kylo ren

explanation of the finn-ale!

I decided to post this Star Wars fanfic-like thingy on Reddit. It didn’t go down well (sigh) but I did explain in the comments why I had Finn and the others face those particular obstacles. So I thought I’d write that explanation here as well:

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Here is my thinking: I want Finn and Rey to do more to fix the mistakes of the generations that came before them. They don’t really get that in the movies, even though the whole original Star Wars trilogy is about redeeming the past.

So in this scenario Rey represents Anakin. She’s hotheaded and she’s blinded to the long-term consequences of her actions. But instead of giving in to the dark side because of the desire to keep a loved one alive, she respects the wishes of her loved one while Anakin did not.

Finn represents Padme. He understands what evil is and has a strong sense of justice. Rey turning to the dark side would be a path he could not follow. So he refuses to let her do it, even if it means his own death. We already know he’s a self-sacrificing person (see: the Battle of Crait) and here he gets the agency in death (or not death as it turns out) that Padme did not.

Kylo/Ben represents… well, himself, but also Vader in a sense. But here he’s posed with a choice different to the one Darth Vader had all those years ago. It’s easy to save your own child. It’s less easy to save a person who hates you, who the woman you love would chose over you in a heartbeat. Saving one person isn’t necessarily a redemption, I never thought it was with Darth Vader either. But I think that for Kylo, saving Finn would be more of a redemption than saving Rey was. There is after all absolutely nothing in it for him.

I left it open as to whether Finn is Force-sensitive or not because I feel like it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jedi but it does matter if you’re a good person, and that’s the other thing Finn represents here. That’s the most important thing he represents here – it’s not your lineage that makes you important, or your Force sensitivity, it’s whether or not you’re willing to be heroic.

And to me that was always one of the biggest things of Star Wars, and I feel like the sequel trilogy dropped the ball there a bit. That’s also why Han is there at the end. It always really bugged me, the idea that non-Force users would never become ghosts, might not even have the same afterlife as their Force-using loved ones even.

(I have absolutely no idea if this was covered in the wider Star Wars universe. I pretty much just stick to the movies.)

Now the galaxy is saved and if a new Jedi order does go forward it will be a very different one. Why? Because an ex-stormtrooper decided to stand up and fight even though he had almost no chance of survival.

And that’s what I wanted to happen with Finn.

A Finn-ale

So after the John Boyega interview where he rightly complained about Finn being sidelined, I wondered, there must have been a way to write him into the Rise of Skywalker finale and de-sideline him, surely?

So what I would have done is this:

Finn goes with Rey to Exegol. (From here on, Finn’s original role in the movie is taken by Rose.) He has a lightsaber with him, Luke’s lightsaber, which counts as his now. Rey has Leia’s. He’s completely untrained but willing to fight to defend the galaxy anyway. Even if he’s not necessarily Force-sensitive, he’s still willing.

There, Palpatine immediately captures Finn, realising right away that he must mean something to his granddaughter. He torments Rey by telling her this wouldn’t be the first time he’d turned someone into a Sith by using their love for another.

Palpatine shocks Finn once with Force lightening and this is enough to make Rey crumble. She tells Palpatine that he can do whatever he wants, just spare Finn. There you go, almost the exact same way Anakin fell…

…except Finn isn’t having it. From behind whatever Force-field Palpatine has him in he tells Rey that he would rather die than see her become a Sith and the galaxy in darkness. He tells her he’s spent all his life trying to find agency and he’s damn well not about to let it go now, even in the face of death. Hey turns out Rey and Finn were the Anakin and Padme of their generation, not the Han and Leia, except they’re not about to make the same mistakes.

Palpatine just laughs evilly at this, as he usually does, and is about to deliver the killing blow to Finn but THEN Ben Solo enters the picture! He strikes Palpatine from behind, causing enough damage to free Finn from his clutches. Now the game has changed! Rey, Finn and Ben go 3-1 against Palpatine (albeit probably with some confusion on Finn’s part as to why Kylo Ren is there.) They’re doing pretty well for the first few minutes! Then Palpatine aims some lightening at Rey. Finn somehow deflects it away from her but instead it hits him full-on.

Rey thinks he’s dead and is horrified and grief-stricken, but she can hear the voice of Anakin Skywalker in her head telling her not to give into her rage. She listens, and Ben can not only feel her emotions but suddenly hear the voice of his grandfather as well. This distracts him so much Palpatine is able to shove him into the pit and remove him from the fight.

