Whatever Wednesday: The Many Faces of Kylo/Ben

Even with the same character, Adam Driver is a chameleon.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren / Ben Solo in Star Wars - TFA 2015.
Emo kid in The Force Awakens
ADAM REN - the-apple-is-the-fruit: Rey and Kylo ready to...
Sad/resentful Kylo in The Last Jedi
Kylo Ren during the Throne Room battle
Messy hair warrior Kylo in The Last Jedi
Ben Solo - The Rise of SKywalker
Determined desert Kylo in The Rise of Skywalker
"in this moment he’s not kylo anymore. he’s ben solo in kylo ren’s clothes
Regretful son Ben in The Rise of Skywalker
𝐛 𝐫 𝐢 loves ben solo on Twitter: "REDEEMED BEN SOLO SAID IM KYLO REN BUT 10x HOTTER AND 10x SOFTER… "
Supportive Ben in The Rise of Skywalker
𝓮𝓵𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪 🌸 on Twitter: "The Last Skywalker #BenSolo… "
Happy savior Ben in The Rise of Skywalker.

The man is an amazing actor with a putty face.

Oh, and we musn’t forget:

VIDEO: Adam Driver Channels Kylo Ren (in a Wig!) for SNL's Hilarious Undercover Boss Spoof
Undercover Boss Kylo

Monday Musings: Poe vs. Holdo

Oscar Isaac & Laura Dern - Star Wars TLJ
Hands off the Vice Admiral, mister.

In The Last Jedi, after Leia is injured, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes command of the Raddus, the command ship of the Resistance fleet (if you can call it that) fleeing the First Oder.

And Poe immediately dislikes her and causes trouble.

Despite knowing that Holdo is Leia’s good and trusted friend (and Poe nearly worships Leia), he immediately distrusts her and whips up a mutiny on the ship. Why?

Because she won’t tell him–or anyone–her plan for escape.

He proceeds to have a hissy fit about it and demands–demands!–to be told what she plans.

Now, at first viewing, I shared Poe’s frustration. Why doesn’t she just tell him and get him out of her hair? But on reflection, Poe’s antics on the Raddus just shows how much growing up he needs to do.

Holdo knows this about him, and maybe this was a test for him. A test he failed miserably. It can be argued that this probably wasn’t the best moment to teach Poe a lesson.

But think about it. Holdo is a Vice Admiral-she even outranks Leia–and Poe has just been demoted to Captain, for his reckless, foolhardy ignoring of orders, a recklessness that caused them to lose their bombers. And she has to explain herself to him? Or to anyone for that matter? I don’t know much about the military, but I’m pretty sure questioning orders from your superiors is frowned upon.

Holdo speaks to what’s left of the Resistance

So why does Poe feel he can get away with it? I get it–the situation is critical, they’re up against a wall–but to me, it seems that maintaining the chain of command is essential in these situations.

Is it the purple hair? And I hate to even go here, but it has to be said: is it because she’s a woman? Would he have done the same if Holdo were a man?

Star Wars has been pretty good at getting women equal footing in the Galaxy, especially in the prequels and sequels. They’re everywhere, doing everything and anything, and that’s all to the good.

Still, with this Poe/Holdo standoff, I can’t help but think, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions. If I think about Poe’s character–Holdo herself called him a “trigger-happy fly-boy”–he probably would have been that way to anyone. He has no patience; he can’t sit still. It’s a mark of extraordinary arrogance to believe that your superiors don’t know what they’re doing or that you deserve to be in the know in all things. He lacks trust in anyone but himself. He even disobeyed Leia, which caused them to lose their bombers, leading to the death of Rose’s sister, Paige. I wonder if Rose knows this?

oscar isaac trash — Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Last...
Trigger-happy Fly-boy

I also know this is the Resistance, not the First Order. The First Order is a well-oiled machine, with clear hierarchies and chains of command. There’s a lot of order to the First Order, and Poe’s insubordination would not have been tolerated.

But the Resistance isn’t a fighting military machine. It’s a group of people coming together to fight for freedom. Like the Rebellion before it, they’re a rag-tag bunch, and though they try to maintain an orderly chain of command out of necessity, they’re a bit more forgiving. They understand Poe’s value as a pilot. And they just like him. In the Resistance, people are individuals, not cogs in a machine.

