“What Palpatine doesn’t know is we’re a dyad in the Force, Rey.
Two that are one.”
– Kylo Ren/Ben Solo
In December 2019, The Rise of Skywalker introduced a new concept to the Star Wars galaxy, a “dyad” between Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. Although the audience is given minimal information from the text of the movie about the dyad, we see profound things happen between Rey and Kylo Ren through the course of the sequel trilogy telling us that this isn’t a normal Force Bond.
The Mythic Dyad
At its most basic a “dyad” is simply a couple or a pair. In genetics, a chromosome dyad is two chromatids coming together. In chemistry, it is an element or atom that has a valence of two. In mathematics, it’s an operator of two vectors without anything between them.
Finally in sociology, a dyad is two people in a relationship with each other, usually spouses. In The Hero’s Journey, this is what Joseph Campbell refers to as a dyad. When two people are in a relationship sacrifices are made to become a dyad. “…marriage, because it does amount to and require a yielding and the yielding has to be total to now being a member of a dyad and acting in relation to that twoness.”
This concept of two people coming together to form a “mythic dyad”, is what screenwriter for The Rise of Skywalker Chris Terrio references in the documentary, The Skywalker Legacy.
This idea of a “mythic dyad” can refer to couples throughout mythology such as Lakshmi and Vishnu or Parvati and Shiva in Hinduism and Zeus and Hera or Hades and Persephone in Greek mythology. Joseph Campbell also compares being in a dyad or a relationship to a yin yang. “If you hang on to being the yin, or hang on to being the yang in this thing, as a separate unit, you don’t have a marriage.”
Rey and Ben Solo’s relationship
Throughout the sequel trilogy, Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo are symbolized by this twoness or a yin and yang. From their costumes of contrasting colors of light and dark to the way they are characterized as connected individuals orbiting each other and always being brought together by the Force even though they are on opposite sides of the war.
The Force Awakens
In commentary for The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams discusses Rey and Kylo Ren’s relationship a few times. “This is the moment of course where Kylo Ren learns about Rey. And now, these two disparate pieces come together.”
“One of the new relationships that we were focusing on was between Kylo Ren and Rey. They’ve never met but he’s heard of this girl. And so, now comes a moment when their meeting is inevitable. […] And this moment where she is about to, for the first time, be confronted by Kylo Ren, a character who she’s going to have a very interesting relationship with moving forward.”
From their earliest moments, the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren is given a unique significance. Rey has barely begun to use her Force powers, but they immediately know each other’s weaknesses. Rey is desperately lonely and Kylo isn’t as sure of his darkness as the audience thinks. This is fertile ground for their connection to only grow as the movies progressed.
The Last Jedi
In The Last Jedi, Rey and Ben Solo’s relationship is amplified through their Force Bond and the Force Connections they have over the course of the movie. They go from complete enemies to almost coming together in Snoke’s throne room. Snoke says, “Darkness rises and light to meet it.” Rey and Ben are equal and opposite. They are able to relate to each other’s power but also loneliness.
Director Rian Johnson says, “They are two halves of the same protagonist.” This is evident in the way that Rian Johnson draws from the Anima and Animus concept from Carl Jung. Kylo Ren is symbolically Rey’s masculine shadow. Her fears and insecurities about her family and abandonment are shared with him and he helps her to accept those by the end of the movie.
The Rise of Skywalker
After much speculation over their relationship, The Rise of Skywalker establishes Rey and Ben Solo as not only continuing to share a bond through the Force, but they are also a prophesized dyad. Palpatine says, “The life force of your bond, a dyad in the Force. A power like life itself. Unseen for generations.”
By the end of the movie and the end of the trilogy, Rey and Ben sacrifice their life Force for each other and kiss. They have shown how a true emotional connection between two people can be one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy. In The Rise of Skywalker novelization by Rae Carson, Rey thinks, “The connection was…right. Good. Like coming home. This is how it should have been all along. A true dyad.”
Force Bond vs. Dyad
There have been several other Force Bonds in Star Wars. Revan and Bastila from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, who many believe were the inspiration for Rey and Kylo Ren share a romantic connection and a Force Bond. In current canon, Maul and Ezra Bridger in Rebels have a psychic connection through the Force similar to Rey and Kylo. They have shared visions and can even communicate with each other.