NOW Rey, all alone and thinking her true love (Finn, not Ben) is dead, finds herself able to do what it took Anakin a lifetime to understand. With all the ghosts of all the Jedi working through her, she calls on the Light Side and defeats Palpatine once and for all. Only then does she run to Finn and allow her emotions to take over. He definitely appears to be dead and she sobs while holding him.

Then Ben comes climbing up out of the pit. He looks at the scene before him and realises what he has to do. Without a single word said, he kneels down and he Force-heals Finn. Rey watches in bewilderment. Finn sits up with a gasp, instantly falling into Rey’s arms. Rey exchanges a look of intense gratitude with Ben and then realises he’s given all of his lifeforce over to Finn. He’s dying. She takes his hand, but does not kiss him, as he dies and disappears.

At the end of the movie both Rey and Finn (and BB8) return to Tatooine. Finn wonders how he was able to deflect the lightening away from Rey back on Exegol, and Rey ponders that maybe it’s a person’s willingness to sacrifice, rather than any training or even any Force sensitivity, that makes them a true Jedi. She names herself “Skywalker” and Finn says he would like that name as well, which sounds an awful lot like a proposal.

The sun sets as Luke, Leia AND HAN watch the new generation from the afterlife. All is finally well in the galaxy.

-The end.

gffa:

The Skywalker Legacy documentary | The Rise of Skywalker novelization

I have struggled with Ben Solo’s character a lot and, through The Rise of Kylo Ren comic, I finally came to a place of understanding the character as someone who never really had any idea what he was supposed to do or what path he was supposed to be on, that everything else, even when important elements that factored into his motivations, was window dressing for the real underlying thing about him:  He’s just never known what he was supposed to do and he’s careened from one bad choice to the next to try to find it.

What I mean by that is, in the comics, Ben cites that the weight of legacy drove him to many of his decisions, but even within the comic itself, he contradicts that and, when listening to Driver talk about the character, it’s not mentioned at all.  Oh, I have no doubt it was a factor of Ben’s choices, but it wasn’t the actual problem–the problem was that he never knew what he was supposed to do, what path he was supposed to be on, and he never really did the hard look into himself to figure that out.

So I actually really loved what the novelization presents as his reasons for wanting to turn Rey, why he wants to bring her to the dark side.  That it’s justification for his latest careening choice, that he’s still see-sawing at that point, it’s ambiguous what he’s supposed to do, and even during the fight on Pasaana, he has no idea what that is.

He’s trying to justify it, trying to think that if he kills the light in her, then he’ll be killing the light in himself and he’s SO ANGRY that she’s resisting this pull to the dark, because it makes him question what some part of him already knows is a bullshit choice and the bullshit actions that have led him to where he is.

I think that’s what makes him somewhat different from Anakin–who knew the right choices, he just buried them so far in himself that they were little more than embers that no one could reach, not until Luke (or Leia), who didn’t know the good person that had been murdered to become Vader, that he could tolerate their affection in ways he couldn’t with Obi-Wan or Ahsoka.  Anakin absolutely had the wisdom to make better choices (the “Bad Batch” arc of TCW shows that with startling clarity), but didn’t.  I’m not so sure that Ben Solo ever managed to get that wisdom.

Because, in contrast, Ben seems to genuinely just not have any flipping idea what he’s supposed to be doing.  He’s never had the answer.

Whether that’s because he refused to acknowledge the answer or because he just could never parse any of this stuff in his head or it’s some murky combination of the two (which is what it usually is, especially when he’s had Palpatine’s voice in his ear for so long, but we also saw Tai directly telling him that he wasn’t doing the hard work of really understanding himself, which is essential for who a Jedi is, showing that Ben was ignoring the training on some level), this is someone who genuinely seems to just have no clue and is desperately trying to commit to any path that he thinks might be the answer.

So he see-saws back and forth, there’s nothing but ambiguity for him.  He does terrible, monstrous things as Kylo Ren, he’s angry that his mother still loves him and that he can feel it in The Last Jedi, he’s been fighting his father’s memory since The Force Awakens, he thinks he can’t go back to his mother, but Leia dies trying to reach him one last time, even Rey knows that he’s wrong about how he can go back to her.

