But not how you think.
I went and saw Star Wars The Last Jedi on opening weekend with my family, and we were able to go on Sunday morning. My husband and I took special care to remain as spoiler-free as possible. We don’t like to go into any movie with pre-conceived notions of what the story will be.
We prefer to be that way, because we’re both HUGE Star Wars fans. Always have been. Probably always will be. Sure, we had our guesses about the plot, and we watched all the trailers, but we went there for this new story to be told. And boy, did we get one.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Star Wars The Last Jedi!
(I had to give you a moment to be sure you wanted to read this, because what I have to say is very spoiler heavy…)
The Last Jedi is not a typical Star Wars movie. It will thrill you, excite you, and it will break your heart.
From the beginning, you hear Kylo Ren talking about destroying the past to move forward. It’s his mantra through the movie. Let go of who you think you are, in order to become the person you are supposed to be. This character that so many people hated–not because he was a good villain in The Force Awakens, but because he was a temperamental child–begins to show signs of maturity. Of growth.
And with his growth blooms a passionate darkness in the Force that can only be met by a similar passionate light.
And there is the center of the story–that, as long as Kylo grows in strength, so will Rey, for she is his opposite. The light to his dark.
Will it create a redemption in Kylo? Probably not.
Will it turn Rey? Most likely no.
But they are intimately tied together through this and the next movie, they will have to be. Somehow. Does that mean love? Who knows. All the Reylo shippers hope so. Me included. (What are Reylo shippers? Fans that want to see Rey and Kylo fall in love — if you’re curious, hit up my Pinterest board or Deviant Art to see drawings by amazingly talented artists — Link goes to one of my favorites so far.)
That wasn’t the only thing that happened–we saw Poe Dameron, the hotshot pilot who never failed, fail. We saw Finn face the fact that all he’s done so far is run, and learn that you can’t run from your fears. We saw Holdo, and she was perfect. (If you haven’t read Leia, Princess of Alderaan, then you don’t know about Holdo, and I highly recommend it, because it explains why Leia trusts her so implicitly. Who is Holdo? Think Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series. No one can be quite sure what she’s up to, but she’s almost always doing exactly what she needs to.)
I both loved and hated that we FINALLY learned who Rey’s family was.
But, honestly, I should not have been surprised.
I had thought, with her power, that she was a twin. A secret twin of Kylo’s. A throwback to all the Star Wars EU books that came out before Disney brought the property from George Lucas, where Han and Leia had twins after ROTJ. Others thought she was Kenobi’s granddaughter or something. Even more guesses had flooded the internet while we waited for this movie to come out–that she was a child (or grandchild) of Palpatine, that she came from the dark blood, but was filled with light. That Kylo came from the light and was filled with darkness.
A yin-yang kind of thing.
In a way, though, that part, is true. She is his other half, as it were–so beautifully illustrated with their telepathic communication that allowed them to actually touch one another. But she’s not his sister.
Nope, Rey is just a girl. From nowhere. No one important at all.
Except that the Force chose her, to be the one to bring balance back to it. It reminded me a lot of another Disney property, one that people tend to forget exists–like quite a few feel about The Last Jedi, part of the reason I was so sad–Ratatouille.
The idea illustrated in Ratatouille is that greatness can come from anywhere. It’s not about the blood. Or the lineage. Or the preferences in life. It’s that anyone can be the next great thing. The next great hero that the galaxy needs. The next great mentor. The next great leader.
It doesn’t have to be because you’re born to it.
Star Wars The Last Jedi beautifully executed this concept.
Was the story perfect? No. There were plot holes for the average movie-goer, of course. Things that only truly dedicated fans might have known the origins to–like Leia’s survival in the explosion was a throwback to the Knights of the Old Republic–a Jedi trick learned that the Force could protect a Jedi for a limited amount of time in extreme circumstances. The New Order’s tracking a ship through hyperspace? That was references, very briefly, in Rogue One. The details were in the all-encompassing Star Wars universe, just they were so small that not everyone got all the references.
So why did the movie make me sad? Because I loved it. What saddened me was the anger and rage at it after. The hate against a movie. The idea that because it wasn’t what some fans thought it should be, it must be erased from the cannon completely. That it should no longer exist in the Star Wars world.
I’m not kidding, social media was filled with an insane amount of venom about this movie. On Monday, when my husband and I perused social media, it was sickening the hate, anger, criticism and general disgust this movie was met with. It made me physically sick. I even started feeling depressed, the energy of the world felt angry and horrible. And if anything was said against this tidal wave of anger, it only incited more.
Because the new hip thing is to hate everything.
I really was starting to hate the world.
And then, today, I climbed on social media to take care of my daily responsibilities, and there, bold as day, was a post from fellow paranormal romance writer, Tasha Black, with a piece of DeviantArt fan art, depicting Kylo and Rey together in a kind of yin/yang pic. It was beautiful. It was amazing. And it was the beginning of a discussion about the wonderfulness of Kylo, Rey, and The Last Jedi, and how it really was a good movie.
That Kylo and Rey belonged together, and the importance of redemption.
And then, I stumbled on a post by May Sage. It was the same, talking about spoilers and the love story that was blooming between Kylo and Rey, and what they could do with that. Could they do things with that? Would it move forward, or be a tragedy?
Yes, we were fangirling. And joined by several other fans, swooning over the idea, the romance, that was so strongly laced into The Last Jedi. Comparing notes between series of the different love stories in every Star Wars trilogy, and discussing how integral love was to the entire series, even if for or against the whole Reylo ship.
And this made me thankful for the book romance community online. Some would say, because I’m a romance author, that I saw romance when it wasn’t there. But people who I know do not read romance at all have commented on the sexual tension between Rey and Kylo. The seeds were planted in The Force Awakens. They grew in The Last Jedi. And hopefully in Star Wars Episode IX, they will bloom.
It was a far cry from Monday’s anger. And it reminded me that not only in the movies, can the light rise up to meet the dark.