I always had a sneaking suspicion that Kylo Ren was Han and Leia’s son, most probably Jacen Solo as in the original Expanded Universe. He has so much in common with Jacen that the connection was obvious – he’s taught by Luke to be a Jedi, then gets seduced by the Dark Side of the Force, becomes a Sith and tries to take over the galaxy. However, when Han calls him “Ben”, I was a little taken aback at first, but then it started to make sense to me. The Original Expanded Universe was made non-canon so that the people working on the new movies could be afforded more creative freedom instead of being forced to follow a set storyline. Things would get a little too predictable in the movies otherwise and the surprise element would just be non-existent for people who have dabbled in the Expanded Universe. However, the crew clearly didn’t discard the EU storylines because Ben Solo is essentially Jacen, albeit with a different name and naming him “Ben” is a nice nod to Luke and Mara Jade’s son’s name in the EU – Ben Skywalker.
At first, Kylo Ren looks really experienced and powerful, but the sad truth is that he has been peacocking all this time. He has intimidated all the people around him by raging out on innocent monitors with his lightsaber, but when he does get into a duel with Rey, he’s revealed to be totally average. He probably became a Sith before he finished his training with Luke and so, he’s still lacking in knowledge. Also, after he wiped out the Jedi Temple, for a few years, he didn’t really have anyone to duel with. Snoke is most probably using him as a pawn because he didn’t bother to finish his training and so not only has Kylo Ren been stagnating at the same skill level for quite some time, but he’s also very rusty. I mean, you can see that in his duel with Rey, someone who’s using a lightsaber for the very first time – he may have been injured, but Siths gain strength from pain and so he should have been much better. Rey was his first real challenge in a long while and I know that he’s not going to take that defeat at her hands lightly; he’s going to come back even stronger and even angrier in Episode VIII.
His lightsaber was really cool – the blade looked volatile and erratic, not neatly contained like other lightsabers and I think it suited his personality very well. I’ve heard that the story is based a lot on King Arthur and I could see that to a certain extent – Kylo Ren wasn’t wearing traditional Jedi or Sith robes; rather, he looked like he had chainmail armour under his long, flowing gown. Even the crossguard design of his lightsaber looks like a medieval long sword.
Snoke mentions that Kylo Ren is the leader of the Knights of Ren. Now, I’m not entirely clear on who or what the Knights of Ren are. Are they other Siths? If they are, then that breaks the rule of two that Darth Bane established thousands of years ago. Are they just Captain Phasma type of thugs? That would be quite unremarkable. Moreover, where were the Knights of Ren throughout The Force Awakens? Why weren’t they with their leader when he was so close to obtaining the map that leads to Luke Skywalker? I really hope they clarify all of this in the next movie. Another thing I noticed was that neither Kylo Ren nor Supreme Leader Snoke has an official Sith title of “Darth”. This begs the question – do they really consider themselves Sith, in the truest sense of the word?
Let’s move on to Captain Phasma who was being touted as a badass Boba Fett sort of character for the Sequel Trilogy; she’s even on the poster, so I was quite certain that she’d have an important role to play in the movie. However, I was really disappointed to find that she really did nothing. Her armour was shiny and looked cool, but other than she was just useless. She even gets bullied into submission by Han and Finn so easily. I would suspect that someone as experienced and loyal as her would take one for the team instead of deactivating the shields of Starkiller Base, but no, she just straight up gives her enemies what they want. On the flip side, this scene serves up a great joke – Finn asks Han what they should do with Phasma and Han asks him with a dry smile on his face whether there’s a garbage chute and a junk compactor in the facility. This was a great throwback to when Luke, Han and Leia almost died in a similar place in A New Hope.
General Hux suffered from the same problems as Phasma, though he did have a bit more to do. I thought he’d be the Admiral Tarkin to Kylo Ren’s Darth Vader. Alas, on many an occasion, Kylo Ren just blatantly disobeyed his orders and undermined his authority. I’m assuming he’s the political leader of the First Order and Snoke holds him in high regard when he orders him specifically to bring Kylo Ren to him at the end of the movie, but he just never looked as powerful as he was supposed to be. Anyway, I don’t know whose idea it was to name the new Death Star “Starkiller Base”, but it was brilliant. When I heard the name, my mind instantly jumped to two things – firstly, Luke’s last name in the Original Trilogy was supposed to be “Starkiller”, but George Lucas changed it to “Skywalker”; secondly, Starkiller was Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who was one of the founding members of the Rebel Alliance (though, this may not be considered canon anymore).
