By G.P. Avants
We are back in the galaxy far far away. From moments after the iconic crawl. Kylo Ren is wreaking havoc afraid that his First Order dynasty is about to be stolen from him. While at the same time he fights with his force attraction to Rey. The line between love and hate has never been stronger in his life.
However. behind scenes the shadow of the Sith has been growing, but from an unexpected and long-dead place, the throne of Emperor Palpatine. Hidden in the outer reaches, on the solitary Sith world of Exigol, he has been planning, plotting, and perverting the mind of Ben Solo. Palpatine knows all to well how to turn heroes or potential ones, from the path of the light side. He feeds their fears that nobody understands them (like he does) and being a special person means you are unique, misunderstood and…all alone.
By now we all know that Rey is a Palpatine, more specifically and eerily , the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine himself. Rey’s identity was hidden for many reasons and the revealing of it threatened to kill that hopeful spark of hope in bRey. How would you feel as a hero who is already struggling with direction and purpose to be told that they are related to the most hated and feared person in the galaxy? Would you feel like throwing it all in, burn your only ship home, and isolate yourself from the rest of the galaxy? Who else could relate with that burden?
But isn’t our life more about our character, choices, and decisions and not what DNA we have inherited? There is a cycle, a pattern of behavior, or a family curse we are told we are destined to inherit. Yet, people have changed their stars and ventured into places where no one has gone before.
Here is where these two Palpatine’s have chosen different paths that have defined them?
Emperor Palpatine hungers for power. He is utterly consumed by gathering people around him, not to satisfy his loneliness, but to build up his own inflated Sith ego. Because you know in his mind the galaxy and all the citizens that inhabit it, exist solely to obey. and serve his wishes. Ask all his dark acolytes who sing Palpatine’s (the sum of all Sith) praises.
Rey hungers for purpose. She is consummed by gathering people around her to no longer be alone, but part of a loving family she never had. Rey humbly tries to be the Jedi that the rebuilding Rebellion needs her be. In her mind she is a servant wanting to satisfy the destiny the Force has asked her to do. Finn, Poe, Chewbacca,BB8 and so many others sing her praises as a fast friend that fight side-by-side with her to the very end.
Rey even does one better on old Paps. She loves her enemies. Even before she found out that she and Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo were part of once in millennium connection, she fought to set him free from the darkside. Rey saw into the real hero behind the many masks he wore. Was this a healthy relationship between these two opposing forces? Quite the opposite. Some may scoff at the acts of a selfless Jedi woman towards a confused, lost and aimless Sith. That’s probably because many might not understand how unconditional love works. It’s something none of us deserve, but all of us hunger for.
When Rey faced Palpatine he went to great lengths to cast doubt in who she was and that Rey had no one to depend on. Even after watching the Rebels get decimated, the now freed Ben Solo is cast to his death and Rey lies flat on her back, she saw something else behind the emptiness and madness around her. Rey heard the voices of a number of Jedi who have gone before her. Just when she had hit the bottom her faith saw her through. The Jedi gave her the words of encouragement she needed to face the embodiment of every Sith.For in that moment Rey stood in the place of every Jedi.
Though it cost her dearly, Rey stayed the course and didn’t listen to a person more messed up than herself. Palpatine attempted to project his own flawed character into Rey with every fear she had. But in the end his patronizing words led to his final demise and the fall of the Sith.
Isn’t that what our enemies or nemeises want to do? They whisper with an evil cackle that you are all alone in your plans, your dreams, and your entire life. What is that saying, “Divide and conquer?” If they can separate your hopeful spark away from the rest of the fire it’s a chance for them to put out your light.
But the truth is we aren’t alone. Rey had Finn, Poe, Chewie among so many others that she connected deeply with as friends. She also had a Luke & Leia (the original wonder twins) as her mentors. The unseen Force, which binds everything together fights with her to take on a battle bigger than herself. Rey is in good hands.
As she stands alone with BB8 in a full-circle moment( Desert planet, half-buried dwelling) she comes back a different person. No longer alone, no longer homeless and best of all she has a family. We are back not only is Rey’s arc, but where the whole story started on the desert planet of Tatooine. Luke himself had done everything in his power to leave, when maybe, like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz they all discovered there is no place like a real home.
“What is your name?” Mutters the elderly woman passing through the Tatooine desert. That catches the daydreaming young girl from that moment of reflection.
Rey looks to see her family standing near her in spirit. Luke and Leia are together again giving their silent blessing. She pauses long enough to let that moment sink in. Yes, she was never alone at any time.
“I am Rey. Rey Skywalker.”
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