymous reports from other people who auditioned in which they explained their belief that the call-backs for Rey's part were more specific; that only Caucasian girls with darker colouring were getting call-backs. While I was obviously skeptical I actually have little reason to doubt these claims given that the identity of Daisy Ridley's runner up, Alice Handoll, was seemingly leaked online by a family member, and if we go off her appearance it does seem that by this point they were searching for a specific look.
But it's not like they would announce that they were after something specific - that would give the game away.
JJ Abram's could have slipped up a little at comic con when asked about diversity in Star Wars; he mentioned Finn was written race-neutral and then a moment later followed up with Rey but I think maybe he was just afraid people would read into it if he didn't mention Rey too, so its misdirection - people have asked 'But would JJ do that?' Yes, he would if it meant keeping people in the dark. And I think when they decided on a female protagonist they hadn't yet decided her parentage so it could still be true in a way.
To conclude, some of the pre-Daisy Ridley concept art has Rey looking like facemash of Han and Leia:
Foreshadowing of Rey and Kylo's intertwined futures ...
It’s my theory that perhaps Luke or Leia spoke to wise old Maz Kanata of a specific child with a sensitivity to the force that would one day match Ben’s (Even after Rey was already gone). Perhaps they, or at least Leia, had faith that Rey still lived, that they would find her again. Perhaps Luke realised that Darth Vader was turned back to the light by his love for him, his son - Luke came to believe Kylo was the key to Snoke’s downfall, and he could be defeated only by someone who Kylo could still care deeply for, that could remind him of the light.
Leia was under the impression that Luke a 'Jedi' wouldn't be able to get through to Kylo, to Ben, but Han as his 'father' could - I think, although Han died, the emotional reaction to Han/the Falcon and the amount it weakened Kylo's connection to the dark side proves she was right. I think that was foreshadowing.
It now makes even more sense to have Rey parallel Han so intensely.
After all, then the seeds have already been sown for this eventuality in TFA with the 'compassion' Kylo felt for Rey. The 'sentiment' and how it relates to the events of the OT.
Maz Kanata gives Leia the lightsaber. That kind of powerful imagery, cut or not, can't be overlooked. It was filmed, that means JJ Abrams stood there and said 'this is important to the story' at some point. I think a link was being made between Leia and that part of her heritage for a reason.
The lightsaber calls to Rey in that it shows it’s history tied into hers. Rey is part of it. 'Balance'. Anakin was supposed to be the one, but the darkness consumed him. Luke was meant to be the one, but in failing to keep the darkness from Ben Solo, and in the slaughter of his students, perhaps the darkside even tempted him, and he failed. It’s not something that can just be over and done with, it’s a ‘balance’, it was always going to be an ongoing struggle. Luke might have a achieved it but only for a little while.
When Kylo kills Han he expects to be stronger, ridding himself of one of those family ties because he believes that was Darth Vader’s weakness. Nothing precedes Kylo’s fear of being weak; it’s the first thing Rey sees in him. Snoke does in the novel accuse Kylo of having compassion for Rey and it’s directly said that Snoke sees compassion as Kylo’s weakness.
But when Kylo kills Han he only feels weaker. He beats his own wounds, using the pain to focus himself on the darkness.
Kylo calls Han ‘Weak’ and ‘Foolish’ – The resentment Kylo feels for Han was made very prominent in TFA and that can’t be for no reason, I feel it must be what Snoke exploited to turn Ben to the dark side. Making him feel that he, Ben, was ‘weak and foolish’ like his father. Given that Kylo still feels the call of the light over a decade after leaving his parents he must have been pretty hard to turn – suffering leads to the dark side so it makes sense Snoke used some sort of event that caused suffering in Ben to turn him, not unlike Palpatine used Anakin’s belief that Padme was going to die.
Kylo’s admitted inspiration, Jacen Solo, was manipulated to the dark side by the loss of his younger sibling, Anakin Solo - the death of his little brother had a truly profound effect on Jacen.
Perhaps Han and Ben might have been more involved in what happened to Rey than Leia. It's said Han was the 'family man' before it all fell apart and Leia an influential politician, so it seems Han would have been the one watching Ben and by extension Rey on a day to day basis, and was more likely to have been there when 'it' happened.
It was suggested to me in pure speculation that maybe Ben was in danger too, but Han only managed to save him and not Rey. And so, as the one who 'survived' Ben began to blame Han and himself, that he couldn't save Rey either. Snoke exploited that blame and guilt and the desire Kylo had to reconnect with relatives now dead.
It seems Snoke has been in Kylo's head pretty much his entire life. At the moment I'm not personally sure how much autonomy Kylo actually has from Snoke he seems completely emotionally dependent, with Snoke using the guise of ‘it will make you more powerful/it will free you from suffering if you do this’ to get Kylo to follow his teachings, when whats hes actually doing is getting Kylo to cause himself more pain - it's like Snoke's drawing every last bit of light he can out of Kylo.
The Skywalker Lightsaber's Journey...
Maz says, ‘The light… It will guide you. The Saber, take it.’
So we know now the lightsaber was Kylo's. Maybe Luke even thought Ben could be his successor, the one to maintain balance. Someone of Skywalker descent, with the prophecy in their blood…
'Sword' was code during principal photography.
Han's reaction of 'Where did you get that?' to Maz about the lightsaber in the novelisation makes way more sense if he knows the last person to own it was his lost son. With emotion rather than curiosity. Everything really all suggests it didn’t get handed down directly from Luke to Rey so the ‘shes more connected to it because it was Luke's and shes Luke's daughter’ argument isn’t solid. If Rey’s Kylo's little sister, and we know Kylo has no children, then its natural progression in terms of an heirloom that it should be hers next. Direct line dies out, aka Luke has no kids, and so it goes to the second born, aka Leia, and any offspring she might have.
