ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

As the Star Wars' new hero, Rey is ready to fight her way into the annals of movie history, smashing more than a few stereotypes along the way. Although many people are trying to solve the mystery of Rey's past and parentage, her journey forwards really is the most important part of her story. After all, that's what Maz Kanata told Rey, urging her to use her strength in the Force.

Rey's discovery of her latent abilities is the driving force of Star Wars 7, and we share her victory as she is able to live for herself rather than constantly looking over her shoulder. Star Wars 8 already seems primed to focus on Rey's journey, but will her path lead towards the Light Side, or the Dark? Although Rey is clearly our hero, she has already been tempted by the Dark Side...

The Temptation To Kill

Rey's final lightsaber battle with Kylo Ren was one of the highlights of the film, and Rey's fury, fear, and grief was palpable.

Having just watched Kylo Ren kill Han Solo, the father figure she'd always wanted, and brutally wound Finn, it's understandable that Rey felt a lot of anger towards Ren. According to the official canon novel, Rey's "ferocity" was a key factor in how she matched Kylo Ren in battle. And her fury nearly overcame her...

"Kill him, a voice inside her head said. It was amorphous, unidentifiable, raw. Pure vengeful emotion. So easy, she told herself. So quick.
She recoiled from it. From the Dark Side."

This is very interesting, that Rey would be tempted by the Dark Side so early on in her discovery of the Force. It makes sense though: as the book Before The Awakening revealed Rey has been fighting to survive her whole life, and there must have been other times when she was tempted to kill someone in battle.

So what does this mean for the Episode 8 story? Will Rey be tempted by the Dark Side again? Kylo Ren seems intent on persuading her to join his side, and there are actually some interesting implications of Rey leaning away from the Light.

The Dark, The Light, And True Balance

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Rey's journey in discovering the Force. Yes, she could train with Luke Skywalker and follow the Jedi path. But while this would solidify Rey's role as the saga's new hero, we have seen this journey before in the original trilogy. So what if we see something different?

The interesting thing about how Rey was tempted by the Dark Side in The Force Awakens, is that it wasn't actually Kylo Ren who persuaded her. Instead, it was her rage and impulse which tempted her to kill him. This lines up with what Yoda tells us in The Empire Strikes Back: that fear and hate lead to the Dark Side.

And yet, aside from vague hints from Yoda and Obi Wan, we don't actually know what the Dark Side is. Is it a manifestation of emotions like rage and despair? Or is it just a metaphor for succumbing to those emotions? The Light Side is similarly vague. The old Jedi Order harnessed the Force through meditation, and advocated emotional detachment in order to avoid the Dark Side. But it's definitely up for debate as to whether this method was the best choice. After all, it was the rule against romantic relationships which facilitated Anakin Skywalker's fall to the Dark Side. Whatever that is.

The different elements of the Force definitely need to be explored further, and Rey's story might be the perfect opportunity to do this.

Rey: A Gray Jedi?

Bear with me, because I'm going to reference the Expanded Universe. Although it isn't canon any more, the EU did come up with some interesting ideas when exploring the notion of the Force.

The Gray Jedi were those who became disillusioned with the Jedi Council's rules, and decided to follow their own path. They advocated balance above all else, and harnessed their emotions rather than repressing them.

So, back to Rey. She's already been tempted by the Dark Side, and now Luke Skywalker will train her in the ways of the Jedi (we assume). But it's possible that her story could go beyond these confinements - that the filmmakers could use this opportunity to explore and develop the different sides of the Force, as well as the idea of true balance. Of course, we still don't know what changes Luke made to the original Jedi Order, if any, when forming his own.

It would definitely be interesting to see Rey learn about the different sides of the Force, and then choose her own path which challenges our notions of what the Force is. Seeing her dabble in the Dark Side would definitely be intriguing, though I'm not suggesting she join Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke.

Ultimately, Rey has to decide her path for herself. And personally, I'm hoping that Rey's discovery of the Force makes full use of the potential plots, showing her temptation towards the Dark Side and exploring the idea of true balance.

[Header fanart source.]


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