WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Rian Johnson explains Rey and Kylo Ren’s Force connection in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. The filmmaker’s sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens earned rave reviews from critics when it hit theaters last week. It’s already earning hefty sums at the global box office, as well, grossing more than $450 million worldwide during its opening weekend. However, audiences have been somewhat mixed on The Last Jedi, particularly disagreeing with how it turns the tables on established Star Wars lore.
A chief complaint with the film has been the movie’s use of new Force powers. In one major instance, Leia Organa was able to survive not only the destruction of the Raddus’ bridge but also being in the cold vacuum of space. What’s more, she used her never-before-seen Force powers to pull herself back towards the ship. It’s a moment that’s being compared to scenes in Mary Poppins and Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s not the only controversial Force power. In the film, Rey and Kylo both communicate through the Force (thanks to some help from Snoke), as if they were talking to each other face-to-face. That differed from past films in which Force users could sense each others’ feelings, but not have a full-fledged conversation.
In an interivew with the LA Times, The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson explained why they decided to have Rey and Kylo communicate through the Force instead of actually meeting in-person.
“It was always through the demands of the story. With the Force connections between Rey and Kylo I thought, ‘OK, I need to get these two talking. But if I put them face to face they’re going to either fight, or one of them has to be tied up.’ So I knew I wanted them to talk, and to talk enough to where we could go from ‘I hate you,’ to her being forced to actually engage with him. That’s where the idea of these ‘Force connections’ came from, which is kind of a new thing. It’s a little bit of a riff on what happens with Vader and Luke at the end of ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ but it’s entirely new in some regards.”
Of course, the amount of new Force powers in The Last Jedi has stirred a new debate amongst Star Wars fans. As with the general audience reactions, some people are praising Johnson’s use of new powers, while others are condemning his supposed bastardization of the Force. Whether these new powers continue in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX remains to be seen, but what is clear is Rey’s so-called connection to Kylo.
At the end of The Last Jedi, Rey (literally) closes the door on her connection with Kylo and is, thus, presumably letting go of her pipe dream to turn Kylo back into Ben Solo, to redeem him from the dark side of the Force. Interestingly, though, Johnson still believes that, despite committing patricide and assuming command of the First Order, Kylo Ren can still be redeemed. Even if that does happen, Rey may not be helping him do that via the Force in Episode IX. Or maybe she will, we’ll just have to wait and see.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Solo: A Star Wars Story release date: May 25, 2018
Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX release date: Dec 20, 2019