On this podcast, part of our Star Wars series, we explore the concept of REYLO. Listen here:
Love it or hate it… REYLO (the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren) matters to Star Wars.
But why? Shannon McCarter from Network 1901 joins Daryl and Jay to dig deeper into REYLO! What is it? How does it matter to Star Wars? What will it mean as it pertains to The Jedi Killer’s potential redemption or deeper dive into the dark side? And how will Rey influence not only Kylo Ren, but the universe at large?
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Ashley’s Take: REYLO
What do you think about the rise of Reylo?
Originally, it never occurred to me to ship Rey and Kylo Ren, because right after “The Force Awakens” came out, I thought maybe they were cousins, and Rey was actually Luke’s long-lost daughter. (I’m REALLY glad Disney didn’t go that direction, though; the dynamic we got in “The Last Jedi” was way more interesting). The rise of “shipping” within geek culture is a really interesting phenomenon, and I think that, for the most part, it’s harmless fun. People form an emotional connection to the characters in their favorite franchises, and so it’s probably natural that fans then want these characters to form connections with each other. Rian Johnson is definitely a Reylo shipper 😉 but it remains to be seen if J.J. Abrams feels the same way and how he will wrap things up in Episode IX. I rewatched “The Force Awakens” after seeing “The Last Jedi,” and I did see some possible Reylo hints that I hadn’t picked up on before. There’s definitely an interesting connection between the characters, and I’m curious to see how Abrams will play on everything that happened in “The Last Jedi.”
What in “The Last Jedi” contributes to this subculture of Reylo? What specifically happens between these characters that causes people to link them together in this way?
There’s definitely chemistry between the actors playing Rey and Kylo, and I think Rian Johnson emphasises that in the film. Especially that moment on Ahch-To where Rey and Kylo touch hands through the Force…there’s totally something going on there. 😉 Although at first it seems a little surprising that these two characters would make a connection, if you dig deeper it really isn’t. Both are lonely, damaged people with family issues and a driving need to belong. Rey has spent so much of her life waiting alone on Jakku for a family that will never come back for her, and now she has these Force powers that she doesn’t fully understand and that seem to terrify Luke, who refuses to be the mentor she hoped for. Kylo has been tortured and warped by Snoke and has no one left in the galaxy who really cares about him, except for his mother who still grieves for him but assumes he’s completely lost. Rey and Kylo’s “Force Skype” sessions allow them to share that pain, and in each other they see a person who can maybe save them from their pain…although Kylo assumes Rey will join him on the dark side and Rey assumes Kylo will join her on the light. Reylo is an opportunity to portray a tragic romance (or friendship, or whatever it is) that’s relevant to the story in a much better way than Anakin and Padmé’s frequently cringey relationship in the prequels. (Let’s NOT talk about sand.)
Some have derided Reylo as an abusive relationship. What about the relationship makes it abusive?
Kylo Ren is, I think, a heartbreaking example of an abused person continuing the cycle of abuse. He’s so broken that he’s lost the ability to relate to another person in a healthy way. He’s desperate for Rey to join him so that he won’t be alone and empty anymore, but he doesn’t even know how build a real relationship with her. Just as Snoke abused and manipulated him, he tries to manipulate Rey into needing him. “You’re nothing…but not to me.” Rey feels compassion and grief for Kylo, but she 100 percent makes the right call by refusing to join him, even after he delivers the most gut-wrenching “please” I’ve ever heard on screen. If she joined him now, he’d just drag her down with him. By walking away, she’s setting important boundaries and showing Kylo that he can’t treat her like Snoke treated him. It’s not her responsibility to save him; Kylo has to decide on his own that he needs to change and be a better person.
What is the ideal end game for Kylo Ren and Rey, and how should that play out in Episode IX?
Yes, I’ll confess that I am a Reylo shipper, but I actually don’t fully know how I want that to play out in Episode IX. I really like this sequel trilogy’s theme of balance and letting go of the past, and I think Rey and Kylo’s relationship is key to that, whether it’s romantic in nature or not. I like the idea of them working together and finding some kind of new balance in the Force, beyond what the Jedi Order was in the prequel trilogy. That’s why I don’t want Rey to just “reboot” the old Jedi Order and turn it into a de facto army for whatever new government the Resistance sets up after defeating the First Order. I like the idea of Rey and any other potential new Jedi becoming impartial guardians of truth and justice who keep the galaxy accountable. As much as I want Kylo to be redeemed (and I really do think they’re going for a redemption arc here), he needs to face some consequences for his actions. He can’t just come back to the Resistance and be like, “My bad, guys, I’m totally not evil now!” I don’t necessarily want him to die self-sacrificially, because we’ve already seen that in Darth Vader’s story arc. I kind of like the idea of Kylo exiling himself, choosing to step back from the galactic stage and going on a quest to “rediscover himself in the Force,” or something like that. Maybe Rey would join him on this quest, and they can travel across the galaxy learning new Force powers and studying new philosophies.