Now that we have The Last Jedi, let’s revisit the theory I laid out previously.
So, I already posted at length previously, laying out a theory on Rey, Kylo and The Force Awakens – specifically the theory that Rey and Kylo might both be ‘Force Consciousness’ manifestations of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and that there is a hidden narrative coded into The Force Awakens.
I laid out the argument in full here, and noted all of the clues that were present all throughout The Force Awakens.
This is a sequel to that article. In light of The Last Jedi, I thought I’d revisit that theory again and see if the latest Star Wars film offers anything further to reinforce the idea. Make sure you read the original article before reading this one – otherwise this won’t make much sense.
I actually was told by a couple of people that the theory I laid out in regard to The Force Awakens was enabling them to enjoy the film differently: so, hopefully, that can continue to work if we look at The Last Jedi in the same context.
I was kind of hoping, when Yoda showed up on Ach-To, that he would offer some further clues for us in his dialogue with Luke. This didn’t happen; but I need to wait to rewatch that dialogue again.
Arguably, the connections I was seeing in TFA aren’t as prominent or as numerous in The Last Jedi. That being said, there are things in The Last Jedi that definitely keep the theory alive.
So, below, I will point out the things in The Last Jedi that could conceivably support the Anakin/Kylo/Rey Force Consciousness Theory.
To start with, the one thing that could’ve vetoed this theory outright didn’t happen. Specifically, if we had seen an appearance here by the Force Ghost of Anakin Skywalker, then this theory would be over.
But we didn’t. So it isn’t.
In fact, the absence of Anakin’s Force Ghost isn’t just an issue in The Last Jedi: as previously pointed out, the absence of Anakin’s Force Presence is very notable in the key Force Awakens scene (Rey’s vision scene) in which we specifically do perceive the Force Presence of both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi (via audio) – but not Anakin.
So – as of The Last Jedi – Anakin’s Force Presence is still AWOL. Where is he? If Yoda could be bothered to come and speak to Luke in his time of need, why wouldn’t Luke’s FATHER? Wouldn’t Anakin not only have a desire to help his son, but also to try to help his grandson – especially when his grandson has turned to the Dark Side and developed an unhealthy Vader obession?
In theory, Anakin’s absence continues to support the theory. Where are you, Annie?
Moving on, after all the years of fan speculation of Rey’s identity or origins, The Last Jedi leaves the matter wide open still.
What we are told in the film is that Rey is ‘nobody’. There’s nothing special about her parentage. Presumably, she isn’t a Skywalker. Kylo tells her this directly, while Rey’s own vision experience on Ach-To very much depicts her as a nobody.
I said in the original article, however, that Rey’s genetics didn’t matter – that Anakin’s Force Consciousness would seek out any suitable, Force-sensitive, Light Side individual and that Rey seemed to fit that criteria (Anakin’s Force-Essence would go wherever the midi-chlorians were). In fact, arguably, the strange vision scene where Rey looks into the mirror, waiting to see the identity of her parents (and sees nothing), would seem to reinforce the notion that she HAS NO PARENTS or origin and might’ve even be another immaculate conception.
Also, it’s not clear why or how Kylo would know the truth about Rey’s parentage at all. It is therefore possible he was lying to her anyway. Or that he knows about her deadbeat parents because Rey’s origins – whatever they were – are somehow unusual or important and were perhaps known to Snoke.
Aside from that, the very curious thing about The Last Jedi is the strange Force-Consciousness connection between Kylo and Rey throughout the film. Supposedly set up by Snoke, this psychic link between them has them conversing with each other across great distances throughout the story. This certainly suggests some kind of deep resonance or link between them – and it was this, more than anything else, that had me considering again the possibility that they’re both carrying Anakin/Vader in them and this is why their connection is so strong.
As I laid out in the older article, the idea is that Kylo is channelling ‘Vader’ consciousness and Rey is channelling Anakin consciousness.
Note that Kylo seems to be in a state of confusion and conflict for much of the film. I would say this is because he has been unhinged ever since encountering Rey in The Force Awakens.
