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'Rise of Skywalker' theory explains how Kylo finished what Vader started

The clues are in the visual symmetry.

Lucasfilm

As much as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker divided fans and critics, the film maintained the visual and narrative symmetry of previous Star Wars movies. Kylo Ren, for example, was destined to turn from the Dark side to the Light side of the Force like his grandfather, Darth Vader. However, Kylo’s fate in The Rise of Skywalker seemed to suggest his Force Awakens to finish what Vader started went unfulfilled. Now, an interesting Episode IX theory explains how he may have lived up to that promise after all.

George Lucas once said the Star Wars films are “like poetry…. They rhyme.” In The Force Awakens, Kylo speaks to Vader’s helmet, promising him that he would “finish what you started.” It seemed like Kylo’s mission was to carry on with the Dark side and destroy the Jedi as Vader originally intended. Or so we thought.

Kylo probably finished what his grandfather started in a different way. Lucasflim

Before the release of The Rise of Skywalker, fans speculated that Kylo would finish what Vader started, but not in the way audiences expected. Instead, Ben would do what Anakin couldn’t: save the woman he loves, Rey. Kylo’s sacrifice was possibly meant to be the inverse of Anakin’s inability to save Padmé Amidala, Luke and Leia’s mother.

However, Reddit user BL-2187 theorizes that the imagery of Kylo holding Rey is a direct parallel to the scene of Anakin cradling his dying mother, Shmi, in Attack of the Clones. In this context, Kylo finishing what Vader started takes on a whole new meaning, especially since Kylo loses both his mother and Rey in the same movie. The visual parallel of Kylo and Anakin holding the women they love becomes even more obvious in the side by side image below, which fully captures the comparison.

Vader and Kylo both hold the women they love in death.Reddit/Lucasfilm

The visual symmetry of the films is further detailed in the lightsaber duel between Kylo and Rey in The Rise of Skywalker and the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. When Kylo and Rey fight each other, they’re surrounded by an ocean, torrential rain falling around them. Comparatively, Anakin and Obi-Wan are surrounded by fire and lava during their duel. Placed alongside each other, Reddit user skywalkinondeezhatrz suggests the images are a representation of rebirth vs. destruction. Take a look below.

On the left, Anakin fights Obi-Wan; on the left, it's Kylo vs. Rey. Light and dark?Reddit/Lucasfilm

Though it’s never confirmed that Kylo actually finished what his grandfather started — the two never formally meet — it’s nice that The Rise of Skywalker offers a few loose connections to the Star Wars prequels despite Anakin’s absence from the film.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in theaters.

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