Cheers, then puzzlement, then debate.
The Force Awakens moment at Starkiller Base where orphaned scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) Force-grabs Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber away from Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is a moment of joyous surprise that had theater audiences bursting into applause. Yet the move has also long provoked curiosity and even debate about its meaning and whether it “plays fair.” Namely: If Kylo is part of the Skywalker family and has received Jedi training, how was untrained orphan Rey able to pull away Luke’s lightsaber?
It seems likely the scene will not be fully understood after we see The Rise of Skywalker and learn more about Rey’s past (actress Daisy Ridley teases there is more to come on that point). But for the time being here’s what Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the film with director J.J. Abrams, explains to EW in our current December issue.
“Rey is full of The Force — you know that pretty early on,” says Kasdan, who also wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and co-wrote Star Wars original trilogy entries The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. “We’ve seen other demonstrations that she did earlier in the movie that she has in her. You know she’s not unimportant. The saber flies into her hand because it belongs in her hand. While the secret to Kylo is that he’s massively insecure. He wants to be Darth II, but he isn’t because he’s very conflicted about everything he wants. He wants to be that pure force of evil and power, but he’s not purely any of that. I don’t know what happens in [Rise of Skywalker], but I’m sure that will continue to play out. He says right before, ‘That lightsaber, it belongs to me.’ So when it flies by him into her hand everything he worries about is confirmed.”
Kasdan says he and J.J. Abrams decided fairly early on during their conversations about the 2015 film that there would be a moment when things looked the darkest for Rey that the lightsaber would fly into her hand. He adds that the scene was taken to another level by Ridley’s performance.
“Daisy is spectacular,” Kasdan says. “What she does when she catches it, what she does when she takes a moment to regain the Force — that’s all great Daisy stuff.”
Ridley, meanwhile, thinks the moment is “f—king amazing” and has a reply to anyone who debates her character’s abilities: “We’re running around in space, guys, don’t make rules.”
Even just standing on its own, the scene remains a rousing moment of triumph for Rey and a satisfying ego-smash for Kylo Ren.
To read more on The Rise of Skywalker and other untold stories from the Star Wars universe, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly at Barnes & Noble on Friday — or buy your choice of covers now featuring stars of the prequels, original trilogy, or current saga. (The issue will be on newsstands starting Nov. 28.) Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.