We get then to the big showdown between Kylo, Rey and Snoke. This was designed as an echo of the Palpatine/Vader/Luke showdown in Return of the Jedi.
Kylo (carrying Vader Consciousness, as per the theory) decides to do what Vader did in ROTJ – he kills the ‘Emperor’ (Snoke). Curiously then, he goes into Anakin (Revenge of the Sith) consciousness and begins re-enacting Anakin and placing Rey in the Padme role. He urges Rey to join him – they can rule the galaxy together, etc.
Rey then, weirdly, echoes Padme and says something like “don’t go down this path” – an echo of Padme’s “you’re going down a path I can’t follow”.
Keeping the Force-Consciousness theory in mind, consider this scene and imagine that Kylo – having killed the Emperor (Snoke), starts falling into ROTS Anakin/Vader mode because of the Vader Consciousness that is in him (in a confused state). Anakin in ROTS tells Padme that they can overthrow the Emperor and rule together – Kylo’s slip into Anakin mode is triggered by the fact that he HAS just killed the ‘Emperor’ (Snoke) and he is seeing Rey in front of him as an echo of how Anakin saw Padme in front of him.
In moments like this, the Vader consciousness in Kylo takes over, merging heavily with Kylo’s own personality or perception.
That would be why Rey herself falls into Padme dialogue – the Anakin Consciousness in her is remembering what Padme said to Anakin on Mustafar.
This scene in general is very weird – but it does seem to re-enact or echo Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi.
And bear in mind, all of this comes after many scenes of Rey and Kylo being in deep psychic contact. I said in the first article that key scenes in The Force Awakens (particularly the “You’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader” interrogation scene and the climatic lightsaber duel in the forest) should be re-framed in our minds as encounters not just between Rey and Kylo, but between the Force-Consciousness of ANAKIN and VADER.
I can apply that here also to the Rey/Kylo Force-Connection scenes in The Last Jedi – not just Rey and Kylo in psychic contact, but ANAKIN AND VADER communicating WITH EACH OTHER and trying to work each other out.
What’s curious is that, if you look at Kylo’s journey through The Last Jedi, he is basically doing everything VADER thought about doing himself but never did. Vader talked about overthrowing the Emperor and ruling himself. But he never did – by the time he did kill Palpatine, it was already too late. Anakin/Vader talked about overthrowing the Emperor as early as Revenge of the Sith (in the aforementioned Mustafar dialogue).
If – as I argued in the first article – the Vader Consciousness is in Kylo, it makes sense that Kylo would take a different path to Vader and do what Vader hadn’t managed to do himself: kill Snoke and take power for himself. It’s wish fulfilment – not just for Kylo, but for the echo of Vader, who finds himself (or his grandson) in the same situation that he had once been in and so this time pushes Kylo to just flat-out kill Snoke.
Let’s look further. And bear with me here, as this might get a bit confusing.
Luke notes also that Rey immediately goes to ‘the dark place’ when she is meditating on Ach-To – and it disturbs him. Which could be suggestive of a subtle shifting in the dynamic I laid out in the first article (of Rey as the Light Side manifestation of Anakin and Kylo as the Dark Side manifestation of Vader), with a hint here of Rey’s Anakin Consciousness being drawn to the dark place the same way Anakin’s original consciousness was.
Curiously, this roughly coincides with the shifting within Kylo, who we see hesitating to open fire on his mother’s ship.
Indeed, for much of the film we are left in suspense, uncertain as to whether Kylo is being drawn to the Light and whether Rey is being drawn to the Dark.
It’s a brief inversion of the Force Awakens dynamics, not just in terms of Rey being Light and Kylo being Dark, but of Rey as the Light Side essence of Anakin Skywalker and Kylo as the Dark Side essence of Vader. The echo of Anakin within Kylo’s Vader Consciousness is emerging slightly, making him hesitate to open fire on Leia’s ship (again, watch how Anakin-like Kylo is in that scene, with all his piloting/manuevering), while the shadow or seed of Vader in Rey’s Anakin Consciousness emerges briefly when she is drawn to the dark place on Ach-To.
