Ever since storytelling was invented, there have been dozens of tales about the hero character falling in love with the villainous character. From The Phantom of the Opera to Beauty and Beast, there are always fans of stories about the sweet young woman falling in love with the tall, dark, and angry stranger.
Unfortunately, movies and television have taken these classic tropes and have normalized unhealthy, abusive relationships. For example, many viewers criticized the Twilight series because they felt that Edward Cullen was abusive to Bella Swan by isolating her from her friends and often picked fights with Jacob Black.
Fans of Arrow have also called out Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak’s relationship for being toxic, since the latter was often emotionally abusive and threw a temper tantrum when she found out her boyfriend had an illegitimate child.
Amongst the Star Wars fans, there’s a huge divide over the “Reylo” (Kylo Ren/Rey) romantic relationship. Some are hoping they wind up together in Episode IX while others loathe it because it normalizes abuse.
For everyone that avoids ‘ship wars like the plague and might be wondering why people hate the idea of “Reylo,” the following list explores why this romantic relationship is incredibly toxic.
A romantic relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey would never, ever work because the former PHYSICALLY TORTURED HER. Did everyone forget that he took her captive in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and tortured her in order to get information? It's not like he sat her down at a nice restaurant for a cup of tea and some crumpets; Kylo was incredibly brutal. So why on Earth would Rey even WANT to fall in love with him? The dude is brutal and Rey probably still has nightmares from being captured by Kylo’s sorry butt. That is NOT a good basis for a romantic relationship at all, whatsoever, and if Rey MUST have a love interest, let it not be some whiny emo man-child with serious anger-management issues.
For the love of all things holy, can we as a society PLEASE stop romanticizing abuse? It’s 2018 and it’s high time that people realized ‘ships like “Reylo” are toxic. People romanticized the abuse in the god-awful Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, even though Edward Cullen never let Bella Swan have her own life, was incredibly controlling, and their “relationship” was a toxic mess.
In all honesty, neither Bella and Edward, nor Kylo and Rey, are the basis for a healthy romantic relationship, and it is disturbing to see so many young people fawn over such ‘ships on the Internet. There really needs to be less “Reylo” and more healthy romantic relationships being included in movies and television shows. Take Outlander, for example. Claire and Jamie Fraser have their issues, of course, but they have always been supportive of one another. Rey needs a Jamie Fraser, not a Kylo Ren!
Kylo Ren is responsible for the deaths of not one, but TWO of Rey’s father figures. He cold-bloodedly murdered poor Han Solo RIGHT IN FRONT OF REY during The Force Awakens. And to add insult to injury, he is also responsible for the death of her mentor Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. Even if Kylo Ren DOES become redeemed in Episode IX, it would be pretty messed up if Rey ignored the fact that he DOES have blood on his hands and went “Oh em gee, I still love you despite the fact that you murdered your biological father AND both of my father figures.” That is not how healthy romantic relationships work and I’m pretty sure if that DID happen, the Force ghost of Luke Skywalker would appear and start facepalming.
As hot as Adam Driver is, and as much as he is a good actor, let’s not shy away from the fact that the character of Kylo Ren is a literal Nazi. The allusion between the First Order and the real-life Nazis is hard to miss; it is SO not cool to romanticize a fascist. After all, this is a character that is the head of the armies that murder on a whim and have caused suffering throughout the galaxy. Why on Earth would ANY self-respecting writer want to pair Rey, who is the embodiment of all that is good, with Kylo Ren, who is the embodiment of all that is evil? Rey deserves so much better than to be paired with a fascist that shows zero remorse.
There are some Star Wars fans that have suggested perhaps “Reylo” will be the cause of Kylo Ren being redeemed in Episode IX and that for the love of Rey, he will be inspired to turn back towards the Light Side. Kylo shouldn’t be redeemed just so that he can get a girlfriend and win the heart of the fair maiden like none of his horrendous crimes have ever happened; he should be redeemed because he realized that he ROYALLY f—ked up and wants to attempt to make up for all of the evil things he’s done since turning to the Dark Side and becoming Snoke’s right-hand man. Now THAT would show some much-needed character growth and would be a great way to turn the franchise on its head.
Hey society, can we PLEASE stop reducing strong female characters into trophies for the male characters? Rey is absolutely NOT a prize to be won by any man — not by Kylo Ren, not by Poe Dameron, and not by Finn. She is her own person, and it would be incredibly gross if Star Wars negated all of the progress they made by having a kicka** female character be the lead instead of the stereotypical Skywalker male, by having Rey’s character arc be erased. Almost like turning her into a trophy for Kylo to display, being like “OMG HE’S SO REDEEMED AND NOT EVIL. See? Even Dark Side users (or former Dark Side users) can feel love!”
That’s just a slap in the face for women everywhere.
If Rey DOES wind up falling in love with Kylo Ren, whether he’s redeemed or not in Star Wars: Episode IX, then that sends a TERRIBLE message to little girls everywhere who look up to that particular character. Not only does it normalize abuse and make it seem like the standard for a romantic relationship, but it also teaches little girls to NOT stand up for themselves against people that will try to manipulate and hurt them — both physically AND emotionally.
