By G. P. Avants
Okay, this is a piece in a short series for my fellow Star Wars fans who were warm, indifferent, or downright “Sithfully” seething about the direction the Last Jedi took. So, I am surprised, but not really shocked that not everyone agreed with Disney’s director, Rian Johnson did with the Star Wars Franchise. What did sadden me was the rift that split the normally peaceful fandom alliance in half. Because I am a peacemaker at heart I wanted to try to find a way to bring peace to our neeky family. It got personal because one our own at God Among Geeks and our new podcast, Neekology 101, was not a happy camper with the new movie. We routinely sit down and talk about our likes and dislikes about a number of fandom features. But not everyone has this opportunity.
So, this piece and this short FORCE series will be a thoughtful look at specifics details through the main characters from The Last of the Jedi. I wanted to focus on the points that unhappy fans had about the film. I tend to look at the deeper issues and the bigger picture I feel are really being expressed. Again these are my thoughts and opinions. Please keep an open mind (I won’t do the Jedi mind trick on you) and on the end form your own opinion.
Ready to go?
Why was Rey so powerful with the Force? When we first met Rey in Force Awakens she was aware of the Jedi and the Sith what they could do. I am sure like most of the ordinary people in the galaxy she grew up hearing the tall tales and mythical stories about the struggles between the Jedi, Sith, First Order, and Resistance. Rey was walking into a land of living legends when she was whisked away from a nowhere place like Jakuu. She was one giant grin when she and Finn met up with a famous grizzled smuggler and his equally hairy co-pilot. “You’re THE Han Solo and this it the Millennium Falcon?” As her questioning continued she learned that the tall tales she learned about the Force were true as well. Rey’s world was rocked when she began to hear voices of destiny now calling her. She freaked out! Instead of embracing the wonders of Force she ran right into the arms of her enemies.
Rey was confused and didn’t understand what was happening to her. Why would this mysterious power start talking to her an nobody from nowhere? So, this wasn’t a great start to a path of destiny. Funny thing though, was when Kylo Ren began to pick her mind in order to discover Luke Skywalker’s location, he unknowingly flipped on the lightbulb in Rey’s head. Maybe seeing first hand how the Force can be misused showed Rey how it is really meant to work. Opening the door to something bigger than herself started with a crack, a peak before she was ready to walk through it.
The frustration with many fans was how was she able to mind control a stormtrooper, sense others’ presence, or even take on Kylo Ren with a lightsaber without any training. It makes me think of people who either have raw talent or spirit who try apply what other people they admire are doing. Again, Rey heard that Jedi can do certain things and she thought, well if the Force is calling me maybe it can help me do this. She made mistakes in her awkward untrained level. But at least she had the innocence or the trust to open herself up to the Force where others were hesitant.
Isn’t this called faith? The power does not reside in the person. They step out of their comfort zone and trust that they can be used. Yes, they make mistakes and at times take baby steps. As those who walk by faith know to grow means, you need training, failure, practice, and experience. But you have to first be open and then be willing to be trained to use your faith to interact with the world around you.
A curious thing happened when Rey met Luke. She came to find a Jedi attuned to the Force, but she found a fallen hero who lost his faith. Luke had in bitterness shut himself off from the Force. When Luke began to train Rey (for a maximum of three lessons) she saw a clearer picture of the balance of the Force. There is life and death, dark and light, joy, sorrow and the like. The Force is living and grows. It has expression and interaction with all creation. Humans and all sentient beings in this galaxy far, far, away are the pinnacle of creation. So, they have the special role as the voice, the hands, and feet of the Force. If they don’t do it who will?
If there are no more Jedi, and only one dark user tapping into the force, why wouldn’t Rey get a hefty crash course dose of force abilities? The Force needed the ones who will do what is right to protect the citizens of the galaxy from the evils that seek to destroy it. We do see clearly that there is good and evil. The Force is life and those who fight to use dark powers are dabbling in evil.
The Force sought our Rey to be able to set things right again, but in her own unique way. One thing we know is that she can face the dark side without fear. Maybe her humble beginnings, innocence, honest nature, and compassion are free from pride, fear, hate, and destruction that the dark side feeds on. That why she was not tempted or broken by her leap into the dark side pit. She wanted answers but she could still keep her mind and character without lugging the baggage of other tormented force users. Rey helps restore Luke’s faith, shake Kylo’s resolve, and forge a path for the small remnant of rebels that remain. She might very well be the hinge for the door to open for a new era of change in the galaxy.
In many ways, Rey is a Jesus type of character. A messiah can face the risks of life without succumbing to sin. They are willing to lay down their lives, turn others from sin, and fight the fights, face the darkness, and overcome like no one else can. There is a salvation being created for all those who will believe. A new generation of believers can rise from the brokenness and traps of their past when they too follow the path set before them.
She is still scared, but ready to learn. Rey took the old Jedi text because she knows there is a good foundation to build on. She is not there yet, but she is growing in her acceptance of her new role. Rey will have two Skywalkers to…walk beside her: Leia’s grounded diplomacy, and Luke’s spiritual guidance for the uncertain days ahead. The Force has plans for her.
Now, if you ask me and a certain sect of force believers like Lor San Tekka the Force is God. He is making sure that this story turns out well and it is not a wily nilly purpose driven tale. He enables his children and protects His creation. God keeps evil in check while using it to prepare his people for a greater eternal destiny. The Creator needed a hero to champion the cause of hope. Luke lost his hope. The galaxy lost its trust. Maybe one person with a little hope is what God is looking for. He enables them to do great things and to pass it on to others?
Rey, by her very name is a little light in a dark place. Sometimes that is all you need is one person shining their light so others can find their way back home.