We’ve commented at lengths about the numerous parallels between Rey and Ren. Yeah, that’s right, I’ve called him “Ren” instead of Kylo as a usually do because we’ve recently learned that the Knights of Ren are named after Kylo Ren. Not the other way around as early reports suggested. It was originally said by Abrams in an Entertainment Weekly interview that Kylo Ren took the name “Ren” when he joined the Knights of Ren.
Now we have something from the Visual Guide to Star Wars that says that the Knights of Ren were founded by Kylo Ren:
— Star Wars (@starwars) April 1, 2016
So this, to me, suggests that the Knights of Ren are named after Kylo Ren, not the other way around, but I could be wrong. We all know that “Kylo Ren” is not his real name, and he was once “Ben Solo”, but it appears that at least the Knights and Kylo were named at the same time. If so, then this distinction kind of revives the idea from long ago that many people pointed out: the names “Rey” and “Ren” are just one letter off, and that suggests a deeper connection between them. Names always have meanings in Star Wars. Upon deeper comparisons, there are numerous parallels between their lives as portrayed in The Force Awakens. Many of them show similarities, but most of them set them up a literary foils of each other, and serve to highlight the differences between them.
So let’s explore the numerous parallels and mirroring between Rey and Ren in TFA, including some that you may have not heard of yet.
Let’s start with one of the first, more obvious example. Rey and Ren’s weapons are perfectly parallel in the poster. This was one of our first clues of a connection. This, of course, was just the beginning:
So I already mentioned above that the names “Rey” and “Ren” vary by one letter. The letter difference tells you who you should support (Y or N). But the other part is neither of these were their real name. As you’ll see below, there is a good chance that “Rey” is not her real name. It was a moniker that she took on, possibly around the same time that Ren took his name.
Rey and Ren have very similar powers. Admittedly, Rey is still figuring hers out, but she is no doubt a prodigy. She was able to turn Ren’s “telepathic intrusion” against him, and extract information from him, so they both have that power. They both are powerful with the lightsaber. They both have powerful telekinetic ability. The difference is Rey is unstudied, and Ren has a lot of experience. Even still, Rey is clearly the superior to Ren, and maybe because she has the power of the light side of the Force on her side.
Getting power from “Artifacts”
Both Rey and Ren have a love of artifacts from the war between the Empire and the Rebellion. In two different scenes, both Rey and Ren are shown keeping a helmet from the days of the Empire and Rebellion, and they both seem to derive some sort of power from it.
From the beginning of the movie, we see that Rey has a doll representing an X-wing pilot and also a helmet that she wears. Astute fans have pointed out that the Aurebesh on the side of helment says “Raeh”, and many have taken this to suggest that this is where she gets the name.
Similarly, we have a scene with Ren and Vader’s helmet. Ren asks the helmet, or the spirit of his grandfather, Darth Vader, to show him the darkside of the Force. So Ren kind of derives some sort of Dark side power from it.
You might say that Rey doesn’t really derive power from her helmet artifact, but in fact it was meant to suggest that she does! From the digital video version of TFA’s documentary, we hear JJ telling Rey that she gets some sort of good feeling (light side power) from her helmet:
“If you put it on it sort of like makes you feel good. You sort of, like, in a weird way relate to what the Rebellion did. When you put it on it feels like you settle in more, almost…when you put it on” -JJ Abrams to Daisy about the X-wing helmet.
Handing off the saber
In two very parallel, yet opposite scenes, both Rey and Ren hand off a lightsaber. They offer it to a, well, let’s say “father figure”. Rey hands out the Skywalker saber to Luke at the end of the movie, with deep sincerity in her eyes and also some bit of fear or concern.
In a parallel scene, we have Ren hand off his saber to Han Solo. Ren was also full of trepidation when he handed it off, but we know that he didn’t have the sincerity in his eyes that Rey had. He handed it off with two hands and a firm grip. He had malicious intent–the opposite of Rey.
Seeking Luke Skywalker
We all know that Kylo Ren is seeking Luke Skywalker. He will stop at nothing to get the map to the last Jedi. As it turns out, Rey doesn’t know it, but she has been seeking Luke all along. As Kylo Ren figures out through “telepathic intrusion”, Rey has been dreaming of an island. He tells her
I see it. I see the island…
as he read her mind. She has had dreams/premonitions about visiting Luke. In fact, Maz tells her that Luke is the belonging she seeks:
Maz – whomever you’re watiting for on Jakku..they’re never coming back, but there’s someone who still could.
Rey – Luke…
Maz – The belonging you seek is not behind you, it is ahead.
I’ll hold off on concluding too much about Rey’s parentage, but you have to wonder: If Luke is Rey’s “belonging”, then what is their relationship exactly? Admittedly if Luke is her Father, it further solidifies the parallels of the “handing off the saber” point above, but we’ll have to wait to know for sure.
Completing their training at the end of TFA
At the end of TFA, Rey is visiting Luke and seeks to be trained by him to become a Jedi. This may be only partially her intent, but we are sure that this is the outcome. At the same time, Kylo Ren goes off to complete his training with Snoke. At the end of the movie, Snoke tells Hux to “Leave the base at once and bring Kylo Ren to me. It is time to complete his training”.
In Episode VIII, we’ll see this training continue. We may also see some more parallels and divergence between these two characters. With so little information about Episode VIII, it’s hard to know what that will be, but that’s where the discussion begins. What other parallels do you see between these characters? Leave your comments below.