There’s a long history of romanticizing abuse and unhealthy relationships in both television shows and movies (see Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, etc.). Star Wars has the chance to lead a changing tide in Hollywood by making sure Rey does NOT fall in love with an abusive jerk.
The whole idea of Kylo Ren being redeemed because he falls in love with Rey is SO DAMN CHEESY and it reinforces the negative stereotype that women aren’t human beings with minds of their own, but simply rewards for “doing the right thing.”
If Kylo NEEDS love to be redeemed, it would be far more interesting AND more in line with the original Star Wars trilogy if the love for his mother Leia Organa helped him turn back to the Light Side, It would be her love that inspired him to work hard to right all of the wrongs he has done when he was a member of the First Order. After all, it was paternal love that inspired Darth Vader to turn back to the Light Side, so it would be poetic justice if Kylo becomes Ben Solo again due to maternal love.
Many Star Wars fans were FURIOUS when Kylo Ren revealed that Rey’s parents were nobodies. However, abusers often manipulate the truth to their victims and we’ve already seen Sith misleading people so that they’ll turn to the Dark Side (Palpatine and Anakin, anyone?). It is possible that the people who left her on Jakku were not her biological parents, but adopted ones, and there’s still a chance that her TRUE heritage could be revealed.
Perhaps she really is Luke’s long-lost daughter OR she is related to Schmi Skywalker’s long-lost family. If this is revealed in Episode IX, than not only would it be incredibly gross for Kylo to fall in love with his literal cousin—because this is NOT Game of Thrones—but it would also mean that he lied to her in an attempt to manipulate her.
Regardless of whether or not Kylo Ren is redeemed in Episode IX, having him paired up with Rey in a romantic relationship glosses over the fact that he has the death of MILLIONS of people on his hands. He didn’t just cold-bloodedly murder Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, but he also helped kill countless others in the Resistance, and tons of innocent people, too.
That’s not something Rey—or anyone else—should forget.
Kylo did monstrous things both as Snoke’s right-hand man and as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order. There’s no escaping that fact, no matter how much hand waving or denial goes on in the fandom. Kylo Ren has blood on his hands, and the LAST thing Star Wars should do is give him a girlfriend.
'Shipping characters (and to a certain extent, ‘ship wars) are natural to fandoms because, of course, everyone wants to see their two favorites get together. There isn’t anything wrong with that, of course, but it WOULD be cool to see the Star Wars writers and directors go “You know what? F—k it. Every other heroine in this franchise has had some kind of love interest, and it’s a common trope in Hollywood. Let us turn that trope on its head by making Rey a strong, independent woman that doesn’t need a man (or a woman) as a love interest.”
It would be pretty awesome to see a bold statement that such a kicka** hero doesn’t need to be pigeon-hold into a romantic relationship in movies.
Another reason why a romantic relationship between Rey and Kylo would be weird AF is due to the power imbalance. Yes, Rey is strong with the Force and probably COULD easily overpower the emo man-child, but they first met when she was his CAPTIVE and he was her TORTURER.
A healthy romantic relationship is based on mutual trust and respect, which is NOT what we see between Kylo and Rey.
Even if Kylo is redeemed by the end of Star Wars: Episode IX and Rey manages to forgive him, he’ll always be the man that tortured her and took advantage of her when she was in a VERY vulnerable position. There’s no way of getting around it. Rey should have a partner that actually loves and respects her, and not someone that will constantly try to take advantage of her.
The brutal Mind Probe scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a metaphor for sexual assault, because Kylo Ren forced his way past Rey’s mental defenses and violated her. If Kylo Ren and Rey become canon, she is essentially falling in love with the a**hole that raped her. That’s NOT a good message to send to the audience, especially given the fact that so many women and little girls see Rey as an icon. It also normalizes rape culture, which is STILL a huge issue in our society today. If the Star Wars writers and directors make the decision to put those two characters together in a romantic relationship after all that, then they’ll have to be prepared for a major backlash from the fans.
Kylo Ren and Rey also wouldn’t work as a romantic relationship because he tried to get her to join him in The Last Jedi, and she basically went “Oh hell no!” That should be the end of it; she does not want to join the Dark Side and she certainly does NOT want to be in any kind of romantic relationship with Kylo.
Perhaps she feels sorry for him since he was manipulated by Snoke, but it would be really s***ty if Star Wars paired them up even AFTER Rey rejected his offer in The Last Jedi. It would reinforce the negative stereotype in society that women “don’t know their own mind” and if men keep pestering women until they give in, than their rejection “doesn’t matter.”
Finally, IF Rey winds up entering into a romantic relationship with a character at the end of Episode IX, then she deserves to have a significant other that will truly love and respect her. Rey deserves better than Kylo Ren, who is an emotionally and physically abusive jerk that absolutely does NOT respect her and keeps trying to take advantage of her. He doesn’t take no for an answer and he’s a murderer that is part of the evil First Order. That is NOT boyfriend material, no matter how handsome and charismatic the actor that portrays Kylo Ren is.
Rey deserves so much better than Kylo Ren, especially given the fact that she had a traumatic upbringing and SHOULD enter a relationship with someone that is mature and stable.