Just a quick post to let y'all know that I was on Connections with Evan Dawson on NPR this afternoon. Evan had myself (in my role as a dramaturge), WallByrd artistic director Virginia Monte, and performer/scholar Jamie Tyrrell on the show to chat about issues related to putting on plays like The Taming of the Shrew in the era of the #MeToo movement. Jamie, Virginia, and I started the conversation 20 minutes before even going up to the studio, and continued the conversation long after the show had ended (I think the ladies at the front desk of WXXI thought we had moved into the lobby permanently, haha).
See below for a link to listen to the show, if you are so inclined, and a couple of photos from the visit!
Now back to the dissertation revision!
Link to the show: HERE
Or go to the web address directly:
In the interests of getting SOMETHING up on the blog, I figured I would bring out this theory I cooked up right after seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the second time. I originally posted this on Buzzfeed Community, but with The Last Jedi only a few months away, I figured now was a good time to bring back my theory and see if I was right. Once I come back up for air in a few weeks, I will have a relative flurry of new posts on a range of things, including more theater reviews, a write up of my Cinematic Shakespeares class, a long overdue affirmation post, and a post about race and small town America that I’ve been working on for a while. Until then, let’s get our dweeb on with some Star Wars theories!
After seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the second time many months back, I began to notice a few details that might foreshadow a TOTAL shock moment in the next film (December’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
Here’s my guess: Kylo Ren (aka: Ben Solo) is NOT in fact Han and Leia's son. He is Luke Skywalker's son.
Wait, you say. That makes no sense. The film told us explicitly on several occasions that Kylo Ren was Han and Leia's son, right? Yes. It did. A New Hope also told us on several occasions that Darth Vader killed Luke's father and that Luke and Leia could be a romantic couple. The new trilogy is all about paying homage to the narrative structure of the original, and the original set up a LOT of misdirection in A New Hope in order to set up some epic reveals in Empire.
So why do I think Kylo Ren is really Luke's son? Let's start with the name "Ben." In the expanded universe, Luke and EU flame Mara Jade had a son named Ben (who, after being mentioned in SEVERAL of the novels, was finally born in Greg Keyes' Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, Edge of Victory II, Rebirth--the only thing longer than that child's gestation period was the title of the novel that depicted his birth). It made sense. Obi Wan Kenobi was a mentor to Luke. But why on earth would Han and Leia call their kid Ben? Leia never actually MET Kenobi, and Han only knew him for a few hours. They also BOTH knew him as "Obi Wan Kenobi." Only Luke knew him as Ben, and had the kind of relationship where he would name a child after him.
So why would Han and Leia be raising Luke's child as their own? Because Jedi aren't supposed to get married or have kids. Luke can't walk away from his responsibility as a Jedi--not when he's the only one left. My argument is that he had the child, and asked his sister and best friend to raise it as their own so that he could fulfill his obligation AND be in the life of his child. It would be important for all involved to keep it mum, though.
Connecting to this is the theory that Rey is Han and Leia's natural daughter. She is the epitome of her two parents merged together. I think she was at the Jedi academy when Ren wiped out the other students, and Luke chose to save her over the others, as a Sith must kill someone important to them to truly cross over to the dark side. This is part of the reason Vader was able to be redeemed. He THOUGHT he killed Padme, but he didn't. He also didn't kill Kenobi, who ended his own life (for just that reason, I believe). Thus, Luke sacrificed his other students in order to save his niece (and in a way, his son). He knew his niece would always be in danger if Ren knew about her survival or location, so he had to hide her.
Where did he hide her? A desert planet. With an old friend (remember the opening scene and the description of that character from the text scroll?) living just across the dune to keep an eye on her. And this old friend also happened to be the one who had the map segment that could lead to Luke… It's a mirror image of the way Kenobi stashed Luke on Tattoine. Luke himself couldn't fill the Obi-Wan role for two key reasons: he had massive guilt over sacrificing his other students to save his own family, and he had to hide Rey's presence/survival from both Ren AND Rey's parents (Han and Leia).
The connection between Han/Leia and Rey is clear. Han IMMEDIATELY takes to Rey, as if she reminds him of someone he had lost. He even tells Leia about "the girl" immediately upon their reunion (the First Order is blowing up star systems, and Han's first order of business is to tell Leia about a junk scrounger he met along the way?). Add to that the scene between Han and Maz where she JUST finishes describing how she can recognize the eyes of people across generations, and then looks right at Han and says, knowingly, "Who's the girl?" AND she gives Rey the lightsaber. It looks at first like she reacts to the saber because it is described as belonging to Luke and his father before him. This leads us to think that she is Luke's daughter. But if she is Han and Leia's daughter, she STILL has the familial connection to the saber, as it once belonged to her grandfather.
When Leia actually sees Rey for the first time, they share a real embrace (if it were one of mourning over Han, Leia would have been hugging Chewbacca, not this girl that knew her husband for about a day and a half). Leia, as a mother and as an adept of the force, IMMEDIATELY recognizes Rey as the daughter she thought dead.
So even with all this--the fact that A New Hope included these kinds of misdirections, the little details that support the theory,etc--why would they do this in THIS movie? I think they are seeding the film with fake/less important mysteries (who are Rey's parents, who is Snoke, etc etc) to distract from this bigger mystery. The payoff, much like the original trilogy (again, the stated desire to pay homage to the originals) would come in the The Last Jedi. As Luke goes to confront Kylo Ren--the latter now thinking himself FULLY crossed over to the dark side--Luke insists that Kylo can still be saved. Kylo laughs in Luke's face, and delivers a line along the lines of "You think you can turn me? I KILLED my father!" To which Luke, looking sad, responds:
"No, Ben. I am your father."
And the theater explodes in roars of nerdgasm.
I think this is how it has to work out in the next film. Search your feelings. You know it is true.
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