Even after Poe’s shenanigans are stopped by Leia, Holdo says, “That one’s a troublemaker. I like him.”

“Me, too,” Leia replies with a smile.

I don’t know if I would have been that forgiving. But in essence, these older women are regarding him like some wayward child who misbehaves. Oopsie! That little rascal almost derailed our entire escape plan. Oh well! He’ll grow up someday, right?

And I’m glad to see that he does in TROS, after some further tests. Even in The Last Jedi, he’s sobered by Holdo’s sacrifice.

Naturally, this showdown between Holdo and Poe was a kind of forced conflict in the movie, as some tension was required in that part of the story. I found it a little over the top on Poe’s part, and Holdo seemed unreasonably stubborn on keeping her plan a secret. Oh well. It seemed to work, I guess.

But the whole thing left me feeling baffled.

"Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you see it, you'll never make it through the night."  - Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
I wouldn’t look happy, either.

What was your take on the Poe-Holdo showdown? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Friday Focus: Phasma/Zorii-Masked Mysteries

Here’s my latest focus on the Women of Star Wars. I chose these two secondary characters to look at together, since they’re both masked and a bit mysterious.

Captain Phasma

Captain Phasma FREE Pictures on GreePX

I realize there’s a Star Wars book on Phasma’s backstory (and a comic as well), and perhaps you’ve read it. I have not. And that’s fine, because I intend this blog to focus mainly on the films, and what we can glean from them. If that limits my analyses of characters or plot points, so be it.

That being said, I did read The Last Jedi novelization, and there was a great little tidbit in there that revealed volumes about this character.

I find Phasma interesting even though she has a very limited role in the films. She principally acts as Finn’s antagonist. She’s cold, efficient, almost like a robot beneath that flashy silver armor. We don’t know much about her, we don’t even see any of her face until the end of TROS–only that one cold blue eye peeking out in rage before she dies.

But in TLJ novelization, Finn recounts that there were rumors in the barracks about her–that the First Order had found her on some backwater, pre-Industrial type planet, and that she’d been some kind of wild, Amazon-like Queen. I find this fascinating. I’m guessing the First Order gave her a choice–join them or die. Phasma is a survivor, and so she chose life. They gave her a place of superiority and a chance to use her formidable skills.

Though she’s not a Queen anymore, she does have some power. As a queen, she would have expected obedience and loyalty, and I think that’s why Finn’s defection rankles her so much, why she takes it so personally. It appalls her.

This little piece of information about her former life changed my opinion about her. It made her a bit more three-dimensional to me, a person with a past. Sure, she’s one of the “bad guys,” but I understand her a little more. And I’d like to think that when she agreed to join the First Order, one of her stipulations was that shiny, bad-ass armor–fitting for a Queen.

Zorii Bliss

Another female character whose face we don’t completely see is Zorii, Poe’s mysterious comrade from the past.

I’m guessing they were lovers, or close to it during Poe’s spice runner era, but something went wrong–he left for the Resistance. This is what set her off and made her not too happy to see him when he arrived on Kimiji. He abandoned her and their independent way of life, for a cause she may have seen as hopeless. Like most in her profession, she probably felt that it’s best to live outside the law no matter who rules, and not join (kind of like DJ in TLJ, but less icky).

After a bit of persuasion from Rey, she does agree to help them find Babu Frik, and even gives Poe her prized Captain’s medallion to help him get past the First Order fleet. Clearly, she still has a soft spot for him. Either that, or she has a spark of resistance in herself as well. This plays out at the end of TROS, when she joins the fight at Exegol. But she still won’t give in to Poe’s flirty suggestions. I kind of like this girl!

Star Wars: Phasma: Journey To Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Phasma book
Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Captain Phasma
Phasma comic

What I find interesting about both Phasma and Zorii is that they are masked. Female characters have always and forever been judged on their looks, but you can’t with these two–their faces are covered, and so we must judge them by their actions and words, not what they look like (although Zorii’s form-fitting outfit clearly marks her as female–there you go, guys!). We only get glimpses of their eyes, the proverbial “windows to the soul”. We see the cold rage of Phasma in that blue eye; and the reluctant compassion in Zorii’s eyes.

These are two women in the Galaxy who choose not to be victims, and do what they can within the crappy situations they find themselves in: Phasma through power and intimidation; Zorii through freedom and choice.

