The “Love Story” in The Last Jedi Isn’t a Romance

I think Rey and Luke’s story in The Last Jedi is going to be structured like a love story. Love stories are ultimately about two people coming to love each other and learning how to have a relationship with each other and that’s exactly what Rey and Luke’s story is only the love is familial rather than romantic.

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Facing Their Fathers

When patterns appear in films, especially as a series of specific actions taken by characters, it’s not accidental. Directors carefully choose everything about how shots are set up, the lighting, the body language, actions and line delivery of the actors to tell a compelling story.

J. J. Abrams’ favorite Star Wars film is the Empire Strikes Back and he pays homage to it in The Force Awakens by having the Bridge Scene in The Force Awakens parallel the “I am your father” scene in the Empire Strikes Back in many ways. But then at the end of the film he does something interesting, he mirrors the encounter between Kylo and Han in the Bridge Scene with the encounter between Luke and Rey on Ahch-To. From the behind the scene reel, Rian Johnson appears to be continuing this mirroring. J. J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, in interviews leading up to the release of The Force Awakens, talked a lot about the importance of visual storytelling in The Force Awakens. That the audience didn’t need to have everything told to them with dialog, instead it could be shown. The mirroring between the three scenes: “I am your father”, the Bridge Scene, and Ahch-To are meant to underscore that the three scenes cover the same topic, the reunion of a parent and child.

Let me show you what I mean.

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Show Me Again…

During this scene in The Force Awakens, we see that Kylo has set up a shrine for Vader’s helmet and seems almost to be praying to it, and through it to his grandfather. Kylo is pleading with Vader to show him again meaning he believes that Vader has shown him the power of the dark side before. People have speculated that this could have been Snoke manipulating him by giving him visions of Vader. But what if Kylo pleading to the helmet is meant completely literally? It’s possible that when Kylo first found Vader’s helmet he saw visions similar to what Rey saw when she first touched the lightsaber. These visions would have shown him Vader at his worst and at his most powerful, a level of power that Kylo aspires to. When he feels the pull to the light he doesn’t go to Snoke asking for guidance, he goes back to the helmet hoping to see Vader at his most fearsome once again, to remind him of the power he can have if he doesn’t stray back to the light.

An Analogy for the Mystery of Rey

I’ve seen quite a few people saying they don’t want Rey to be a Skywalker because that would be boring. I’ve also seen people complaining that JJ screwed Rian Johnson over by not revealing who Rey is in The Force Awakens because now there’s no answer for who she could be that would satisfy everyone. I’d like to propose an analogy for why I think who she is isn’t the point of the mystery they have created.

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Rey’s Origins: Themes and Effects

Most of the speculation I’ve seen about Rey’s parentage falls into either the evidence based theorizing camp or the “wouldn’t it be cool if” camp. I want to take a different approach and look at her potential origins from a narrative perspective. Specifically I want to look at what themes various popular theories could be used to express and how they could tie into the major themes of the series. I also want to look at how each theory could potentially affect character development and relationships among the major characters.

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