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Ben Solo makes sense to me as someone who has no internal sense of what the right path for him is and he’s so tortured by this that he’s willing to do terrible things or listen to terrible voices in his head (voices that preyed on him, voices that deliberately attacked a vulnerable young man, that is absolutely a factor, but that cannot take away all of Ben’s agency in his own choices, especially given the people he’s gone on to hurt or kill and at least some deep down part of him knows that his family loved him, that’s part of why he’s so angry at them) that he keeps trying to justify all of this in an attempt to finally feel things have clicked into place inside him.

Only by letting go of all of it, the desperately trying to force one path or another, trying to impose his will on the galaxy around him, of trying to force Rey to the dark side because he’s angry that she’s trying to stay true to the light, that she’s resisting the dark, that it makes him question himself, especially given their connection, only then can he find the sense of internal rightness he’s been searching for his whole life.

And, honestly.  As Anakin’s grandson, “careening from one bad decision to the next because he has no goddamned idea what he’s actually supposed to be doing and he’s desperately trying to make this path the right one for him, until he finally lets go of all of that internal bullshit and does something for someone else even at the cost to himself” is pretty fitting.

Kylo Ren looking great for Season 2 of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures

I really do love this Kylo Ren design. Heck, I love all of them. They’re perfect.

Mori Mole’s Star Wars and other Geek Stuff

So if you haven’t heard by now, season 2 of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures has dropped on Youtube, and we are getting some great content with Kylo Ren and his grandfather Darth Vader, as well as a lovely one of Rey, and a short video of a new The Rise of Skywalker era adventure with Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca and BB-8.

I’ve put together my fave pics of Kylo Ren so far, I’ll add more later.

Just some super lovely shots of Kylo Ren just being Kylo. I can’t say enough how I love these cartoons.

Darth Vader and his grandson Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo

Rey also has a short, and she is beautiful in it as well.

Just Rey looking utterly magnificent.

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The Full Set of Posters for ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ in Homage to the Original Trilogy

These! Are! Fantastic!

(I really like old-style movie posters.)

Phantasy Studio:

Star Wars has some of my favorite posters in cinema. Because I love them so much, I decided to recreate them featuring characters and themes from the Sequel Trilogy. And since I have paid homage to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, the full set is complete!

UZuri

I am so happy that I was able to illustrate these posters. Creating them helped me understand poster design more, allowed me to illustrate a multitude of characters at once, and has inspired me to continue creating posters in the future.

I especially love the color palettes used in each piece. The first uses vibrancies in pink, blue, yellow, and green, while the posters in homage to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi uses blue heavily but they still differentiate themselves from each other.

Until next time!

Art Credit 2020: Phantasy Studio…

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Spacecest

So – is there any point warning for Star Wars spoilers anymore? – at the end of Rise of Skywalker, this kiss happens.

(gif from here. I guess there’s a camrip of the movie already?)

I’m not a Reylo shipper, but it was effective, I guess. Adam Driver’s acting in that scene was stellar, which made it mostly worth it overall. Except. EXCEPT

Rey and Ben are related! (Probably.)

So in a canonical Star Wars comic from last year, this scene happens,

which seems to confirm the Palpatine = technically Anakin’s father theory that’s been in the air ever since Revenge of the Sith came out. Okay cool! But Palpatine is also Rey’s grandfather, and Anakin is Ben’s…

See? You see what I mean?!

Why’s the question mark there? Well, because some of the Star Wars story people (holy heck, that’s a job? Sweet) have come out and said Palpatine is absolutely not Anakin’s father and all that stuff in the comic was a vision or a metaphor etc etc etc, but… it’s Star Wars. There’s pretty much no strict canon at all anymore, so heck, let’s assume that purely based on Palpatine’s Revenge of the Sith speech and the fact that he keeps calling Anakin “son” that he’s his, uh, I guess “Force Dad.”

So what does this make Rey and Ben? I have no idea, but let’s just say they’re closely enough related that they probably shouldn’t be kissing. (And that’s even without getting into the weirdness of Ben’s parents constantly serving as surrogate parents to Rey.)

Luke and Leia would be so proud.

Ben Solo The Rise of Skywalker Animation — Darkside Creative

It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of Ben Solo that I’ve seen and I just had to animate it! I added the blue lighting to signify Ben’s turn to the light in the final act.

Ben Solo The Rise of Skywalker Animation — Darkside Creative

Ahh, this is so pretty. Adam Driver’s face is also pretty, in the most delightfully inexplicable of ways.