Kylo’s psychic link and conversations with Rey are what destabilise Rey for a while – but they’re also what seem to destabilise Kylo himself. There is confusion and conflict in both Rey and Kylo, the longer these psychic conversations go on for.
Is this possibly because the Vader in Kylo is sensing the Anakin in Rey and vice-versa? This idea was a central point in my first article on this theory – specifically, I wrote a lot about the Kylo/Rey interrogation scene in The Force Awakens, where Rey snaps and says “you’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader”. I noted that this scene in TFA should be rewatched in the context of Vader’s Consciosuness (Kylo) coming into contact with Anakin’s Consciousness (Rey) and being disturbed and confused by it.
With that re-framing in mind, these Rey/Kylo psychic-link scenes in The Last Jedi are all the more interesting.
It’s as if the more contact they have with each other (especially when the contact is this deep and probing), the more they recognise a piece of themselves in the other – the more Rey’s ‘Anakin’ Consciousness feels and senses Kylo’s Vader Consciousness and vice-versa.
This would be why, the more this goes on, the more we see Kylo looking like he might be coming over to The Light and Rey looking like she might be being drawn into The Dark – because, through the psychic connection, Kylo is taking in some of Rey’s Anakin and Rey is taking in some of Kylo’s Vader.
This is all resolved in the aforementioned Rey/Kylo/Snoke scene – where, as I said, we get a re-enactment of Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith.
What’s curious about that is this: if there was briefly an unsettling or shaking-up of the Light-Side/Dark-Side, Anakin/Vader dynamic within Rey and Kylo (most of it caused directly by the psychic link between them and Kylo’s manipulation of Rey), it makes sense that the go-to reference/place for the Anakin/Vader Consciousness in Rey/Kylo would be a mixture of Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi – and, more specifically, a mixture of Mustafar and the Emperor’s Throne Room.
Think about it.
Mustafar is arguably where Vader was properly born (it is also where he lived, as we see in Rogue One), while the Emperor’s Throne Room from Return of the Jedi is where Vader died and ‘Anakin’ was redeemed into the Force.
So, bear with me: if ‘Anakin’ is in Rey and ‘Vader’ is in Kylo, it makes sense that the most powerful memory imprints would be both Mustafar and the Emperor’s Throne Room.
Hence, again, in that scene we get Kylo killing Snoke (the way the Vader Consciousness would remember having wanted to kill Palpatine) and we then get Kylo/Vader trying to win over Rey – in this instance, Kylo is seeing an echo of Padme in Rey, as well as an echo of Luke (specifically Vader’s attempt to win over Luke on Bespin) and is re-enacting those events, perhaps unconsciously.
Meanwhile Rey is re-experiencing the echo/memory of Mustafar through her Anakin Consciousness, but is re-enacting the thing that was potentially drawing Anakin/Vader back to The Light – Padme.
So she echoes Padme’s lines here to Kylo.
There’s no reason for Rey to be as emotional as she is in this scene, as there’s no reason Rey should care about Kylo this much – it makes much more sense if the emotion is really coming from Anakin’s Force-Consciousness or ‘echo’, who is seeing in Kylo’s words and actions the memory of what HE (Anakin) once did to Padme.
Hence, all the emotion from Rey. She probably doesn’t even understand where it’s coming from. She spends of the most of the film as confused as Kylo is.
This is also – crucially – the last moment of the Anakin and Vader Consciousness element in Rey and Kylo trying to connect with each other.
What’s fascinating here too is that, where in TFA we got Vader vs Anakin (in the form of Rey vs Kylo in the forest), here we get Vader and Anakin (Kylo and Rey) fighting alongside each other against Snoke’s Praetorian Guard. For a while, it looks like Rey and Kylo will become partners (and thus the two sides of Anakin’s Force Consciousness would become one).
Indeed, arguably, the whole story here is about Rey (Anakin) and Kylo (Vader) being drawn more and more towards each other like magnets – or like two trying to become one. If Anakin’s ‘Chosen One’ (or “vergence in the Force”) Force Consciousness has re-manifested (but split in two – as in, Vader and Anakin), then the great danger is in the two aspects re-joining each other to become one again.
