'The Rise of Skywalker': Was the Reylo Kiss 'Necessary'?

The third film of the Star Wars sequel trilogy was the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. The Rise of Skywalker, is the ninth film in the series and has caused quite a lot of debate amongst fans over the locking of lips between some key characters.

Opinions were flying across social media and fan forums over that heart wrenching moment between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and former villain, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). 

Did their kiss signify Kylo’s full redemption or is it an indication of deeper romantic feelings between the two? Some fans believe the kiss was completely unnecessary altogether.

There were fans who were rooting for a Rey and Ben relationship to unfold

The Rise of Skywalker indicated that Rey and Kylo were part of a unique connection called a force dyad. The pair were deeply entwined because they both experienced strong connections to the Force, and to each other.  In some unexplained, mystical way their powers are able to bleed into one another.

Screen Rant explains that the bond between the two was potentially made stronger when “Kylo Ren attempted to penetrate Rey’s mind in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and has been growing as each became stronger in the Force.”

Many fans had been hoping for a romance to unfold between Rey and Ben, so the idea that there would be romantic sparks flying in The Rise of Skywalker made some fans happy.

‘The Rise of Skywalker’: The Reylo kiss seemed inevitable

The moment in the film seems to flow nicely, for fans rooting for a Reylo-ship. It seemed like a romantic climax to Rey and Kylo’s super-intense feelings for one another. It was tender and heartfelt as fans watched, holding their breath to see if Kylo would survive. 

After Kylo focused his own life force into Rey, bringing her back from the dead, they share a kiss. Immediately afterward, while Rey watches, Kylo vanishes- ultimately becoming one with the Force like what had recently happened to his mother. Cue the tears.

Their kiss was interpreted in many ways, with some feeling that it redeemed Kylo back to the light side of the Force and others feeling that it seemed out of character for Rey to be kissing a man who used the Force to try to invade her mind in previous films.

There is an argument that it shouldn’t be so easy for them to adapt to that classic “enemies to lovers” plot line when their relationship had been rocky at best.

One Reddit user explains that the kiss did seem to validate a lot of their built-up emotions over the course of the trilogy. “Ben and Rey clearly felt attraction and romantic feelings towards one another. I liked that the kiss made it explicit, acknowledging the complex layers to their connection and validating that love is a very natural part of the human psyche.”

If nothing else, most fans can agree that their relationship was indeed complex.

The Star Wars novel seems to clear things up

However, Men’s Health reports that a passage from the official Star Wars novel of the movie depicts the kiss as purely unromantic. It is clear that Rey and Ben have developed a complicated relationship over the course of the trilogy, but the book takes the romance completely out of the kiss and equates it closer to a hug.  

Author Rae Carson writes, “His heart was full as Rey reached for his face…and then, wonder of wonders, she leaned forward and kissed him. A kiss of gratitude…”

One Reddit user agreed in his discussion, stating that is “wasn’t necessary. Then again… at that moment, they’d just saved each other’s lives, so they probably felt this urge to show appreciation for each other”.  Appreciation and gratitude, of course, being much different from either love or lust. 

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