[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”].
“Star Wars” fans hoping Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) would become romantic partners (dubbed “Reylo” online) got a bittersweet surprise in “The Rise of Skywalker.” After Kylo breaks free from the dark side and uses Force healing powers to resurrect Rey (who dies after defeating Emperor Palpatine once and for all), the two characters share what seems in the moment to be a passionate kiss. Kylo then dies moments afterward. The sequence was equal parts wish fulfillment and heartbreak for “Reylo” fans, but it turns out the kiss might not have been so romantic.
Following a screening of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, director and co-writer J.J. Abrams was recorded on camera speaking to a group of viewers about Rey and Kylo’s relationship (via /Film). Abrams was answering a fan question about whether or not he thought of Rey and Kylo Ren in a romantic context since “The Force Awakens.” While Abrams was not talking directly about the “Rise” kiss, it’s clear he has always thought Rey and Kylo have had a more complicated relationship than just will-they-won’t-they romantic partners.
“There is as much of a brother-sister thing between Rey and Kylo Ren as there is a romantic thing,” Abrams said. “So it’s not like literally a sexual, romantic thing, but it’s more like they’re bound together in this movie in a crazy, spiritual way that, again, felt romantic to me.”
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Abrams’ context is the latest reveal that clarifies a moment in “The Rise of Skywalker” offscreen. After the same Academy screening, Abrams had to explain a part of the latest “Star Wars” movie that was missing. There’s a moment where Rey and Finn (John Boyega) believe they are about to die and Finn tells Rey he has something to tell her. The characters survive, but Finn never reveals what he had to get off his chest. Abrams revealed after the film’s theatrical release that Finn wanted to tell Rey he is Force sensitive as well.
As for the Rey-Kylo kiss, Abrams’ clarification that the bond between the two characters is a “brother-sister thing” might strike many “Star Wars” fans as going against what’s presented on screen. The moment in the film plays like a romantic climax to Rey and Kylo’s intense relationship.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is now playing in theaters nationwide.
The post has up been updated with the context of the fan question.