Maybe Luke telling Ben that it was in his bloodline that he should be the one is what helped to change him, the boy wanted it so badly, to be the one to achieve it, twisted by Snoke's influence, he became someone unrecognisable. Like Anakin. ‘I will finish what you started.’ - Kylo says to Vader’s charred mask. What did Vader start? He tried to bring balance to the force by having the dark rule everything. Which is terrible logic actually, but it’s what he tried to do.
She felt a tug as it neared Kylo Ren. But she was stronger. The hilt flew into her hand.
-Rey's story book
I don’t feel like Rey has more of a claim to the lightsaber and that's why it 'chose' her. That doesn’t make much sense in context. She just happened to be 'stronger'. The lightsaber didn't choose her because shes Luke's. I hate to say it but that really is 'not how the Force works', it doesn't check your DNA for familial connections. I think the reason she could do it and he couldn’t is established in the novel: Kylo was very much weakened in this moment by killing Han, and if Rey and he are both Anakin’s grandchildren then they might be equally powerful - so with Kylo weakened to such a high degree Rey would have the upper hand. What should be remembered about the ‘it is you’ is that this is the first time Kylo has witnessed Rey use the force. I think Kylo feels something in this moment - we know he thinks he feels a connection he can’t explain to Rey through the Force so I’d be surprised if he didn’t. Pablo Hidalgo suggests that the reason Kylo said those words was because he was confirming that Rey was the awakening in the Force he had sensed earlier.
Maybe this all more points toward a sibling-sense like the connection Luke and Leia had - ‘leia. leia's my sister…’ and ‘somehow i’ve always known’ - Luke and Leia realised their connection to each other through the Force too, but for a long time they didn’t know what it meant either.
Who are Luke and Leia to Rey in TFA?
Let's talk about Leia and Rey's goodbye in the Novelisation because it was in the script but cut from TFA.
So Leia’s ‘proud’ that Rey’s going to go meet her father? No. She’s proud of Rey for choosing to train with Luke - to become a Jedi.
She openly treats Rey in a mothering way, fussing with her clothes, it’s ‘natural’ ‘right’.
The phrase ‘Unworthy of her status and position’ is so out of place in the context if you assume she means her status as a General.No. I think Leia knows she’s a good General, but she questions her ability as a mother. She's made mistakes regarding her family and now she’s sending her daughter away much like she did her son just before she lost him.
I'm also assuming language not dissimilar to this was in the earlier script the author of the novel received and that's why this scene is included.
So Rey apparently realises this and tries to comfort Leia.
Why would Leia send her daughter away so soon after they reunite? Well Leia doesn’t actually send her - Rey wants to go, they agree it’s the best decision. Also, that’s just basic story progression there’s any number of reasons Leia would send her daughter away and whatever happens the writers would find one because they need the story to progress with Rey going to train with Luke.
I would note that the two meetings, the one with Leia, and the one with Luke, are significantly different in tone and focus - with Leia it’s all comfort and warmth, motherly. With Luke the lightsaber is the central image - while there's a warmth there’s also a lot of regret and apprehension in Luke that at no point did it make me think ‘well this is obviously a man seeing his daughter again for the first time in 15 years’.
In Leia’s scenes with Rey its all very emotional, a hello and a goodbye, an embrace - ‘a mother’s embrace’ - a note from a leaked script.
JJ Abrams said this on the moment:
Then have Rey find Leia and Leia find Rey. The idea being that both of them being strong with the Force and never having met, would know about each other — that Leia would have been told about her beyond what we saw onscreen and Rey of course would have learned about Leia. And that reunion would be a meeting and a reunion all in one, and a sort of commiseration of their mutual loss.
A 'reunion' but they've never met? That's totally paradoxical and JJ knows it.
I think the loophole is Leia hasn't met 'Rey' before - how could she have done - 'Rey' is the person Jakku created she used to be someone else and it's that someone else Leia is reuniting with whilst meeting 'Rey' for the first time. And a 'mutual loss' like perhaps Han was mutually important to both of them even though Rey only knew him a day?
When Rey and Luke meet it's almost all about the Lightsaber again with Rey holding it out to Luke - because shes ready for her training and to become a Jedi. He is important to her but it doesn't seem like hes her father it more suggests to me that this is a close teacher/student relationship like the one between Obi wan and Anakin, or Obi wan and Luke.
‘In response’ to him knowing why she is here she pulls out the lightsaber. Luke may have no idea who she is. - Luke 'doesn't need to ask' because 'his look' asks for him. I think thats what the script is expressing - a silent conversation between them. Not that Luke knows who Rey is.
This is ALL about the lightsaber. It’s a ‘plea’ for him to teach her.
‘This is how it should be.’ She felt the Force coursing through her during the duel and now she knows who she is.
Take all that into account and look at the acting in these moments. This is how Luke looks at Rey and she looks at him:
He looks exactly as the Script describes: 'Tortured'. He and Rey have a job to do he knows must be done. The lightsaber is a symbol of this. He looks emotional too - like there's a connection between them - but not one of a father and a daughter.
Especially compared to the softer father/daughter connection we got between Han and Rey.
Rey and Leia, they 'instinctively' walk toward each other:
And then there's the actual embrace:
The ways Leia grabs her with the assured intensity of someone who knows the person they're embracing so completely. That's certainly how I interpreted it.
In the script Leia 'holds [Rey's] face in her hands'. She tucks her head in. I've seen a lot of people admit to thinking it was a strange moment. And then Rey just sort of seems to crumble in Leia's arms, suddenly beginning to cry. Weeping in the arms of a stranger when she wouldn't even let Finn hold her hand.
There is something so powerful about this moment.
