I'm calling it. Rey is going to turn to the dark side. (for reals)
I was not exactly on board with this scenario when it first came to rise in the fandom, in fact I thought it was kind of a cheap shot. The more I think about it though, the more I see that there may be more than a possibility of this actually happening.
FYI, this theory post will not address who Rey actually is but focus purely on why I think she will turn to the dark side. Also, I am in the camp that she will obviously return to the light side. I do not want to speculate how long she will be on the dark side, only why she might initially turn. Also, some of this is perhaps unpopular opinions so you have been warned.
First of all, the music. Yes yes I know, why start here, but it is actually quite important.
There are many similarities between Rey’s theme and Anakin’s theme from episode 1. I know people don’t want to go there (ugh prequels) but the fact remains that both are composed by the same guy, John Williams. One thing he is really good at is foreshadowing and in Anakin’s theme he does this in spades. If you listen to both themes side by side, you start to notice that both are innocent in harmony and melody. Quite light and slightly romantic (musical term not the emotion). But as the pieces come to a close, they both slow down the theme and take on a darker, slower, quieter and yet almost sadder form. As if alluding towards what is to come.
As a music uni student I have listened to the soundtrack of TFA countless times but always found the way Rey’s theme ended to be confusing. With Anakin’s theme there is no confusion, we already know where the young Skywalker is heading, but with Rey we don’t. However listening to both themes gives me the same feeling - the feeling of foreboding, of something darker coming along to extinguish the innocence of these central characters. By assuming that Rey’s path is heading towards a darker path, her theme instantly makes more sense - it is also interesting to note that it starts in major but ends in minor, just like Anakin’s.
The second thing I would like to address is Rey’s character. What I find extraordinary is that if we peel away the surface, Rey is actually a much more likely candidate to be a villain than Ben Solo/Kylo Ren.
Now you must be thinking, WHAT?! but just bare with me. Aside from circumstances, looking purely at their characters, Rey is in fact far more dangerous and darker than Kylo Ren.
At the beginning of the film we see that she is always alone. She has no contact with other people and therefore nobody cares for her (at least that is how it seems). It is also interesting to note that all three main characters start off wearing masks (Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren). When BB8 insists on staying with her we see that she struggles to show kindness and generosity - she’s actually rather cynical, a bit like Han Solo, who, before becoming a hero, originally starts off pretty much as an anti-hero. When Finn asks if she’s ok when they are being attacked on Jakku, she is confused, wondering why he is asking the question.
It is almost as if she does not recognise human kindness or generosity. What she is familiar with is loneliness, pain, and struggle. This is what she has in common with Kylo Ren, which is why the interrogation scene is so nuanced.
In contrast, Kylo Ren is the opposite. He is naive, knows very little about real life struggle since he was born into a well off family and obviously he abandoned his own family by choice, as opposed to Rey, who’s own family abandoned her (at least for now it appears that way). He is also sentimental, and surprisingly vulnerable. It is in fact Rey who is the more cynical one, not Ren. He is more emotional than her, feels more than her. If he was cynical like Rey, he would not care whether his parents were alive or not, it would not matter as far as his path to the dark side. He would also not struggle so much between the light and dark.
Rey on the other hand suffers no internal conflict. Twice she defeats Kylo Ren and in both cases, the director does not depict them as victories, like when the Death Star gets blown up. The music (again yes music haha) ends in the lower registers and seems to suggest the dark side. And it is played with the scenes ending on Rey’s face as the focus, NOT Kylo Ren. It is also key to realise that as the audience, we are unaware of which side of the force Rey and Kylo are using during their battle (at least in the film they keep it nebulous). The use of the force is not as clear cut as it is when we see Vader and Yoda using the force in their respective scenes.
After all, if Rey really was a light side user, wouldn’t the title be ‘the light awakens’ or ‘the jedi awaken’?
The LEGO game gave another huge reveal and was very explicit. Kylo Ren states clearly that he feels the dark side in Rey. One can argue that every sith Jedi Padawan etc has both sides of the force within them but it is interesting to note that since Rey defeated Kylo Ren so easily, this suggests that she potentially has more of the dark side in her than Kylo Ren.
It may even be that they will eventually switch sides, with Kylo Ren turning to the light.
In many ways, Rey turning to the dark side would make sense. She struggles with remaining in the light while Kylo struggles with remaining in the dark. Who knows, they may even be revealed to be grey jedi.
She has suffered more than Kylo so she would have a much easier time tapping into the dark side than he currently does I think.
On the other hand, she holds hope (something she shares with Luke Skywalker - both dreaming of a better future) and this is key. She will return to the light eventually, of that I am sure.
But we all know that the middle episode (or 2nd movement of a symphony, as Kershner put it) is always where the struggle happens, where conflict occurs. In other words, where everything goes to shit.
And if the protagonist and villain switched places then…. well….. yeah, I think that’s a big enough ‘i am your father’ moment for me personally.
If we take the rumor going around about the force tree and origin story of the force (about the light side girl and dark side boy) I can totally see a convo between Luke and Ben Solo going like this.
AFTER REY TURNS TO THE DARK SIDE AND KYLO TO THE LIGHT
“Ben Solo…… at last……….. you have finally returned.”
“Yes, I’m afraid I misinterpreted.”
“You see, I believed you to be the boy in the story. The one from the dark side, who betrayed the ones he loved. However, I was wrong. You were never the boy in the story. How could you be, with so much light struggling to get out inside of you. No…. but her…”
“I don’t understand. I chose to fall to the dark side, I still-”
“Didn’t you listen properly when I told you the story all those years ago? Those children didn’t chose anything. They felt a pull, the natural pull of the force, forever separating them, putting them on different paths. You chose, yes. You chose to ignore the call to the light, for the sake of legacy, because you felt that your grandfather was proof of your true calling. Rey needed none of that. I felt it the first time I saw her, just as you probably did. The prescence of the dark side within her. You may have chosen to fall to the dark side, but Rey never chose. She was called to. She was called to the dark, just as you have always been called to the light, despite the conflict within you.”
Okay, so I get a little ocd with my iTunes library, but all of the different art for the 6 released albums made me grumpy…so I fixed them! I wanted something simple, and luckily the names of the movies are iconic on their own, so I didn’t need to include the logo as well.
They’re all hi-res pngs, so please feel free to drag and use them for your own libraries. Credit for online sharing is always appreciated =]