Perhaps the most emotional moment in The Rise of Skywalker goes to another level once you realize something about a key piece of dialogue.
This isn’t a Force ghost, but rather essentially a conversation in Kylo Ren’s head, as the dialogue makes clear.
The scene is a rather heartbreaking reunion between the lovable scoundrel of the original trilogy and the son who murdered him in The Force Awakens, and it’s made all the more powerful by Driver and Ford’s subtle performances. For all their differences, both characters have difficulty expressing their emotions and you can see them struggling with what they’re feeling.
The end of the scene packs quite a wallop, and is even more powerful when you realize that Han Solo’s final line in the saga is actually a callback.
The scene concludes with Kylo Ren saying — for the first time — “Dad…” and then he struggles.
And Han says: “I know…”
This is actually a callback to Ford’s famously improvised line in The Empire Strikes Back when Leia tells Han she loves him as he’s about to be frozen in carbonite. Han dryly replies, “I know.”
But the line is more than just a reference, it actually reveals something that’s unspoken. In The Rise of Skywalker, when Kylo Ren says “Dad…” and then he pauses, what he’s actually thinking and wanting to say becomes clear given the callback — especially since this conversation is all in his head so Han “knows” what his son is really thinking.
The “true dialogue” from this moment is:
Kylo Ren: “Dad…[I love you].”
Han Solo: “I know.”