“The focus of the story….”

“The story that we really care about, the focus of the story which is Rey and Ren.” J.J. Abrams.

*Record scratch.

Say what now? The focus of the story is Rey and Ren? That’s what the director of The Force Awakens said in his director’s commentary. It’s worth noting that he said the first bit about “the story we really care about” twice. We don’t really care about the Resistance blowing up Starkiller base, or Finn prostrate on the ground, or where is Chewie anyway; we care about the conflict between Rey and Ren.

For us old school Star Wars fans, that might be a bit hard to accept, but there it is. The torch has been passed to the new generation, and whether we like it or not, Rey and Ren (yes, Kylo Ren) are the focus of said story. And we’ve been saying that TFA is A New Hope. And if that’s the case, then the next movie might well be a rehash of The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode IX retelling Return of the Jedi. 

But I don’t think so, at least, not anymore.

I’ve been cogitating on what I think will happen in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. And this is a general idea of what’s been running about in my head. As you recall, Darth Vader died, redeemed, in the final moments of RotJ. We didn’t know which way he was going to go, but in the end, Luke saved his father. I think the new trilogy is going to go in another direction. And please understand, I don’t know the first thing. I’m just thinking and speculating with very little to support my ruminations.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Kylo Ren will be redeemed, and I think the process will begin before the end of The Last Jedi. In fact, I think he will be as good as he’s going to get by the end of this movie. This a major departure from both the prequels and the original trilogy.
  • He’s done his worst. He won’t kill Luke; he won’t kill Rey. He might kill Phasma and or Hux, but he won’t kill someone we care about.
  • CT from Knights of Rant postulated that the three of them – Rey, Ren, and Luke may be trapped on the island. She suggested that the island keeps them there. So, if you are imbalanced in some way with the Force, the island will not let you leave until you get that sorted out. I sort of love this theory, but I don’t think it will happen quite that way. How might it happen? I’m not sure. But there’s a bit of buzz indicating that they may well be forced (see what I did there?) to deal with each other. I can believe that Ren has orders to kill Rey or take her back to Snoke, but in the final analysis, he can’t or won’t do it.
  • Speaking of orders to kill someone, I think Luke will tell her she must kill Ren to be rid of the bond she has with him. But she can’t or won’t do it.  And I’m pretty sure Luke can’t do it either. Ben is his nephew, after all.
  • Ahch-To: What if it’s a Force neutral kind of place? I know, there are a ton of fight scenes being shown there in trailers and still photos, but stay with me. What if you can use the Force there, but a Force user can’t kill another Force user there? It could be a kind of sanctuary. You can fight, you can drill, but you can’t kill and you can’t die in combat there. That would prevent Ren and Rey from killing one another. Okay – so that’s pure conjecture with nothing more to support it than my thinking it might be kind of cool. And that would let Luke take care of non-Force wielding Knights of Ren. Or are those bounty hunters? I think the Star Wars Connection postulated that the men in black might well be bounty hunters; they pointed out that using bounty hunters was well-established in canon. Seems reasonable to me, but I’m still leaning towards the men in black being Kylo’s Knights.
  • I’ve always thought of the scene in the Force-back as showing Rey a time when Ren would or will save her. It doesn’t look like she’s armed in that sequence and so she might well be in mortal danger from the man with the wok on his head until said man gets stabbed through the chest by Kylo Ren. That would only work in my Force-neutral theory if he was a non-Force user. And that’s possible given there is no outward proof he is a Force-user. Are the Knights of Ren necessarily Force users? Hum – something to research.
  • I think the First Order is going to wreak havoc on the Resistance in this movie, but I think by the end of it, Rey and Ren will have decided to go their own way, a middle way, neither light nor dark. Ren already regrets killing his father, and I think that will be the action which makes him turn his back on Snoke when it’s not good enough to prove his loyalty.
  • Another thing – did you notice that when Ren and Rey were fighting in TFA and he offered to be her teacher? He said he wanted to show her the ways of the Force. Not the Dark side, just the Force. I don’t think that was an accident.
  • As I’ve said before, I don’t think Rey is a Skywalker anymore. I think she’s either a Kenobi or a nobody. So, Kylo Ren is the Skywalker of his generation. Kathleen Kennedy has told us that the saga films are about the Skywalker family. If that is going to be the case, then he must live, and beyond that, he must have children to continue the line. From a purely pragmatic point of view, Disney’s not going to let this one go until it stops making them truckloads of money. I’m pretty sure we will see at least one more trilogy featuring the Skywalker clan. Draw your own conclusions.
  • So, if Rey and Ren have gone gray at the end of E8, that leaves E9 to deal with Snoke and his First Order. And the only ones equipped to deal with him effectively will likely be our very unlikely Force-bonded duo of Ren (Ben) and Rey. This too is a departure from the earlier movies; if there are two distinct plot lines in this one, as it seems we will, E9 could focus more tightly on the fight against Snoke and the First Order. This will also allow us to focus on the story that really matters: Rey and Ren because they will be instrumental in the destruction of the Evil Empire, First Order version.

Those are my thoughts that won’t get out of my head. Honestly, I don’t expect anyone to read this, but if you do, let me know what you think.

May the Force be with you.

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