Grief or no this first meeting is extremely intimate... and that ring... (I'll come back to the conspiracy surrounding this ring later.)
And then the way Rey looks at Leia as she leaves.
It's even possible Rey found out who she was - an Organa-Solo - before she left but the audience didn't see it. It would explain how she so suddenly understands her new place in the galaxy and why she decides so assuredly that she has to go train with Luke.
It would be interesting to see the Protagonist to drop the 'we're related' bomb on the Antagonist this time around.
For Kylo to be faced suddenly with the truth - that his sister is still alive, and the catalyst for him turning dark was unfounded, would bring together this big idea of the light and dark at odds inside Kylo. It’s more powerful for the audience to experience that reveal with him - like we did Vader’s ‘I am your father.’
The reaction of Han to Rey in contrast to the reaction of Leia can be explained easily: Mother/daughter Force bond. While we've seen that the Force doesn't tell you how someone is related to you, after all Vader didn't know Leia was his daughter despite interacting with her more than once, Leia has experience with meeting a person who seems like a stranger but is in fact closely tied to her - her brother, Luke. 'Somehow I've always known.' We see in this movie, through Han's death, that while Leia never trained as a Jedi her connection to her family members is incredibly strong; she knew the moment she couldn't feel Han anymore that he was gone. The 'instinct' that draws them to each other could be interpreted as this bond being rediscovered after years of separation.
Rey and Kylo embody the Parallel Opposites Trope...
Kylo wants to finish what Darth Vader started and balance the force using the dark side. Rey is the other side of that coin; she’s the other Skywalker descendant young enough to learn the ways of the force but who’s still untainted by the dark side. It’s been pointed out that it’s reflected even in their similarly tailored clothing, with Kylo in the dark version and Rey in the light version.
There’s also the subtle indication in the novel that Rey and Kylo are able to ‘hear’ or ‘sense’ each other’s thoughts much like Luke and Leia can - this is from before he attempts to read her mind:
There's no doubt there's a strong connection there.
A 'feeling'. A 'recognition'.
I was listening to Rebel Force Radio the other day and in Vol. 26 they pointed out that this idea is continued in the musical themes composed for the characters by John Williams: There are literally bars of Rey’s theme that when played backwards become bars of Kylo’s theme. If they are siblings it would symbolise that they’re made of the same but opposite; they were born with the exact same potential with the exact same origins but they’ve chosen opposite paths.
Everything in TFA points to a redemption for Kylo (whether we like it or not) and, because this is Star Wars, that means that Rey's got to be on board with a redemption: it makes for a more emotional final confrontation that would parallel the Obi-wan/Anakin Han/Kylo and Luke/Vader ones if they’re siblings. Star Wars is all about those emotionally heavy/tension filled/family-focused final confrontations (with cool lightsaber battle included).
The 'adversaries again' comment in the script above makes it seem like for a moment they were allies - they felt like they belonged on the same side.
An awakening? I think we're all agreed some kind of Force awakening happens because of Rey and within her. Snoke seems to suggest this awakening will test Kylo's sentimentality - he never finishes his sentence - could he had been about to mention someone else after Leia? Snoke talks of the light testing Kylo and then speaks of his family - this theme only works if Rey is a close enough relative to inspire a call from the light.
The whole sibling vs sibling thing thats… biblical, mythological. You know; Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus, King Arthur and Sir Kay. The parallels opposites trope has most notably been used for siblings in mythology. Apollo and Artemis, the Sun and the Moon, light and dark.
I figured given Star Wars’ history somewhere there had to be a story in the Bible that would resemble the one we’re getting and I think I found it.
The Jacob and Esau parallels are pretty serious, warring siblings, the theme of the impulsive elder sibling forfeiting their birthright, then it’s taken up by the younger more worthy sibling. Aka the lightsaber flying past Kylo to Rey: “It was Luke’s, and his father’s before him, and now it calls to you” – Kylo’s claim is overlooked, because that claim was Ben’s to make, and Ben is gone. Esau vows to kill Jacob for stealing his birthright despite his choice to risk it in the first place. “That belongs to me!” Unlike many of the aforementioned similar siblings in mythology they are reconciled in the end.
Spoken to Jacob and Esau’s mother:
“Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy; and one child shall be stronger than the other child; and the elder shall serve the younger."
Both children later prosper, but Jacob is renamed Israel and carries their Grandfather Abraham’s legacy; and is the leader of the faith in his elder brother's place.
Its familiar legend, it has an ancient and spiritual feel, which has always been something Star Wars has adhered to.
It would pertain to the more classical, absolute dualistic cosmological elements of mythology which would just be incredibly beautiful storytelling.
This cut shot really shows off the Yin Yang idea they have running for Rey and Kylo.
Definitely worth mentioning: John Williams’ music is always full of depth and meaning, and the Flute is very very present in Rey’s theme. Previously John Williams has attributed the use of the Flute to Leia (He assigns certain instruments to his characters sometimes) - it’s in her theme, and in Han and Leia’s theme. In fact in both Rey and Han & Leia’s themes it’s one of the first sounds you hear.
On top of that Han and Leia’s theme, the revised track released for TFA, plays in both the scenes Rey and Leia have together. During their hug the 'the princess and the scoundrel' part plays, and as Rey smiles at Leia’s ‘may the force be with you’. The first time it makes sense in part because they’re mourning Han… but the second? Well, it is the part originally associated with Leia... but it still made me ask 'Why not the Force theme?'
In the new soundtrack created by John Williams the 'Binary Sunset Chords' previously associated with Anakin, Obi Wan, and most prominently Luke, play in the moment Rey catches the saber. It seems, as it is associate with so many previous Force sensitive characters that this chord acknowledges Rey's proficiency in the Force more than anything - this chord has been added to the end of the Han and Leia TFA track - though this may be to incorporate Luke's presence when they're speaking about him.
