November 14, 2017
What We Can Learn About Kylo Ren and Rey From Jaina and Jacen Solo
Star Wars is steeped in wildly esoteric lore. Though Disney stripped down the expanded world of the Star Wars universe when they took control of Lucasfilm, fans of the franchise and its expansive decades-deep landscape still use the framework set up by the books and comics to theorize on what might happen next and who we might see appear in the current Star Wars canon. Ever since the first The Force Awakens rumors started creeping around the internet, there were rumblings that the film might include two of the expanded universe’s most pivotal characters: Jaina and Jacen Solo. Though the pair never materialized, their story may well be able to give us insight into the future of another pair in the new trilogy: Rey and Kylo Ren.
This post contains observations taken from the trailers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you’re remaining spoiler-free, turn back now.
Who are Jaina and Jacen Solo?
In the world of the expanded universe, everyone’s favorite smuggler and the galaxy’s most beloved princess had three beautiful bouncing babies. Those children were twins, Jaina and Jacen, and their younger brother, Anakin. Jaina and Jacen were a huge part of the EU, first appearing in Timothy Zahn’s The Last Command in ’93. During the final part of Zahn’s trilogy, Leia finally gave birth to to the twins on Coruscant.
Though they now existed in the universe, it wasn’t until 1995’s Young Jedi Knights series when the twins truly came to prominence, starring in 14 titles centered around their adventures and experiences at Luke’s Jedi academy. Over the decades, the twins were a part of many an important storyline in the EU, but it’s their overriding arcs and eventual fates which could really help us discover the truth about Rey and Kylo.
What have they got to do with Rey and Kylo Ren?
From the first moment that it was revealed that Kylo Ren was in fact Ben Solo, Han and Leia’s estranged son, EU fans were seeing reflections of the Solo’s other de-canonised first son, Jacen. We know it’s clear that Rey and Kylo are unlikely to be twins, but a popular fan theory is that they’re secretly brother and sister. Though it would be slightly complex for the filmmakers to explain, it wouldn’t be impossible.
The most likely theory is that Han and Leia’s other child was thought to be dead after the massacre of the Knights of Ren, causing Luke’s self-imposed exile and the breakdown of Leia and Han’s relationship, a couple so devastated by that loss that they refuse to even mention it. It would explain Han’s immediate attempt to connect with and create a life with Rey. He was replacing the daughter he’d lost so many years ago. We all know that Kylo has struggled to truly commit to the Dark Side, often tempted back to the Light. So could he have secretly saved his younger sister who was training alongside him? The fact that Kylo and Rey’s stories so heavily reflect the Solo twins has constantly fuel the fan theory flames.
What are the similarities?
In the original books, Jaina and Jacen trained under Luke at his Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4 – after being sent away by their parents just like Kylo – as part of a new era of Jedi following the eradication of the legendary warriors during the Empire’s purge. In The Force Awakens, it’s revealed that Kylo was being trained by his uncle who was preparing a “new generation of Jedi.” Though they never mention that Rey was being trained by Luke, or even acknowledge her background, we do see Luke and the Knights of Ren during her Force vision. Could it be that the memories unleashed by the Lightsaber were in fact Rey’s rather than Luke’s? In that case, it would be safe to say that Rey was likely training under Luke alongside Kylo as young child before she was dropped off on Jakku.
Kylo’s descent into the Dark Side seems to echo that of Jacen. He was trained by his legendary uncle to become a famed Jedi warrior and hero of the Galactic Empire, only to betray his family and friends when he turned to the Dark Side like his grandfather, Darth Vader, in a twisted attempt to bring order to the splintered sects of the Galaxy. Though Jacen was the son of Han and Leia, he would be forever remembered as Sith Lord Darth Caedus rather than the name he was born with, just like The Force Awakens‘ very own Ben Solo.
Jaina Solo was a strong Jedi and a powerful force of good in the Galaxy, taking on talents from her mother and father, both Force sensitive and a dab hand at fixing anything of the mechanical variety. Like Rey, she was also a talented pilot. And much like how the trailers for The Last Jedi suggest a flirtation with the dark side for Rey, Jaina was also perilously close to the Dark Side after the death of her younger brother. Many fervent Star Wars observers have suggested that Rey might be on the wrong path, spurred on by Luke’s apparent dismissal of her. If this is the case, we could still see Rey eventually redeemed just like Jaina was in the EU books, ready to save the galaxy and defeat her evil brother.
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