I argued in the original article that Anakin’s true Force Presence would’ve never intended to split itself between two different Force Users (or to manifest the Vader Consciousness at all): and that the Vader Consciousness was an unintended anomaly *caused by* Kylo’s fall to the Dark Side and his hero worship of Vader.
Nevertheless, the Vader Re-Manifestation (via Kylo), once created, found itself drawn magnetically to its alter-ego – the Anakin Re-Manifestation (Rey): and now vice-versa too – the Anakin in Rey is being drawn to the Vader in Kylo.
This is why we spend the whole film watching Kylo psychically bond with Rey, to the extent that he sides with her against his own master. And Rey finds herself drawn more and more to Kylo/Vader – and is in danger of coming to the Dark Side.
But, no, that’s not how it goes.
Here, the matter is resolved. Rey remains on the Light Side (via channelling her Anakin Consciousness’s memories of Mustafar and Padme), while Kylo remains on the Dark Side (by allowing his Vader Consciousness to fully assert itself – in decisively separating again from Rey, he is fully expelling any ‘Anakin’ influence or echo).
And by killing Snoke and taking over the First Order, he is fulfilling Darth Vader’s unfulfilled destiny (to rule the Empire).
Likewise, by resisting Kylo’s offer and resisting the Dark Side, Rey is fulfilling what should’ve been Anakin Skywalker’s original Light-Side destiny (i.e: remaining a Jedi and NOT turning to the Dark Side).
The inner conflict and push-and-pull is finished in both of them here – but Kylo is still channeling Vader and Rey is still channeling Anakin (and, to be clear again, both of them are doing this only unconsciously – they don’t realise it at all).
To confirm that this scene seems to be where the whole thing is resolved, this is symbolised powerfully right then by the fate of the prop that I previously noted was the key to the whole theory: specifically, Anakin’s blue lightsaber.
Having played a crucial role in the first film (and in my Force Consciousness Theory), here we see the blue lightsaber destroyed – literally torn apart – by Kylo and Rey when they both try to reach for it through the Force.
The saber that Kylo, in TFA, had said belonged to him (because it was Anakin’s) is now no longer part of the picture. But the fact that it is specifically destroyed by the two sides of Anakin/Vader’s Force Consciousness re-manifestation – Rey and Kylo – both reaching for it would seem to be symbolically significant.
It seems almost as if this part (especially the visual focus on the lightsaber being pulled apart) was written into the story just to show the Anakin/Vader conflict in more overt terms.
Now, arguably, each of them will become more fully their own individual people – no longer attached to that weapon or what it symbolises. The Force-Echo of Anakin/Vader is still in there, in each of them, but probably not as strong or dominant.
That’s the main stuff covered here, as far as the Force Consciousness theory goes. Again, please read the original article here to get the full picture of what I’m proposing.
There’s maybe a couple of other things scattered about too.
Kylo’s early scenes, where he’s in his one-man fighter in the battle, very much resemble Anakin/Vader: he’s even doing very Anakin-like maneuvuers (like spinning – “that’s a good trick!”). This stuff really looked like Revenge of the Sith and Anakin’s manueuvers.
It’s also possible that the story of Luke sneaking into Kylo’s bedroom to potentially kill him in a moment of weakness is relevant to this. Because what if what Luke ‘sensed’ in Kylo wasn’t just the Dark Side, but specifically the echo of Vader’s Force Consciousness? If Luke sensed Vader’s consciousness in Kylo, he would recognise it distinctly from his own familiarity of Vader’s consciousness from the events of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
It might’ve terrified him and prompted him to contemplate killing Kylo.
In one of the Luke/Rey scenes on Ach-To, Luke talks to Rey about the failures of the Jedi Order and specifically talks about the creation of Darth Vader and how the Jedi allowed Darth Sidious to create Vader. I might be stretching here, but it is possible the reason Luke is telling Rey about the creation of Vader is because it relates to what Luke had sensed in Kylo Ren: therefore, that the fear of Vader is what caused Luke to fear Kylo.
Also, in keeping with the aforementioned business of very specific echoes and re-enactments, it is worth nothing that Luke – in his final Force Projection encounter with Kylo – consciously echoes Obi-Wan Kenobi’s words to Vader in A New Hope.