Moving on to Rey, her character is really great. I said in my review that she’s become one of my favourite Star Wars characters and that’s a massive thing to say considering I’ve only seen her in one movie. One of the things that kept drawing me to her was the mystery of her parentage. That was kept under the wraps in The Force Awakens and I would have enjoyed it if they had done the big reveal about it with Luke at the end of the movie, but something tells me that what they have in store for us in the future movies will be a lot better. Throughout the movie, I was thinking of different theories as to who her parents might be and that continued for a couple of days after I watched the movie as well. Till now, I’ve thought of four possible theories and each one sounds plausible.
First off, she may be Luke’s daughter – Luke may have been training her at the Jedi Academy, but when Kylo Ren lost his mind and started acting like a mass murderer, he might have taken her to Jakku and dropped her off there for her safety; after all, a junkyard is the last place a person’s going to check for her. Han and Leia probably knew her when she was a kid, but now that she’s an adult, it’s no surprise that they don’t recognise her when they meet. She’s also very strong in the Force, just like her father and grandfather. When she meets Luke at the end of the movie, the intense look on his face might be because he is gazing at his daughter’s face after so many years. Rey even has visions of the planet on which Luke is which might be because she’s been there before and therefore, the dreams are just repressed memories. I’d love it if she was Luke’s daughter because then the Skywalker saga gets to continue – the Prequels were about Anakin, the Originals about Luke and the Sequels about Rey. Sounds fantastic!
She may also be Han and Leia’s daughter – she was sent to train under Luke just like her elder brother, but when Kylo Ren attacks the Jedi Temple, she’s presumed to be dead by everyone. That is, everyone except Luke who shuttles her to safety on Jakku. This would explain why Han and Leia never mention having a daughter in the movie – the very thought of their son killing his own sister pains them. The reason Kylo Ren doesn’t recognize his sister is because of the passage of time during which she has become an adult; the look on Luke’s face at the end of the movie would also make quite a lot of sense. This would also add a very nice sibling dynamic to the “rivalry” between Rey and Kylo Ren, just like in the Expanded Universe where their characters are Jacen and Jaina respectively.
A more radical theory would be if she were the reincarnated spirit of Anakin Skywalker. As we know, whenever a seemingly invincible force of evil rises up, the entity known as “The One” is willed into creation by the Force to restore balance. Anakin was “The One” as he eventually kills Palpatine and Rey may just well be a version of his spirit. She even has visions of the future like Anakin did and Yoda even says in the Prequels that it, i.e., being able to see the future, is a gift that very few possess.
The final theory is that she may just be a nobody – she’s not related to anyone famous or influential; she’s just an ordinary girl who happens to be highly Force-sensitive and gets dragged unwittingly into massive adventure. This would be a very bold move as the new characters would then have absolutely no ties with the older characters. However, the way the mystery of her missing parents and her being abandoned on Jakku is presented in the movie, I’m quite sure that this theory is the most unlikely of the four.
Speaking of parentage, on my way back from the theatre, it suddenly struck me how wonderful it would be if Finn is Lando Calrissian’s son. There were no indications to this in the movie, but I wouldn’t mind at all if this happened. By the way, where was Lando in the movie? He helped blow up the second Death Star and had a very high post in the Rebel Alliance by Return of the Jedi, so it seemed strange to me that he wasn’t with Leia in the control room of the Resistance. I hope he’s in the next movie though; he doesn’t need to play a big role, just as long as we get to see him. I grinned when I saw Admiral Ackbar in the Resistance’s control room and that guy who helped blow up the second Death Star along with Lando. The movie paid a lot of homages to the Original Trilogy and every time there was a throwback or easter egg, I felt really warm inside.
Near the end of the film, I saw that Rey has inherited the Millennium Falcon from Han and that Chewie and BB-8 join her aboard it. This confirms that Chewie is going to play a big role in the next movie and that he’s going to be Rey’s first-mate, a role that he has perfected after spending so many years doing it with Han.
This is probably going to be my last post concerning The Force Awakens and looking back on the last few days, I’ve noticed that I’ve written four blogs on it including this one. I’ve never been this excited for anything before this and I’m going to miss talking about the movie. It was fun while it lasted, though. The silver lining is that Rogue One is less than a year away and my unquenchable thirst for Star Wars will be satiated, at least for a while when it hits theatres.