Okay, heres something really cool I found in the TFA soundtrack.
Rey's 'Reflective Motive':
It plays most prominently when Rey’s sat eating her meal outside her AT-AT home watching that ship fly up through Jakku’s atmosphere. Kind of a mirror to the moment in Rey’s vision where a younger version of her watches the ship that abandoned her fly away - its used to reference her loneliness. ‘reflective’ could mean she’s ‘reflecting’, or it might be more literal.
Rey’s Reflective motive is literally a reflection of the Han and Leia love theme.
The structure is ultimately the same, they have the same kind of step-wise motion toward the end, but what’s interesting is the keys are the exact corresponding major and minor keys for each other. And while the Love Theme is ascending the Reflective Motive is descending. Williams literally took Han and Leia’s Theme and flipped it - creating a more wistful sound compared to the love theme which is meant to be compelling/passionate.
This reminded me of when I was informed that a section of Rey’s theme backward becomes a section Kylo’s theme - so this is a similar twist using the original music.
But what does it mean? Well Williams could just have done this to simply convey the Lack of love in Rey’s life or its a bit more complicated than that, especially since it was named the ‘reflective’ motive - and this is a little hint at who her parents are. It would be a very clever way for him to inform the audience that it is a specific set of people who have failed to be there for her (although in that case it was most likely not their choice that she was separated from them).
Han and Leia’s love theme would then be flipped to communicate a lack of their love/a lack of their presence in Rey’s life.
A Mothers Ring?
Now. What does the ring on Leia’s right ring finger mean? This tiny thing gets to me the most. All the costuming for this movie has been very deliberate, Kaplan is a very detail orientated designer…
Here me out on this: the ring is on the finger you would put a mother’s ring, it looks similar to one, it’s big, probably the only jewelry Leia wears, and was very central in the frame during Rey and Leia’s embrace.
It's the only part of her costume that never changes.
It's central in the photography of her and Han too.
This is such a small thing but actually at the same time it's so huge because there doesn't seem to be another explanation. My sister is a costume designer and she agreed - it's too big and impractical, elaborate in contrast to Leia's simple outfit so it must have emotional significance. It was obviously custom made for a reason. Could be about her and Luke, or her and Han... but everything about that just seems unnecessary. If it's not connected to this specific plot - why bother?
Moreover, there’s no information tag attached to it in the visual dictionary despite being central in both images of Leia. I can’t find any reference for it anywhere: the visual dictionary, the press releases, additional texts like the pre-tfa stories, interviews with the designers, and it's never mentioned once! It's even painted on her Funko doll? But nothing. I've been looking for answers for months now and despite how hard I try to get them anyone who could know anything has ignored my questions about it. Hidalgo is usually forthcoming but this time nothing. Why such a big statement of a ring but so much secrecy? Leia has this huge intricate ring on and no explanation, but we get a paragraph about Teedo's shoes?
It's that typical 'bypass' sort of style (reference below) that you get with mothers rings. You always have one stone for each child.
I like the way the stones are so separate, like Kylo and Rey, on different sides - then the band wraps around each stone and folds back on itself to reach toward the opposite stone. Rey and Kylo are on different sides of the equation, but its already been said Kylo feels the call of the light and Rey the call of the dark. The thing is the stones also look almost like they’re holding each other together at the same time as being very distanced. I think this is more than just a hint toward Rey Solo I think it could be a hint toward where they’re heading with the entire trilogy - that Rey and Kylo somehow have to work together to find balance for the force.
If she is Kylo’s sister, it would parallel with the ‘there is another’ part of the original trilogy (after all, they were really referencing a new hope with plotline of TFA: droid is carrying secret message - droid drags kid(s) into a war - they end up on the falcon - they blow up a spacestation, etc…)
It could reference the Jaina Solo/Jacen Solo dynamic of the Expanded Universe.
Despite it’s now non-canon status Kylo Ren is quite apparently based on the EU character Jacen Solo: a son of Han and Leia driven to the dark side because he believed it was the only path for him to take.
They had the whole EU database open to them through the guidance of people like Pablo Hidalgo - Jacen and Jaina are pretty iconic in the EU drawing on them would be a nod to hardcore fans that could still be enjoyed by more passive viewers.
Neither Jaina nor Jacen is ever truly alone. They share a connection through the Force that will always sustain them. When one grows weak, the other strengthens. When one hurts, the other soothes. It is a bond that cannot be broken by any power in the galaxy, as much a part of them as the Force itself.
This quote concerning Jaina and Jacen totally and completely sounds to me like exactly what could have been going on between Rey and Kylo in TFA.
Jaina Solo belonged primarily to the light side of the force, though she briefly flirted with the dark, and was first and foremost a mechanic and pilot who idolised her father, Han Solo, despite being separated from both her parents at a young age. She grew up inspired by the rebel pilots (same as Rey - judging by the memorabilia in her home) and trained to become a Rogue Squadron Pilot as well as a Jedi. A story similar to Rey’s in many respects.
Then there’s Ania Solo - a descendant of Han and Leia’s from the Legacy comics. She works in a Junk Yard. She finds a lightsaber and it changes her life. Her best friend is an imperial defector with the death penalty hanging over him - much like Finn. Kylo's early designs look eerily similar to Darth Wredd - Ania's nemesis. There’s parallels for yards.
Look how much the following conversation matches the one between Maz and Rey.
I also want to revisit Anakin Solo - the youngest Solo child who was killed off in the EU despite numerous protests by both writers and readers. Pablo Hidalgo himself was more recently involved in discussions over whose decision it was to kill off Anakin and why. There was a number of tweets back in April 2013 made about Anakin Solo that read:
@nancipantsthe note says “Change person who is responsible for ultimately saving the day to Jacen – not Anakin”
@nancipants circled specifically in the outline is a mention that Anakin Solo “that he is the prophesied one”
— Pablo Hidalgo
The context being that it was switched so that Jacen was the one to be the fallen hero, because Lucas was too worried that Anakin would be too much like his namesake and that was unacceptable. Instead Anakin became the new messiah that died too young.
