Settle in, all ye fellow nerds, because I'm about to launch a thesis on the Rey and Kylo Ren's connection in The Last Jedi, now that the first trailer has officially been dropped. While it has been clear since before The Force Awakens was even released that there was a dual nature to Rey and Kylo Ren as archetypes, it is in this latest installment that it seems that fans will finally get a clearer picture of how it will affect the two of them — and, for better or for worse, the fate of the galaxy. (No big thang.)
We leave Rey and Kylo Ren at the end of The Force Awakens on a rather grim note; after Kylo Ren asks Rey to let him teach her the ways of the Force, she adamantly refuses, and channels the power of the Light to subdue him long enough to get off-planet with Finn and leave Kylo Ren with a big ole face scar. Even in their few interactions, though, it is clear that Kylo Ren and Rey's dealings with each other will be pivotal to this series, as arguably they are more powerful in the Force than anyone aside from Snoke (barring Luke, who says himself in the trailer that there needs to be an end to Jedi).
Before the trailer dropped, Lucasfilm confirmed the connection between Rey and Kylo Ren on StarWars.com, which came to light this past February :
On Takodana, Skywalker’s lightsaber called to Rey, who experienced a Force vision. She rejected this call to destiny, but was captured by the dark side warrior Kylo Ren, with whom she shared a strange connection. Kylo took Rey to Starkiller Base, where he tried to understand her rapidly growing powers. With Finn in peril, she escaped and took up Skywalker’s lightsaber – and the quest to find the Jedi master.
What exactly that means, though, has never been quite so clear — at least until the release of the trailer, and the soon-to-be-iconic poster depicting Luke, Rey, and Kylo Ren.
The first thing noticeable in this poster is, of course, that Rey is wielding a saber that seems every bit as committed to the Light as it is the Dark; it is also double-hilted, similar to Kylo Ren's (an important note I will come back to later). It is clear both from Rey's voiceovers in the trailer saying she sees both "light" and "darkness" and the fraught imagery of her throughout that both the Light and the Dark Side of the Force will wrestle for control in her. But never is that quite so clear as the juxtaposition of Luke, who represents the disillusioned Light, and Kylo Ren, who represents the doubtful Dark, in this poster — because not only, it seems, will Rey be fighting an internal war with herself, but will be influenced by both of these characters who are already so strong and practiced with the Force.
As Daisy Ridley mentioned that Rey's relationship to Luke isn't what Rey necessarily expects, hinting at tension between the two characters, it isn't entirely off-base to suggest that Luke might not want to teach Rey in the ways of the Force after all. He is still grieving the loss of his padawans, and his words in the trailer seem to indicate that he doesn't want them to get involved. Who in the galaxy, then, would be suited to teach Rey how to manipulate the Force, if not Kylo Ren himself?
Of course, there's no reason for Rey to go to Kylo Ren for anything, right? Enter: the mysterious connection.
We see in the trailer this image of a symbol:
Look at that symbol. Now look back up at the poster. Now look back at this symbol.
It seems reasonable to guess that whatever the "strange connection" Rey shares with Kylo Ren might have something to do with this imagery, which is echoed in the hilt of Kylo Ren's lightsaber and the latest poster. If the two of them truly are the key to bringing balance back to the Force and defeating Snoke (I mean, I hope), then this will no doubt play a pivotal role in it.
The trouble is, why would Rey go to Kylo Ren for help with anything in the first place? The answer may lie in a rather grim screencap from the trailer, which appears to be an image of Rey falling to her knees beside R2-D2 in the face of what could be the destruction of a temple on Ach-To, the planet where she finds Luke — and may also indicate the death of Luke Skywalker.
Even if Luke does survive this installment, it may be his reluctance to teach her and that tension that between them that Daisy Ridley hinted at that drives just enough of a wedge that Rey considers Kylo Ren's offer in a new light (dark? Sorry, sorry). At best, she ends up leaning toward the Dark in an attempt to sabotage Snoke; at worst, she is really and truly tempted by it, and eventually joins Kylo Ren. My best bet is that she will end up somewhere in between those two, because this much is clear based on the imagery of Rey in the poster and the trailer: she will be influenced by the Dark Side in this next film, for better or for worse.