Guest Post: Why Rey May Be The Next Big Bad in Star Wars

Today's post, the first guest post on the C&C blog, is brought to you by Steve Wetherell.

Spoilers ahead, ye who have yet to watch The Force Awakens. Well, by now youve either seen it or you dont like star wars and have no soul, so I guess I wont be ruining anything for you.

Rey has the potential to be the true bad guy in the new Star Wars franchise.

Pictured here stepping on the spine of a cat. (Luca Arts)

Pictured here stepping on the spine of a cat. (Luca Arts)

It occurred to me as I was counting the parallels between The Force Awakens and A New Hope (yes, theyre very similar, but then again, that circle they keep on going on about is complete, so its narratively excusable,) that Reys journey and Lukes journey are not really all that similar. Take a look at their character arcs:

In A New Hope, Lukes brave and a great pilot, sure, but thats about it. For the duration of the movie hes got Obi, Han and Leah telling him what to do, and the culmination of his limited training is trusting in the Force rather than a targeting computer that is synched with (possibly inaccurate) Death Star plans. It works out for him, but he certainly doesnt beat Vader. In Empire, were shown his potential, but also his fear and impatience as he abandons his training to try and rescue his friends. This doesnt work out for him at all, and he gets the shit royally kicked out of him. Then, with a bit of bad ass instilled in him by a good old fashioned daddy-whooping, he masters his Jedi abilities in time for Return of said Jedi. It still doesn’t quite work out for him, though, as every plan he comes up with seems to go tits up.

“  Prepare to die, Daddy Fett. Bobba! I meant Bobba Dad!  ”     (Lucas Arts)

Prepare to die, Daddy Fett. Bobba! I meant Bobba Dad! (Lucas Arts)

He only saves Vaders soul and defeats the Emperor by the grace of his mercy, earnestness and loyalty traits he had before Obi Wan came along.

Rey, on the other hand, isnt just a great pilot she knows more about the Millennium Falcon than Han Mother Fucking Solo just by replacing a few of its parts. Nobody gets to tell Rey what to do at any point (thats made quite clear in her early interactions with the well-meaning Finn). Her destiny is presented on a plate for her by Solo himself, and her birthright pretty much gift wrapped by Maz Kanata. They more or less say Here, you be the badass.

True to form, though, Rey rejects it until she can accept it on her own terms. And accept it she does, mastering Jedi techniques it took Luke three movies to learn in a matter of minutes. By the end of her first movie, shes far more naturally capable than anyone weve seen since.

This asshole. (Lucas Arts)

This asshole. (Lucas Arts)

Thats right, Reys not the new Luke, shes the new Anakin. There are a lot of similarities shes more or less a slave on a Tatooine like planet. Shes taken on board by characters who well and truly know what theyre doing and instantly place complete faith in her. And while she certainly doesnt have Kid Anakins Duh, did I do that? approach to saving the day, she falls into victory with little or no guidance. While Rey was very cool, I never felt her to be the underdog that was very much Finns department. And narratively, we love an underdog. So what is Reys next challenge?

Defeating Kylo Ren again? The beats of story telling suggest not.

Though we  ’  d be quite happy to see a Rocky style training montage of Kylo crying and smashing shit up with his lightsaber. (Lucas Arts)

Though wed be quite happy to see a Rocky style training montage of Kylo crying and smashing shit up with his lightsaber. (Lucas Arts)

A clue may lie in what Lukes been up to since RotJ. Its said that the First Order only arose when Luke went AWOL, so we can assume that he brought balance to the Force, if only for a while. Or maybe not, maybe he just scored a win for the light side, allowing the Alliance to legitimise, and the resistance to become a separate and not-quite-necessary-at-the-time entity. If this is true, then Kylo could have been the one to bring balance, using the tried and tested method of murdering the shit out of a Jedi school, heralding a resurgence of the dark side just like his grandpappy done did.

Luke, seeing a pattern, legs it.

So, the balance between light and dark is probably going to be achieved between Kylo and Rey, but Reys already the top dog in this fight. More likely her own true enemy is going to be herself. For all her badass, she shares Lukes weaknesses of fear and impatience, and Anakins weaknesses of stubbornness and deep rooted loneliness. Reys self-sabotage makes for a more interesting story than simply becoming the even besterer Jedi.

And Luke knows this. You can see it in his face. In their first confrontation, Rey looks like shes meeting Lemmy, and Luke looks like someone took a shit on his pancakes. He knows hes not the guy to be training anyone he never even finished his own training, and his last class got murdered by someone who apparently got better advice elsewhere.

“  You know what works? Murder.  ”     (Lucas Arts)

You know what works? Murder. (Lucas Arts)

Thing is, though, this might just be the thing that does bring balance to the Force, eventually. Obi Wans self confidence and the complacency of the Jedi order sewed the seeds of galactic destruction in the prequels. Luke, in his achieving victory through failing the expectations of his trainers, by giving in to the trappings of love, opens the possibility that he perhaps harbours a more conducive philosophy for maintaining a balance between light and dark. His training of Rey might just be the thing that saves her.

Though, thinking about it, the Jedi have an absolutely awful track record of saving anything. They couldn  ’  t save a fucking Word document. (Lucas Arts)

Though, thinking about it, the Jedi have an absolutely awful track record of saving anything. They couldnt save a fucking Word document. (Lucas Arts)

After she rejects it to follow her own agenda, which she surely will. Then its up to Finn to remind her what love is. But thatll only happen if Poe hasnt put the moves on him yet, which is inevitable. Is it inevitable that Finn will succumb to said moves? Yes. Have you seen Poe? Finn doesnt stand a chance. Anyway, Ive gone off on a homoerotic tangent. Bye!

Afterthought; It also seems likely that Kylo's reluctant journey to the light side will be entangled with Rey's dalliances in darkness. At least, I hope so. Though, again, I will happily take a sequel wherein he spends all his time in his room listening to The Cure.

Steve Wetherell is an author with DeadPixel Publications and a regular on the Authors and Dragons podcast. Find him here on Facebook, here on Twitter, and here on Amazon.