I don't know why but as far as I kind find this tweet and those related have since been deleted, they're only preserved on a Star Wars mythbusting webpage. These tweets were made during the early script-writing stages before Arndt exited the project and JJ Abrams took over.
It was always assumed Anakin Solo would be resurrected but that never happened... maybe its happening now, in a way.
He was Luke's protege, like they're setting up Rey to be - completely remarkable even for a child with Skywalker blood, he had a strong bond to the Force matched by neither his older siblings or his cousin Ben Skywalker.
His birth was prophesied 1000 years previous, paralleling the importance of Rey as this 'awakening in the Force'. Maz, who is connected to the Force, realises Rey as important as soon as the girl touches the saber. Perhaps there's even a prophesy woven into this trilogy we don't know about yet.
Despite his power Anakin recoiled from the dark side, like Rey does in TFA; Leia had feared his fall like she seems to fear Rey's and felt that she had placed a burden on him regarding his power and in naming him for his grandfather. She named Anakin with the specific intent to try and redeem the name of her father and help keep the memory of who he could have been alive, hoping her son would help her remember the potential for good young Anakin Skywalker once had. He was originally going to be called 'Han' but Leia decided differently, despite this he still had a strong bond with his father and was attributed to being very alike Han and seeing things like his father did - which could play into the way Rey and Han finished each others sentences and the suchlike. In early drafts of TFA it was suggested that Anakin Skywalker would appear to Rey much like he used to appear to his grandson Anakin Solo in the EU.
He was the subject of numerous kidnapping attempts - some successful and some not.
Rey is a gifted mechanic, seemingly having an innate sense of how machinery fits together and functions.
He was perhaps even more talented than Jaina Solo when it came to piloting and engineering, possessing an ability to work/repair machines he had no prior knowledge of or even an understand of what they were or did.
It was expected that Anakin would be the one to take up Luke's legacy as Jedi Grand Master but he died at 17 years old before that could happen. He and his brother Jacen were Luke's padawan learners and Jacen was close by when his brother died. If Rey is a Solo then it makes sense that Kylo would be affected by her loss much like Jacen Solo was affected by the loss of Anakin, which is what turned him to the dark side.
Anakin's lightsaber was considered sacred by Luke who, leaving the saber in its final resting place after it had been passed from person to person and used to kill many in the Yuuzhan Vong war, said that only the virtuous would be able to wield it, which is what might have been suggested in TFA with the Skywalker Lightsaber.
One of the first missions Anakin Solo was instrumental in (even before his Jedi training) was stopping Centerpoint Station - the EU weapon Starkiller base seems to based off.
Is Rey being based off a bunch of Solos? Maybe it’s all circumstantial… but for it to be that circumstantial is pushing it, in fact I think it’d be absurd if this is all an accident.
Luke doesn't have to be a father to be important.
The amount of backstory detail they’d have to go into to explain Luke having a kid and with who would be astronomical seeing especially as there's no mention of a love interest in the new canon - that’s a lot of screentime considering they were originally going to focus less on Rey in Episode 8. They'd have to establish so much: A mother, a relationship between Luke and her, a relationship between Luke and Rey, all while showing Rey's training and other perspectives from other characters all pushing the story toward episode 9.
Whereas with Han and Leia you've already got Rey's somewhat established relationships with them, a very established relationship between Rey's parents, a tragic storyline you'd just need to slot Rey into, a close tie to the protagonist so you can tell their past's simultaneously, and you can focus on moving the plot forward a lot more.
There was little to no groundwork laid such as a mention of Luke having a wife or family of his own, not even an allusion to it. There was no need to linger so much on the Solo family. If this was a story about Luke's role as a father instead of being about him as a teacher and legend they would have shown that side of him, or rather the potential for it.
I believe that Rey is being called to Luke, drawn to him. They’re connected, but not as a daughter is to father, but as a student is to a teacher. The way Obi Wan was to Luke, guiding him even after his death. Luke and Rey, they were meant to meet. Rey saw this future, an island in the wide, blue sea, because it was the future she was always meant to find, the prophecy she’s meant to fulfill; it’s where she would train as a Jedi under Luke. It wouldn't be the first time a Skywalker saw their future.
The sentence from Leia stating that 'Luke is a Jedi, you're his father' felt to me like it was communicating that Luke, first and foremost, is a Jedi, not a father, unlike Han.
Then there’s a seriously Key question that needs to be asked: What should this story mean to Luke? The question raised to JJ that made him do the movie was “Who is Luke Skywalker?” Where would this character be, and what difficulties might they face 30 years on? Luke is a Jedi and a good person, but the reality is that in TFA Luke is also guilty. Luke feels responsible for what happened to Ben - Han confirmed that. Kylo might need redemption but so does Luke. He failed as a teacher and while Kylo wasn’t directly his fault as far as we know, he still had a responsibility to Ben as his guardian, and to Han and Leia, to keep him safe. Rey being Luke’s daughter and being sent to stop Kylo wouldn’t further Luke’s current story as well as if she was Ben’s sister. If she’s Luke’s, where’s his redemption going to come from? But if Rey’s a Solo, and Luke’s able to train Leia and Han’s second child to the side of the light, and she succeeds in triggering Kylo’s redemption, then Luke himself is redeemed and the story concludes neatly. Luke is important as Rey and Kylo’s teacher/Leia is important as their mother - the parallels between Rey and Kylo continue.
Did Rey hear Han's voice during her vision?
