Disney's Star Wars sequel trilogy has tragically turned into the most controversial item to come out of the House of Mouse's time with the IP.
Except for The Force Awakens, the other two films in the trilogy are largely disliked by a huge portion of the fandom. A big part of this stemmed from the divisive character of Rey and the under-utilization of Kylo Ren.
All around, Kylo was extremely well-liked as an antagonist, however, was massively underused as his redemption into Ben Solo was left until very late into the final movie. Meanwhile, Rey was often criticized heavily particularly for the choice to give her a Palpatine heritage after a long mysterious backstory.
Despite this, the two turned into one of the biggest romantic 'ships' to come out of the sequel trilogy, earning the nickname of 'Reylo'. While that paid off in the climactic moments of Rise of the Skywalker as the two shared a kiss which many believe felt unearned as little build-up existed.
RIAN JOHNSON BELIEVES IN REYLO
US Today bestselling author, Sariah Wilson, recently had the opportunity to sit down with The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson, in which he shared several details about his time with the Star Wars universe.
During this interview, the director shared some behind the scenes details regarding the plan for the lead characters of the trilogy, as he confirms Rey and Kylo Ren “were meant to be romantic.” This was at least the view of The Last Jedi director at the time of his involvement as he “absolutely saw them as a romance.”
If anybody questions whether or not Reylo were meant to be romantic, you can stop speculating. Rian absolutely saw them as a romance. 😍— Sariah Wilson (@sariahwilson) February 16, 2021
Wilson adds that while the duo's "stories" had room to grow after The Last Jedi, Johnson still believed that they had a "romantic and intimate" connection.
I mean, there was more to their stories and growth and arcs, but he saw them as romantic and intimate.— Sariah Wilson (@sariahwilson) February 16, 2021
THE REYLO THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
What exactly Johnson meant by these comments isn't completely clear. But what he appears to be indicating is that there were further story elements intended for the two characters which would have better set up the relationship between the two.
It's clear the sequel trilogy suffered a great deal from the constant director switch-ups throughout the trilogy leading to constant changes of vision and direction. For the final film in The Skywalker Saga, Rise of the Skywalker suffered from an incredibly lackluster run time which could easily have been expanded to allow more of these plot points to be better explored.
Possibly the biggest revelation to come out of this was the confirmation Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy — which was announced following the release of Rise of the Skywalker — is still in the works to release down the line.
So, if all goes to plan, Johnson's time with the Star Wars franchise isn't over quite yet. The era this new trilogy will be set in is still unclear. The only officially announced theatrical release as of now is Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron film set for 2023. Meanwhile, the MCU's Kevin Feige, and director Taika Waititi both have separate projects in the works in the universe.
The Star Wars universe is currently in a bit of downtime as fans await ramping up of the Disney+ slate which will begin this December with The Book of Boba Fett.