Rey and Ben Solo’s Dyad, however, hints at powers beyond a regular Force Bond. They are able to transfer objects through their Bond. In The Last Jedi, water from Ahch-To can travel from Rey to Kylo Ren on a Star Destroyer in space. In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo is able to snatch a necklace Rey is wearing. Stones and even Vader’s helmet transfer locations as Rey and Kylo Ren fight in two separate locations. And finally, on Exegol, Rey is able to transfer the legacy lightsaber to Ben Solo through their bond.
Chris Terrio says in The Skywalker Legacy documentary, “If the dyad ever came together its power would be immeasurable.”
This is seen when Rey and Ben’s life force of their bond is able to restore Palpatine, but it’s also hinted that this is the reason Ben is able to bring Rey back to life. The Child was shown to have Force healing ability in The Mandalorian the same week that The Rise of Skywalker released, but with Rey and Ben’s connection it seems unique whether that’s just from the sheer power, but also that their love for each other is actually what is able to help save each other.
Possibilities for Future Storytelling
Ben Solo Could Return
In Star Wars it’s accepted that “no one’s ever really gone” even after death. Force Users can return like Maul in The Clone Wars or Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker. Past characters can also visit current characters as Force Ghosts or even a memory like Han Solo. With Ben Solo’s sudden disappearance into the Force without a Force ghost at the end of the movie, many are left wondering where does his relationship with Rey go next.
Pablo Hidalgo writes in The Rise of Skywalker The Visual Dictionary, that Rey and Ben Solo are “linked through the Force, a prophesized ‘dyad’ connecting two individuals across space and time“. We have seen objects moved through space across the bond. It’s possible that the next step would be for Rey or Ben to themselves move across their bond. A few fans speculated that we would see them actually “Skywalk” to each other by the end of the sequel trilogy.
We are also given hints of how Rey and Ben are connected across time. In The Force Awakens, Kylo senses and turns towards Rey during her Forceback vision. He also says “what girl” in the movie and “it is you” in the novelization, as if he’s been searching for her from his dreams or his memories. In The Rise of Kylo Ren comic by Charles Soule, it’s confirmed that Rey senses Ben’s fall when she’s still a young girl.
There are also hints in The Visual Dictionary that Exegol could be a nexus point for the World Between Worlds.
Many have speculated that Ben Solo is either in the World Between Worlds or a space in the Force unique to the dyad with Rey, and that he could potentially be brought back through their connection.
Other Dyads in Future Stories
After introducing such a unique concept, it would be great to learn more about the dyad in future content from Lucasfilm. The prophesized dyad is “unforeseen for generations”, so there is also the chance that we could see other dyads throughout the millennia in future Star Wars stories.
The Visual Dictionary includes a Sith Eternal incantation carved into the old Sith Ruins on Exegol that denotes the nature of the dyad. “Curiously, it is nearly identical to text describing the Rule of Two–a Sith doctrine that there could only be two living Sith Lords.” Perhaps the rule was used by Sith from the past in an attempt to form the prophesized dyad.
Past and future dyads could also be connected to each other in the constant battle over good and evil and symbolic parallels could be drawn between Rey and Ben Solo. No matter what their future holds, Rey and Ben’s connection in a time of loneliness and vulnerability is where their true power lies.
“I will always be with you.”
– Ben Solo to Rey in The Rise of Skywalker novelization
Fan Fiction Recommendations
These fan fics apply the concept of the dyad between Rey and Kylo Ren in a unique way:
Love Like Ghosts by Yours_Truly_Commander_Shepard
Rey uses the World Between Worlds to enter different portals and revisit sequel trilogy moments between her and Ben in an attempt to bring him back.
Hiraeth by TheOriginalSuki
Twelve years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey enters the World Between Worlds to bring Ben Solo back, but finds herself at Luke’s Jedi Academy with a young Ben Solo who doesn’t know her yet.
Project 34 by sap 1066
Taking place right after The Rise of Skywalker, Ben Solo is found wandering the ruins of Exegol.