The main point against it not being her family who left her themselves is in the Novelisation. Rey hears a voice telling her they'll 'come back' for her.
There’s actually nothing at all to suggest that was said to her by the person who left her with Unkar Plutt that’s just an assumption people have made - it may not have been said to her on Jakku at all.
I would say that 'Sweetheart’ is definitely part of Han Solo’s vocabulary. He must have used it for Leia numerous times - sometimes in sardonic manner, but still, in Star Wars ‘Sweetheart’ is Han Solo’s. Given it's in the novel that would usually mean it was in the script way back when - so maybe it was in the very early pre-principal photography script from before the reveal of Rey's parents was cut. Han was meant to be present and have a very emotional reaction to the vision originally.
'That voice’ definitely suggests a voice she recognises... but supposedly Rey can’t remember anything prior to Jakku. It could have been said to her at any point prior to Jakku – this could possibly be a link to Han’s ‘important decision’ . Rey's Story makes it clear that Rey knows in the moment that what she's seeing is not real. So then the way Rey reacts to what she describes as ‘That voice’, with an ‘I’m here! Right here! Where are you?’ is interesting. She recognises the voice and seems to believe it’s very plausible that the person she’s hearing is nearby and actually saying this – that it’s not a memory – that they’re real and she can interact with them. She could just believe Han is speaking to her in real life on Takodana.
It’s also true that she hears the voice whilst she’s foreseeing running through the same snowy forest from the end of the film where shes fighting Kylo after Han has just died.
This Conversation that was cut from TFA is interesting...
'Important decision' and 'meaningful bonds'? What decision did Han Solo make? 'bonds' (plural) 'yet to come' - why is Maz talking so cryptically we already know Kylo Ren is Han's son at this point?
It's expressed that Han has known Maz a long time and bonds could definitely suggest multiple children due to the plural nature of the comment and what bonds could be more 'meaningful' than his bond to Leia - very possibly the bonds he has with their children. But Leia could also be one of these 'meaningful bonds' so some would argue it could mean just her and Ben. The real question is why doesn't Maz just say it outright if it's something we already know about? There's something off about this exchange.
All I'm sure of is that it definitely suggests a critical decision he made involving his family.
Maybe his 'important decision' is the decision he made to leave Rey, circumstances unknown, and however briefly he planned to do it.
There's so much mystery around what happened between Han and Leia. There's these hints toward Han having made a decision that changed the course of his entire life... maybe Han did fail his family in some way? It seems pretty clear Maz is saying, since she's trying to get him to go home to Leia, that 'what' he left behind was his family.
Maybe this has EVERYTHING to do with why Rey ended up on Jakku - because in movies it's always, always all connected in the end. Everything about the above quote about who Han Solo deserted and the apparently terrible decision he made is pretty unnecessarily enigmatic if Rey isn't his daughter because isn't the focus of this entire film, this entire trilogy, 'Who is Rey?'
Another thing is that this whole trilogy is about is the balance of dark and light in each and every character - nothing about this is black and white is all about the grey. E.g: Even if Maz knows that Leia doesn’t blame Han that doesn’t mean Han doesn’t think Leia’s better off without him. Han could love his family more than anything and still be the cause of it falling apart. Maybe he did it for the right reasons? In my opinion he must have been trying to protect Rey when it all went south.
Then there's Maz saying shes lived long enough to see ‘same eyes in different people’ to Finn - telling him he has the ‘eyes of a man who wants to run’. I think everyone sort of thought ‘Luke?’ at this - but maybe this is another subtle jab at Han after all we don’t even know if she ever met Luke. It could be unconnected and meant to highlight Finn's change of heart but the fact it was put in that she's seen those kind of eyes before makes me think there must have been someone important to this story who ran.
It’s hinted at constantly that Leia and Han are trying to avoid some sort of specific argument - I assumed this was an argument over Kylo in some way like the fact Han doesn’t believe he could be redeemed but Leia does… but they had that discussion and …no argument at all. What could cause such a big argument if not that?
So... Han wants to say something but hes afraid of starting an argument and he doesn’t want to end on that note since hes not sure hes going to survive. Maybe this refers to the circumstances surrounding what happened to Rey?
We know Rey's family where supposed to be revealed in TFA but this was switched later on and JJ Abrams decided to do something a little more 'dangerous' killing off Han and keeping Rey's origins a secret. In this case given what we did get in TFA is seems likely Rey is a Solo since the film orbits around this one family. Luke was only to have that one scene very early on, since they thought he would overshadow Rey and Han and their dynamic, so it seems unlikely they could have dealt with Rey being his daughter in a satisfactory way with only one short scene - whereas Rey has a personal connection to Han throughout the film.
The Lightsaber in the Snow
Okay, here’s where it gets even more theoretical, but at the same time there’s actually a hell of a lot of parallels so I'm going to say it anyway…
Rey means King. This has been pointed out again, and again, but why they might have chosen that name is something I have seen no one come up with a solid answer for. Growing up a lot of us might have seen the Disney adaption of the Legends of Arthur, The Sword in the Stone (This may seem completely unrelated but bear with me!) Arthur was a boy born into royalty, the heir, but in an attempt by his family to protect him he was removed as a child from them by the Wizard Merlin and put into hiding. He was then raised as a Bastard. Then the King, Arthur’s father, died and the Lords began to quarrel over who would rule. Merlin was called upon to determine a rightful heir, and so, knowing that Arthur was safe, Merlin erected a stone and in that stone he put a sword. The inscription on the stone read: “Whoso pulleth out this sword from this stone, is right wise born King of all England.” No one could lift the sword and so it became forgotten, and England fell to ruin. Then one day Arthur was called to the sword. His older brother, Kay, tried first to draw it from the stone, but he failed. Arthur tried, lifted the sword, and was crowned King.
