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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This close read of The Last Jedi's lightsaber battles draws some surprising conclusions

Illustration for article titled This close read of iThe Last Jedi/is lightsaber battles draws some surprising conclusions
Screenshot: The Last Jedi trailer (YouTube)

In the months leading up to the release of The Last Jedi, some fans began to speculate that the film would center round Rey and Kylo Ren choosing to join forces—either for good or for evil. Those theories were kind of right considering the connection between the two formed the emotional core of the film, even if they ultimately turned against one another. But one fan’s incredibly deep read of the lightsaber choreography adds some fuel for the shippers still pining for “Reylo.”

By comparing the two characters’ lightsaber technique—specifically when Rey is performing a kata on Ahch-To and when Kylo is dueling Luke on the salt planet of Crait—Tumblr user Painfully Intimate formed the basis of the theory that these two are more connected than we think. Not only are some of their motions identical, but Rey slicing the rock in half may be a foreshadowing of Kylo’s attempt to halve Luke, only to realize he’s a force projection. Also, earlier in the film, during the showdown in Snoke’s throne room, Rey uses lightsaber techniques that mirror those used by Kylo in The Force Awakens.

Nerdist ran with this theory in the above video, pointing out that the Force Awakens novelization describes how much of Kylo’s training was imprinted on Rey when he attempted to infiltrate her mind. If that’s the case, it would makes sense that she performs some of the same moves. Also, Kylo Ren is pretty much the only person she’s dueled with up to this point, so it’s not absurd to think that she’s picked up on some of his techniques. Still, these two being so psychically linked, like two halves of the same whole, could mean there is still a potential partnership (romantic or otherwise) on the horizon.


Of course, if you’re not one for shipping, there may be a more simplistic answer. Rian Johnson is just a good director that knows how to use subtle, visual foreshadowing in his films. The echoes of Kylo Ren that exist in Rey’s fighting style—and vice versa—may be nothing more than cinematic representations of their connection through the force. Also, maybe they just shared some choreography between scenes. Does that mean they definitely won’t be teaming up in Episode IX? That’s up to J.J. Abrams.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Pay me to write for you, you coward.

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