Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker centers around closing the decades-long Skywalker saga and paving the way for a new generation of heroes. Therefore, it only makes sense that the film is bursting with new and returning characters, including Keri Russell’s Zorri Bliss and Kylo Ren’s infamous Knights of Ren. But the laser is still focused on Rey and Kylo, whose connection could define how this story finally ends.
In a new and extensive Vanity Fair profile, the stars of The Rise of Skywalker dive into creating the final chapter in an iconic franchise. One of the things touched upon was the important role Rey and Kylo’s bond will play by the end of it all. According to Adam Driver, the Force-connection that Rey and Kylo established and grew in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will prove to be “even deeper than previously realized.” However, given how The Last Jedi ended, with Rey physically and mentally closing the door on Kylo Ren, it’s hard to say at this point what that connection will lead to.
“He had been forging this maybe-bond with Rey,” Driver said, “and it kind of ends with the question in the air: Is he going to pursue that relationship—or when the door of her ship goes up, does that also close that camaraderie that they were maybe forming?”
Both Driver and Daisy Ridley debated the possible reasons for Rey and Kylo’s connection and conflict in the interview (with the exception of the theory that Ridley is actually a Skywalker, which would make them related). For Kylo, it’s about finding connection with someone who understands him. As Driver puts it, Kylo is in a unique situation. Unlike many of the characters in the Star Wars universe, who come into their own without knowing their family legacies, he is burdened by expectation. He’s a Jedi warrior. His parents are General Organa and Han Solo, two of the greatest champions in the galaxy. Plus his grandfather is the Darth Vader. Kylo feels he has more to prove.
“How do you form friendships out of that?” Driver asked. “How do you understand the weight of that? And if there’s no one around you guiding you, or articulating things the right way…it can easily go awry.”
On the other hand, Ridley argues that Kylo Ren’s legacy may be one of the reasons why Rey both understands and resents him. Growing up as a “nobody” on a junk planet, she didn’t have the family and support Ben-turned-Kylo grew up with. She came into the Force on her own, and struggled with the lackluster support of a curmudgeonly teacher (by the time of The Rise of Skywalker, one year after The Last Jedi, she’ll have mostly mastered her abilities). But Kylo had Luke Skywalker by his side. And still, he chose to let the past die and fell to darkness.
“I think there’s a part of Rey that’s like, ‘Dude, you fucking had it all, you had it all,’” Ridley said. “That was always a big question during filming: You had it all and you let it go.”
Rey may not have time for Kylo’s drama though. “It’s nice having that shot at the beginning of the teaser, because I think it’s quite a good visual representation of where she is now: confident, calm, less fearful,” said Ridley. “It’s still sort of overwhelming, but in a different way. It feels more right—less like inevitable and more like there’s a focus to the journey.”
The two of won’t be alone. They’ll be joined by Oscar Isaac (the piece says Poe will have to step up and become a leader) and John Boyega (an “an active member of the Resistance now,” the actor says) as the world’s most-perfect couple, Poe and Finn, and Kelly Marie Tran is reprising her role as Rose. We’re getting the return of the late Carrie Fisher as General Organa, thanks to some old footage from The Force Awakens. In the interview, director J.J. Abrams described how he incorporated the old footage into the new film, including how he had to specially light and frame characters to make sure they matched Fisher’s already taped scenes.
But we’ve got some new faces and places to look forward to as well.
On the “bad” side, the Vanity Fair piece revealed that Kylo’ Knights of Ren will be featured in The Rise of Skywalker, though no other details were revealed. Following the death of Supreme Leader Snoke, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) will now be joined by Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), now under the control of Kylo. And the article also revealed the first look at Keri Russell’s masked character, a “scoundrel” named Zorri Bliss. She’s pictured in “the Thieves’ Quarter” in the above image, which exists on the snowy world Kijimi (we also got a peak at another desert planet Pasaana with locals, the Aki-Aki).
Then on the “good” side, there’s Naomi Ackie (featured below with Boyega’s Finn on top of orbaks), who’s playing fellow fighter Jannah, BB8's new droid companion D-O, and “a large banana-slug alien named Klaud,” but again, no other details (though we got a first look of them both at Star Wars Celebration).
“I actually tried to do this thing while we were filming,” Ackie says, “where I’d go one day, walking through London without seeing a Star Wars reference somewhere. And you can’t do it. You really can’t. So it’s extremely surreal to be in it and see how it works from the inside.”
The Rise of Skywalker arrives on December 20, and you can read the rest of Vanity Fair’s profile here. After that, Disney plans on taking a break from Star Wars films, with the next film coming from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, coming in 2022.
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