The point is that what I’ve come to recognise is that his story parallels Rey’s to almost intricate detail. She was removed from her family by a mysterious figure, she spends her life as a minority, then she is then removed from that life, called to the lightsaber (which just happens to resemble the sword) and pulls it from the snow (stone) when Kylo (Kay) couldn’t. Plus, Kylo is a ‘Knight’ like Sir Kay was a Knight. Kay was resentful of his brother like Kylo resents those who have the lightsaber he deems to be his. If Kylo is Kay and Rey is (King) Arthur that would make Luke Merlin; he was King Arthur’s teacher, guardian and closest advisor. For Rey the inscription would be more like: “Whoso is called to this lightsaber, is right wise born heir to the legacy of the Jedi.” If you catch my slightly over-dramatic gist.
This might all seem a stretch but it’s not at all.
Mark Hamill said this on the subject: "[George Lucas] said once would I consider playing an Obi-Wan [Kenobi] type character handing Excalibur down to the next generation. At the time I said, ‘When would that be?’ and he said, ‘Oh, around 2011.’"
There is more than one occasion in which Lucas has described the Lightsaber as ‘Excalibur’ - The sword presented to King Arthur by the Lady of the Lake. JJ and Kasdan might have chosen to take this concept in more literal direction.
- Rey = King Arthur
- Luke = Merlin
- Kylo Ren = Sir Kay
- Then Maz has got to be = The Lady of the Lake.
In fact Maz parallels the Lady of the Lake in quite a few ways. I made a list:
- Ancient - Mentions that she has seen the rise and fall of many regimes.
- Shared magical (or in this case, Force) knowledge with Merlin (Luke).
- Has the power to see ‘beyond’ – Kanata actually means ‘beyond’ in Japanese I think.
- Lives in a Castle by a Lake - Maz’s castle on the lake parallels ‘Avalon’ completely.
- In the depths of their home there lies a powerful sword/lightsaber.
If it was Ben's then after he had created his own lightsaber, as Luke did his green one, it would have been Rey's to train with. The Skywalker lightsaber - the lightsaber all the Skywalkers have trained with.
All this would explain why ‘Rey’ and why the Lightsaber is so central to the story. Why it matters so much to Kylo. Why that was the last image we were left with: Rey holding it out to Luke because she’s ready to be a Jedi (a King). Kylo Ren and Rey are literally the Knight and the King. Brothers at odds… or in this case a brother and a sister.
Ultimately, the dynamic of a war between the New Order and the Resistance defined by a Brother/Sister Dark/Light relationship would be a lot more compelling, a lot more true to the way Star Wars has always been, and make a lot more sense than them being cousins, or strangers.
- Adam Driver stated ‘siblings and parents and betrayal and trust' as central themes.
- Carrie Fisher’s chosen one word description of the film at the EPC was ‘family’.
- Daisy Ridley said in an interview with the French press ‘these themes will continue to be around, the battle in life is between good and evil, it’s always going to be here. Familial problems are always going to be here. To be in a film that is 30 years after the Jedi (rotj) and is kind of talking about the same things but applying to now is exciting - those things will continue.’
It would be very emotionally powerful - Rey knowing that Kylo did not only kill his own father, but hers as well, and utterly destroyed the family she’d longed to be reunited with. The death of a father she idolised driving her like it did Luke. Kylo being terrified that Rey will be the one to bring balance to the force, and everything he has sacrificed, killing his father, betraying his family, will mean nothing. Obi Wan screamed to Anakin, that same lightsaber in his grasp, that he was supposed to be ‘the chosen one’; now Anakin’s two grandchildren are both going to try to fulfill that legacy.
Theres a quote taken from the Journal of the Whills written in 1973 (the short text that after 4 years was developed into the script for A New Hope) they put at the beginning of the TFA novel:
“First comes the day, Then comes the night, After the darkness, Shines through the light, The difference they say, Is only made right. By the resolving of Grey, Through refined Jedi sight.”
Look at it like this:
Luke = day.
Snoke = night.
Kylo = darkness.
Rey = light.
Balance = Grey.
This makes sense with the imagery of the original first scene - the lightsaber falling through space to land in the earth as the sky turns from night to day.
The whole point was to bring ‘balance’ to the force, to find the middle between the light and the dark. The grey. Maybe that’s something that can’t be done alone? I think, and I hope, because it would make a great story, that’s what they still have to realise; Rey and Kylo have to do it together.
This is the kicker...
Like I said, the question asked that got JJ to do TFA is ‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’ and I think what we’re looking at is ‘Who Luke Skywalker could of been’. What if Luke had joined the dark side? Then Leia would have really been the last hope. We never got to see that explored so what they’re doing is recreating that scenario with Leia's children.
George Lucas originally wanted ROTJ to end with Luke taking up the mantle of Darth Vader and then Episodes VII, VIII and IX would be about his sister's quest to redeem him, and then he changed his mind. That's why the 'there is another' bomb that was dropped never made a whole lot of sense, because there was a plan but it was scrapped. Maybe we're finally getting a re-envisioned version of that. Disney supposedly refused to use Lucas' new idea, aka taking the franchise away from the planets and characters we know and love in favour of a whole new story, but maybe there was a creative compromise wherein they used his old ones which were much less volatile and a lot more popular. Kasdan supported it completely, he wrote the lead up to those old ideas after all, he planned to write the story of the younger sister. until Lucas pulled the rug out from under him. That story's been in Kasdan's head since the 80s.
JJ mentions the first thing he and Kasdan decided on was the 'who' the story was going to be about. That once they had that they could 'incorporate ideas' they'd 'been desperate to see for so long.'