What did you think of these two characters? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Monday Musings: Reylo-Yes or No?

REY AND BEN SOLO - This couple  is perfect but the Destiny is tragic. Ben die cause he wanna save his beloved, Rey.
The Connection

So let’s talk about “Reylo”.

Reylo, of course, refers to the perceived romantic relationship between Kylo/Ben and Rey. Many, many fans insist that the connection between these two characters translates into romantic love.

On the other hand, many others insist that there’s no proof of that in the films, and their relationship must and should remain platonic. They are a “dyad” in the Force, but that doesn’t mean lovers.

Where do I stand on this burning question?

Before I answer that, let’s consider the true meaning of a “dyad”. Again, we’ll get out our trusty dictionary (because I’m a stickler like that):

Dyad:

a group of two; couple; pair.

  1. two persons involved in an ongoing relationship or interaction.
  2. the relationship or interaction itself.

Okay, that doesn’t tell us very much.

Let’s assume that this definition precludes any notion of romance or sex. From the context of the movie, I think it infers a balance between two opposites: good/bad, light/dark, perhaps even male/female. There’s a lot of referencing “bringing balance to the Force”, and a dyad is the highest representation of this.

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The Fascination

We might also go so far as to say that they need each other, that one cannot exist without the other. That they are two halves of one soul. That’s why I believe Ben’s soul lives within Rey now; without his own body, there’s only one place to go–within hers.

So yes, they’re inextricably linked, body and soul. But does that mean they must fulfill our fantasies of romantic love? Not necessarily.

Let me be clear. I am a Reylo fan, in that I love the idea of these two being in love on top of their soul-link. Why not? It’s the icing on the cake. My sentimental self would have loved to see Ben live, and he and Rey live happily ever after, get married, have sweet little Force babies. It’s a happy story.

But the question remains: are they in love?

In my opinion, Kylo/Ben is most definitely in love with Rey. It’s written all over the guy, in his fascination with her, and his desire to have her join him in the Dark Side (since he feels he can’t go back to the Light). Just the way he looks at her makes it obvious, both as Kylo and as Ben. The man’s got it bad.

“The Balance.”
If this isn’t the look of a man in love, I don’t know what is.

But does Rey love him? I don’t think so. How can any woman be in love with a man like Kylo Ren? Perhaps “Dark Rey” could, if you could call it love. But not Light Rey. I think she’s fascinated by him in her turn, as the other half of the dyad they make, and in Ben, Han and Leia’s son. She holds out hope for Ben Solo suffocating under the evil veneer of Kylo.

And perhaps there’s even a sexual attraction (though Disney, of course, would never hint at such a thing), but we can surmise for ourselves. After all, Kylo Ren is the epitome of the tall, dark, and dangerous man of sexual fantasy (take it from us women, guys). Shirtless scene aside, I get the feeling that their lightsaber duels can be construed on some level as an acting out of sexual frustration. Just sayin’.

Reylo | Shipping Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia
The Attraction

I do believe that, if given the chance, Rey probably would have fallen in love with Ben Solo. She just didn’t get that chance. I think she was happy and gratified that he prevailed over Kylo, that his soul turned back to the Light; but it’s premature to call it romantic love on her part.

So what about that kiss?

Ben Solo waits for the kiss, Rey initiates it
The Kiss

Is it me, or was it kind of weird? I like that they kissed, but it wasn’t exactly a kiss of passion. In all honesty, they looked like two 14-year-olds locking lips for the first, tentative time (and it can be argued that these characters are both virgins, but again, that’s non-Disney territory). It was sweet, but just…weird.

In the novelization of TROS, the kiss was referred to as a “kiss of gratitude”. Um, okay. She’s thanking him for bringing her back from the dead. I guess that warrants a kiss.

Also in the novelization, after Ben dies Rey hears his voice in her head saying, “I will always be with you.” And Rey thinking, No one is ever really gone...

I do like that idea, that he’s not really gone for her. But still maddeningly vague on the romance question, to those who want a definitive answer. Can we be satisfied with a chaste love? An eternal love that goes beyond the physical?

I can live with that. But only because I have to.

What are your thoughts on Reylo? Are they or aren’t they? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Friday Focus: Rey-The Search for Identity

Here’s the second installment of my Women of Star Wars series.

