A soon-to-be-released Star Wars novel, Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse, chronicles the events between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Set to be released November 5, the story picks up immediately after the climactic battle of Crait, which saw the Resistance fleet utterly decimated. As the survivors hash out a plan to continue their fight against the First Order, Leia and Rey meet for an intimate conversation, during which they discuss Kylo Ren’s turn to the Dark side. Though her heart is heavy with grief with all the losses she’s suffered recently, Leia clearly hasn’t entirely given up hope that there’s still good in her son, deep down.
Hold up. Did Resistance Reborn just drop a big teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Speculative spoilers ahead for The Rise of Skywalker. If you don’t want to know what might happen with Kylo Ren in the next Star Wars film, turn back now.
The conversation, which appears in a lengthy excerpt from the novel available on the official Star Wars site, is couched within a swath of interesting details about how each woman sees the other. That said, things get off to an awkward start: both are sleep-deprived, sad, and not quite sure what to say to one another. While Rey’s initially inclined to ask about Luke, given his very recent passing, instead she finds herself blurting out a rather blunt question about Ben. She wants to know Leia’s side of what happened during her son’s training with his uncle.
"“What happened to him?” she finally asked. “I mean, how did he turn to the dark side? He started in the light, didn’t he? He told me a story about Luke, about his training.” She exhaled. “I guess I just want to understand."
Leia doesn’t dish any dirt about about what really happened at the Jedi temple, or with the Knights of Ren. Instead, she gently tells Rey she needs to ask Ben those questions herself. There’s some fun little details in this exchange for Reylo stans, with Leia noticing that Rey “cared about Ben, and he had disappointed her.” Its a nice, if brief, little throwback to the angsty longing that permeates those Force telepathy scenes between Kylo and Rey in The Last Jedi.
Rey then tells Leia what happened after the battle with Snoke. “I thought I could help him, but he only wanted me to become like him,” she says. There’s a hint of a confession to her words, as if Rey is acknowledging that she failed in her attempt to bringing Ben Solo back to the Light side.
Leia responds with her characteristic warm pragmatism. “Ben has made his choices,” she explains. “No one can save Ben but himself. And I don’t know if that is what he wants.”
Thus far in the Star Wars sequels, Ben has had two big opportunities to redeem himself, and twice turned those chances down. When his father, Han Solo, tried to reason with him in The Force Awakens, Kylo didn’t want to hear it. And even after they grew closer to one another, his affinity for Rey wasn’t reason enough to abandon the chance to become Supreme Leader of the First Order once Snoke was out of the way. What Leia’s saying here is particularly affecting given that the close of The Last Jedi felt like a point of no return for Kylo Ren. A massive, credible leak last week from spoiler site Making Star Wars revealed key details about how Emperor Palpatine might bring about Ben’s redemption. Even with all the terrible things he’s done, it’s clear that Kylo Ren isn’t evil to the core. At least, not yet.
Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse comes to bookstores November 5.