The first word's of TFA, spoken by Lor San Tekka, are actually 'This should begin to make thing's right.' The first line of a screenplay is the perfect way to introduce an important idea that foreshadows a running theme - they’re never chosen at random. Interpret that how you like.
The main driving force behind these films now is Kathleen Kennedy - someone Lucas put in place to protect the Star Wars franchise from too much of Disney's interference, just in case. She, more than anyone, makes me think this is exactly the direction Lucasfilm would set the franchise to go in. She talks about doing all of this with her daughters in mind - which makes me think maybe Star Wars might focus on mothers and daughters more this time round. She talks about women being front and center at Lucasfilm - 4 out of the 6 in the executive team are women, and she says 'it definitely changes the conversation in the room... because it's coming from a different point of view.'
Lucas discussed in a interview how he'd talked to Kennedy about carrying his treatments of VII, VIII, and IX into another trilogy - Kennedy then pipes up to begin talking about how she's sat down with some writers to decide on where it was best to take this new story. She refers to Lucas as her 'guardian angel', and was keen to keep the story within what she refers to as Lucas' rules. She would have fought Lucas' corner.
"Rey's loneliness is a key to her origin" So... she's Solo?
When Daisy Ridley described Rey as 'solitary' during a interview Kathleen Kennedy had to stifle a laugh and, almost as if realising her slip-up, Daisy Ridley bit back a smile. I personally feel this moment was too genuine to have been planned as misdirection, but then again Daisy is an actress and Rey Solo was misdirection pre-TFA to keep people away from Ben Solo so the idea of this being misdirection doesn't faze me.
JJ Abrams talked at the Power of Storytelling Panel saying he felt a need to 'honour what we've inherited, this brilliant world that George created, and do something that is new while at the same time adhering to something that feels in our gut distinctly hopeful...'
“Hope makes people good, a lot of the time. You hope for a brighter future, and resentment is outweighed.” - Daisy Ridley.
So here we'd have the same premise: an older brother and younger sister, just like Leia and Luke, but Leia's children.
The last trilogy was Luke's, and now, in a way, while Luke is still central, even omniscient in a way, this is Leia's. I think they know the 'there is another' idea wasn’t addressed in a fully satisfying way in the Originals because it was a last minute decision - and this would be the perfect way to tell a new story that also strengthens the old one. The 'there is another' thing becomes important but a generation later.
I take you back to Daisy Ridley's quote: 'To be in a film that is 30 years after the Jedi (rotj) and is kind of talking about the same things but applying to now is exciting - those things will continue.’
'talking about the same things... but applying to now'
And then a part of Rey’s theme backward is even the notes from when Luke takes off Vader’s helmet in ROTJ… like something about Rey specifically links back to that moment. If Lucas had his original way that moment in which Vader speaks with Luke a final time was when Luke would have turned and Leia would have become the 'only hope'.
The TFA script either states in the last moments of the film that either Rey becoming a Jedi is ‘the galaxy’s only hope’, or that Luke's return is 'the galaxy's only hope'. The importance of this might be that Rey is the ONLY one now; just as Leia would have been if Luke had turned in ROTJ. Luke even tells Leia before he leaves 'If I don't make it back you're the only hope for the Alliance.' Kylo didn't and so Rey is the only hope for the Resistance.
And then of course this relates to Luke too - this is a throwback to the OT and 'Help me Obi-wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.'
So... again this marks Luke out as a the Obi-wan type character and Rey out as the Leia type. That framing of Luke's back, his identity being uncertain, and then the throwing off of the hood all seemed a deliberate mirror of the scene in A New Hope when Ben Kenobi is introduced and throws off his hood in the exact same way.
Daisy Ridley is constantly describing Rey as ‘hopeful’, it's her favourite adjective to use for her, and I think that's for good reason.
The misconception is that Kylo is the Vader of this trilogy but hes not, he wants to be like Vader but really hes more like an anti-Luke or a dark-Luke.
These kids are the next generation; they're 'Skywalker Force Siblings 2.0' except this time something went really wrong.
A book, Bloodline, coming out in-between these two movies is about Leia and it has Vader on the front which really suggests to me this idea of Leia's relationship with him as a point of importance and something Lucasfilm will be addressing in the new trilogy as all the other books coming out right now are to do with the films. Leia didn't get closure like Luke. The man who tormented her turned out to be her father. The concept art suggests Anakin could appear to Rey and Vader to Kylo which would signify that split in Leia's understanding of who her father was - who Luke told her he was and the man she knew. That conflict. That is the more interesting point of exploration, a way to reference the original trilogy and the prequels both and bring them into this new story.
Han's death is almost blinding in a way and it hurts that someone who'd do such a thing should be forgiven - but it should be remembered this is what Han wanted, this is what he died for.
The redemption of his son and the reconciliation of his family would be the legacy Han deserves. This is a story and it’s all about what it demonstrates - the old Jedi order were so afraid of the dark side they forbade young Jedi from exploring it at all and in the end it cost them everything. Luke looks to have made this mistake all over again with Ben. Kylo feeling the call of the light and Rey the call of the dark and the quote at the start of the TFA novelisation ‘resolving of gray, through refined Jedi sight’ is all about the Jedi evolving and learning that to simply fear the dark is not good enough they have to understand it.
For a millennium they were waiting for some special person to turn up, do all the work for them, and bring balance to the Force. They didn’t even bother to try finding that middle ground between the dark and light themselves. Rey and Kylo represent the two different ends of the spectrum - dark and light - if Kylo dies/isn’t redeemed it doesn’t represent that balance unless Rey dies/stays the same too, which wouldn’t make any sense. Rey and Kylo need to end not necessarily as friends, but as allies, equals, because then they are the ‘gray’ - that balance the Jedi waited so long for.
Congratulations - you made it to the end. Whatever happens, I hope you enjoy episode VIII!