As I understand the discourse, I am a TFA Reylo. I came out of The Force Awakens worrying Ben and Rey were cousins because ohhhh I shipped it. From my perspective their chemistry is undeniable, and evident in every scene. Anakin Skywalker is my favorite fictional character in fiction so Ben’s allegiance to the Dark Side and the First Order was merely an obstacle, and in fact I was certain that Ben would turn back to the Light and Rey would be a huge factor in that story.
And that played out in The Last Jedi. I love everything about their Force bond. The lightsaber battle in the throne room is one of my favorite scenes in the entire saga. The loneliness, desperation, and rage on both sides is so dynamic and affecting. It’s stunning.
I didn’t get everything I wanted in The Rise of Skywalker but I love Ben’s single-minded allegiance to Rey. Not power or Order, not Dark or Light, just Rey. And I love that Rey’s response is to give him the option to be just Ben, and he takes it.
Echo, echo. Shadow, shadow.
Reylo also builds on the relationships that precede it. Plenty has been written about the concept of “Reverse Anidala” – that Rey and Ben’s romance plays out as an inverse of Anakin and Padmé’s. Rey, like Padmé, is a Skywalker by choice, a child of Naboo, and has the most in common with Luke while also being her own separate person. And Ben is truly a beautiful and terrifying combination of, and tribute to, both Anakin Skywalker (and as such Leia, who is very much both her fathers daughter) and Han Solo.
Reylo is a minefield. It is hugely popular and hugely unpopular at once and the two sides do not get along at all. I’m mainly on the fringes of the fandom and it is still too much for me some days. I freely admit the relationship has unhealthy elements, particularly in the beginning. I ship unhealthy, destructive relationships. I ship damage. Trauma is required for the stories of surviving monsters and befriending dragons I’m most interested in. It’s not for everybody, it is for me.
The Reylo Charity Anthology
I wrote a story (credited as ‘PolitialPadmé‘) for the upcoming Reylo Charity Anthology Volume 2, Across the Stars. It includes works from over 150 authors, poets, and artists and will be released February 14, 2020. The anthology has already raised over $6,200 for RAICES, Regeneration International, Save the Children, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you would like a copy of the anthology, please make a donation in any amount to one or more of these four charities and submit your receipt to the moderators by email by February 13, 2020. There are teasers on twitter and tumblr and I’ve seen some of the works in progress and they are truly amazing. Please support this amazing initiative if you can.