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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker answers a big Last Jedi question about Rey and Kylo Ren
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we learn that Rey and Kylo Ren's connection to each other via the Force, a strange power that allows them to communicate and even touch across vast distances of space, was concocted by Supreme Leader Snoke.
He calls the pair foolish for having believed their connection was anything more than his interference. This was just another way he emotionally manipulated them for his own gain. But at the end of The Last Jedi, we get a final hint that maybe, just maybe, their connection really was something more.
**Spoiler Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker.**
In the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rey and Kylo Ren's bond is stronger than we’ve ever seen it, confirming what we suspected at the end of The Last Jedi. But, despite that confirmation, the movie still leaves us wondering how it got to be that way.
In Star Wars, an easy answer is that it was their "destiny" all along, but there’s more to it than that. This bond developed slowly over the course of their three films together. Where did it start, and what does it mean now that we’ve seen the end? That’s what we’re going to explore.
The Rise of Skywalker introduced us to a new term in Star Wars: “Force dyad.” A dyad is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “two individuals (such as husband and wife) maintaining a sociologically significant relationship.” There’s a significance to "dyad" in biology as well, meaning the splitting of chromosomes in meiosis, which is defined as “a type of cell division that results in four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes of the parent cell, as in the production of gametes and plant spores.”
When you add the Force to a word like "dyad," it sounds a lot like midi-chlorians — a more scientific explanation for how users of the Force can hear the will of the Force and manipulate it — and destiny all wrapped up into one, doesn’t it?
This "significant" connection between Rey and Ben is something that makes them and their power greater than the sum of their parts. Through their connection in the Force, they’re able to do things above and beyond what other Force users might manage.
Strong relationships and bonds through the Force feature prominently in Star Wars and always have. Even though she’d received no formal training by that point, Leia could sense Luke on Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back and could navigate to rescue him.
Though Luke and Leia might not be a “dyad,” they are still bonded through the Force. Luke isn’t the only one Leia is connected to, either; The Rise of Skywalker shows her connecting her life to her son’s in a bid to sever Palpatine’s connection to him.
That act alone makes one wonder if part of Padme’s death was, in fact, some machination of the Force in this same way. As the last (almost) shreds of Anakin Skywalker die and Darth Vader is truly born, does that sever his connection to Padme and thus contribute to her death? It's an intriguing possibility.
Rey and Ben share something even stronger, though. Together, they seem unstoppable.
THE GROWING CONNECTION
What clues were we given that their connection was as strong as it was?
To start, we have to go back to The Force Awakens and the moment when Kylo Ren first hears of the scavenger on Jakku.
“What girl?” he asks as though he knows more about her than he’s letting on.
Watching this moment post-Rise of Skywalker makes it seem as though he’s felt something curious about her in the Force. When he forcibly enters her mind and she resists later in the film, the ties between them strengthen, even if neither necessarily want that.
The Last Jedi strengthens this unusual bond even further when Snoke bridges their minds so they can project to each other through the Force. The first glimpse that this power could be used for more than simple communication, though, is when Kylo Ren speaks to Rey when she’s in the rain beneath the Millennium Falcon on Ahch-to. Back on his Star Destroyer, he looks down at his glove and sees the rain from Rey's location. It transported across the galaxy.
Later, after Rey has faced herself in the mirror cave, they even touch, and both of them feel that they are the only two who truly understand each other.
“I’ve never felt so alone,” she tells him.
“You’re not alone,” he replies just before their fingers meet through their Force bond.
Though Snoke (who we now know was an avatar for Palpatine) claims to have been the one who bridged their minds, after his death they’re still capable of this power. Whether that’s through Palpatine continuing that ability remotely or whether Rey and Ben are capable of that innately, we don’t know, but they do maintain that bond, and it's built over the time between movies.
THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
When we first see Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, she very quickly goes into a training exercise. At first she’s in perfect harmony with the world around her, but when Ben reaches out he disrupts her concentration. He’s meddling with her training, and it’s to her eternal frustration.
After she leaves on her mission to track down a Sith Wayfinder, Kylo Ren reaches out to her once more, this time while she’s in the middle of a celebration on the planet Pasaana.
He’s able to snatch the necklace she wears right off her neck and keep it aboard his new Star Destroyer. Using the necklace, the First Order is able to track down the Resistance's heroes and force them into even more difficult situations.
This adds up to build to what might be one of the best moments in The Rise of Skywalker: the moment in which Rey passes the Skywalker saber to Ben Solo through the Force on Exegol. The films' creators have established this power across three films, and it pays off beautifully.
And then, as if in a cosmic version of Romeo and Juliet, they each sacrifice their lives for the other until Ben ends up on the losing side of that coin. It’s a testament to the connection he had with his mother that she was only able to reach her oneness with the Force when her son did.
Or perhaps it had to do with her stubbornness. Even in the afterlife, Leia wouldn't go until she was ready. Either way, it was a beautiful moment.
Given his sacrifice and his ability to come back as a Force ghost, I would bet that death is not the end of the story between Rey and Ben Solo and their unbreakable connection.