Arguably, Luke is deliberately speaking to Kylo as if there’s a piece of Vader in Kylo – as if he’s partly addressing the Vader Consciousness directly and reminding ‘it’ of how this all went down before (with Obi-Wan). In that scenario, Luke is basically trolling his nephew.
Could Luke already – as mentioned above – know that there is a piece of Vader Force Consciousness in Kylo?
That’s about it for now. I’ll need to see The Last Jedi again a few more times.
I think my theory still holds water. However, I also think it’s probably becoming less relevant, particularly as we go into Episode 9. And I imagine the writers/producers of the current films probably aren’t going to do anything particularly complex, so none of this might ever be directly validated or invalidated.
What I do think, however – and I did say this previously – is that this theory can be a benefit to those who actually aren’t enjoying this Sequel Trilogy, as it offers an additional, different way to watch these films: literally, a hidden or secondary narrative encoded into the primary narrative.
Read the original, first part of this theory here: ‘Star Wars FORCE CONSCIOUSNESS Theory – Anakin, Rey, Kylo & THE FORCE AWAKENS…‘
i am so disppointed by TROS. ben solo dies and rey finished in the desert without anyone…
It is interesting though that before Ben dies, he transforms his remaining life force (Force?) to Rey, reviving her. I think it could be seen as the splintered-off Vader Consciousness being reintegrated with the Anakin Consciousness manifested in Rey. However, we do hear Anakin’s ghostly voice in the scene when Rey hears the voices of all the dead Jedi.
Sorry, I meant “transfers”, not “transforms”, of course.
I like that theory. I’m going to need repeated viewings though to really get my head around everything in this film. That’s why I haven’t posted a review yet.
I feel like it might’ve worked better with better pacing. Ben’s redemption and death just happens so fast that there’s no time really to process anything.
I just saw the trailer and yes Anakin’s lightsaber returns so…. all people wanted a new lightsaber. This is really good for that theory that I have always in mind. It deserves to be known more than on your (super) blog. 🙂
And what ?? palpatine at the end ???
Link all the trilogies. Really interesting
Yeah, the Palpatine thing really surprises me. I hope he’s not really alive again in this story – this would weaken Anakin/Vader’s act of redemption in Return of the Jedi and weaken the Anakin/Vader story overall. I don’t mind if Palpatine turns out to be a recording or a droid/AI or something: but just not THE living Palpatine.
This is a very interesting and well thought-out theory! I think it adds a lot more depth to the Sequel Trilogy and I’ve had mixed feelings about it so far, so I’ll keep this theory in mind when/if I decide to re-watch Eps. VII and VIII. I’m curious how this all is going to play out in Ep. IX.
I rewatched both last week. I do like both films, even though they’re flawed. If they decide yet to bring back Anakin’s Force Ghost, then this theory doesn’t work. But I doubt we’re going to see Anakin, as Disney seems unkeen on the prequels.
I also liked TLJ despite its flaws, while I had more of a ‘meh’ reaction to TFA. I probably need to watch them again.
I don’t think that Anakin’s Force Ghost or any other form is going to appear, either. Most likely nothing will confirm or deny this theory outright, like you said.
BTW, have you seen the new teaser? I was surprised to see Rey with Anakin’s lightsaber again. I guess she must have repaired it after its destruction in TLJ? I also wonder which Skywalker is the title referring to.
The trailer blew me away, if I’m honest. I wasn’t expecting to be so excited by it: as I’ve been lukewarm about Episode IX this whole time. But that trailer really gets me invested. As for which Skywalker the title is referring to, that’s the mystery right now. My guess would be Kylo? But it could be three different possibilities. I’ve heard someone say that it might actually refer to ‘Skywalker’ becoming the new generic term for ‘Jedi’ – as in ‘Jedi’ won’t exist anymore, only ‘Skywalkers’ (in title, not by blood). I’m not sure I like that idea.
I am totally agree with you from the beginning of your theory. People who worked and works on SW films have all this sort of « complexity » in mind. For sure.