Capable Rey

From the moment we meet Rey, scavenging on Jakku, we know that she’s young, strong, and capable. Her harsh environment has taught her how to handle herself and others; she very rarely needs rescuing (something that Finn, annoyingly, fails to understand).

But at the core of her is a mystery, not only to us but to herself. There is a power within her, a strength in the Force that suggests she’s special in some way. Who left her on Jakku as a child and why? Rey’s desperate need to believe they’ll come back for her is a result not only of her terrible loneliness, but of her need to know: who is she?

The old adage “Be careful what you wish for,” comes into play by the third film. But in the second, The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren tells her, “You come from nothing. You’re nothing.” And we start to believe him. Her parents were simply junk traders, selling her off for drink money. Sad, but never mind. It’s all right. She doesn’t have to be anyone “special” to be, well, special. Rey’s experience in the dark well of mirrors on Ach-To seems to confirm this. She only has herself to rely on.

StarWars.com examines how Rey's journey in the mirror cave in Star Wars: The Last Jedi echoes experiences had by both Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
Lonely Rey

But a little part of me refused to believe it. Rey had to get those amazing Force powers from somewhere, right?

When we find out in TROS that Rey is a Palpatine, I was blindsided. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming at all. Rey had always been a vessel of Light to me. I couldn’t see her coming from the most evil man in the Galaxy.

The clues, however, were there for me to see. Rey had raw strength, yes, but she also had anger that she unabashedly drew from . In her battles with Kylo, she often seemed more angry and agitated than he was, though this was probably due to her lack of control. She’d never been properly trained as a Jedi, while Kylo had spent years as Luke’s student. She yells, snarls, and growls a lot in her fight sequences, as if she’s drawing on some monster inside her.

Star Wars (Guerra nas Estrelas BRA ou Guerra das Estrelas PRT) é uma franquia do tipo space opera estadunidense criada pelo cineasta George Lucas que conta com uma série de oito filmes de fantasia científica e dois spin-offs. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, também conhecido como Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, é uma futura space opera épica estadunidense de 2019. #starwars #RiseofSkywalker #Skywalker #darthvader #StarWarsIX #jedis
Determined Rey

On Acht-To, when Luke gave her that first lesson on the Force on the rock ledge, she went deep–deeper than he had expected, deep into both Light and Dark, which frightened him.

“You didn’t even try to stop yourself,” he said to her, eyes wide with fear. Rey had a (unbeknownst at this point) familial link to the Dark Side, almost an attraction that she couldn’t resist.

It’s ironic that Kylo, who was born to the Light, kept insisting that Rey surrender to the Dark Side, while even he hadn’t completely surrendered himself. Not really. He kept feeling the “pull to the Light”. He kept doing things that he thought would cement his commitment to the Dark. But he still felt “split to the bone,” in Snoke’s words.

Rey stubbornly refuses to surrender, even after her meeting with Dark Rey. She knows she comes from the Dark, senses the power she could have if she gave in to it; yet still plods on in the Light, determined to help her Resistance friends, and to face her grandfather, the Emperor.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker  releases early footage | Daily Mail Online
Dark Rey

In facing the Emperor, Rey not only hopes to defeat him and help the Resistance, but to also defeat the Darkness within herself. Or, perhaps not to defeat, but to accept and control. After all, she and Kylo are “dyads” meant to bring “balance” to the Force. Not all Light or all Dark, but to integrate the two, one needing the other.

The full import of her parents’ sacrifice comes into play here. In giving her up and putting her into hiding (and they being killed in the process), she was protected from the evil influence of her grandfather. She fully gets to choose who she wants to be, whether she follows the Light or the Dark.

This is in contrast to Kylo, who had heard the whisper of the devil in his ear from a very young age, confusing and twisting him.

The gift Rey’s parents gave her is incalculable. In being able to choose her destiny, Rey is prevented from being a victim (as in many respects Kylo can be seen); and, of course, is able to save the Galaxy!

At the end of TROS, when she names herself “Rey Skywalker”, she gives up on the idea of somebody else telling her who she is. She’s choosing her own identity. It doesn’t matter to me whether she called herself Rey Solo, Rey Skywalker, or even Rey Palpatine, if she wanted to. The point is, she chose.

That’s claiming a power almost as strong as the Force.

Rey yellow lightsaber from Rise of Skywalker
Rey Skywalker

How do you feel about Rey’s character? Did you like her story? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!