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Taylor Swift, Folklore, and Star Wars

How Taylor Swift's 2020 album Folklore connects to Star Wars and the Sequel Trilogy

On July 24, 2020 Taylor Swift released a surprise album called Folklore. Immediately, fans and the general public exploded with excitement. A world that has been in lockdown for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been grasping at any form of media to pass the time, connect emotionally, and experience together. Folklore, created by Swift entirely during the lockdown, proved to be no exception. The album and its track titles trended on Twitter all day and Swift would go on to sell 1.3 million units within 24 hours.

Many Taylor Swift fans like myself have grown up with her, from her teens, through her twenties, and now into her thirties. Each album and song with their unique biographical lyrics has been a snapshot into her life, but also serves as a placeholder to each of her fans during ours. Folklore, with its haunting ballads and poignant lyrics seems to be the balm many of us need right now.

Due to the storytelling nature of her lyrics, fans also enjoy taking Taylor Swift’s words and adapting them into other fandoms that they are a part of. Whether that’s in gif sets, fan fiction, or fan art. Her lyrics are applied to another piece of media to elevate and transform.

The Star Wars community was quick to break apart her latest album to help process the sequel trilogy and The Rise of Skywalker.

cardigan and Rey’s Heroine’s Journey in the Sequel Trilogy

In this post, Emrys from Girls with Sabers takes images from Taylor Swift’s music video for the song cardigan and applies it to Rey’s arc in the sequel trilogy.

Star Wars Fans, especially fans of the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren / Ben Solo (Reylos), have compared Rey’s arc in the Sequel Trilogy to The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock the same way that George Lucas used Joesph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey to frame Luke Skywalker’s arc.

The Heroine’s Journey according to Murdock, “is about going down deep into soul, healing and reclaiming.” It is a much more internal journey and about the female protagonist’s search for wholeness.

At the end of the cardigan music video, Taylor Swift puts on her cardigan and her face is finally at peace symbolizing she has achieved that internal wholeness after all of the trials and tribulations she’s been through on her journey.

Other Sources: What the Force? Podcast episode on Rey’s Heroine’s Journey and a chart of the steps

the invisible string between Rey and Kylo

Many fans have speculated that Taylor Swift’s song invisible string is about the Red String of Fate, the invisible string from Chinese mythology that connects two soulmates. Reylos since The Force Awakens have had the theory that the Red String of Fate symbolically and the Force-bond canonically between Rey and Kylo also bind their fates together.

Other Sources: What the Force? podcast episode about the Red String of Fate

folklore and The Last Jedi

These lyrics from the song epiphany work perfectly with where Kylo Ren is during The Last Jedi. He has the flesh wound across his face from Rey at the end of The Force Awakens symbolizing his internal wound after killing his father, and he has to keep his wits about him after such a defeat if he’s going to continue being torn apart by the dark side and the light.
The hand touch between Rey and Kylo is the consummation of their connection with each other. These lyrics from illicit affairs describe that secret bond only they know.

folklore and The Rise of Skywalker

These lyrics from my tears ricochet fit perfectly with this emotional moment from The Rise of Skywalker when Kylo tells Rey, “You can’t go back to her (Leia). Just like I can’t” because he still believes he can’t return home.
These powerful lyrics from my tears ricochet describe not only the waves surrounding the death star ruins, but also the churning emotions between Kylo and Rey. Rey delivers a mortal wound to Kylo, but she’s unable to live with that decision so she shares her life force and heals him.
This lyric from the song cardigan is about a lover helping to heal old scars. In the scene above from The Rise of Skywalker, Rey is not only healing the physical scars she created (the one across Ben’s face from The Force Awakens and the stab wound from The Rise of Skywalker), but she is also metaphorically helping to heal Ben Solo’s biggest scar, killing his father by giving him a second chance at life. Because of this, Ben Solo is able to reconcile with his father and make the choice towards redemption.
exile is not only a Taylor Swift song, but is one option given by those who wanted Ben Solo to stay alive at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, that he could separate himself from the galactic conflict and perform good deeds as atonement. The above lyrics fit on a meta level for those fans.
Here our heroes both die similar to the final scene in Romeo and Juliet, but in the end, they are separated from each other. Many are left wondering what the movie is trying to say with such a conflicted ending.
(lyrics from hoax)
These final moments for Ben Solo found him with the person he loved enough to give his life for.
(lyrics from my tears ricochet)

the last great american dynasty and the Skywalkers

This lyric from the last great american dynasty has become a bonafide meme since Folklore‘s release, often used ironically just like it is in the song. Taylor sings about the heiress who previously owned her house in Rhode Island and how the neighbors would say that she ruined everything. Taylor ends the song in a tongue in cheek way because now she is the house’s new owner that the neighbors say is ruining everything. The song speaks to the idea of legacy and matches perfectly with the loss of the Skywalkers, a pop culture American dynasty.

This is the next lyric in the last great american dynasty and like the song, here, it is used sarcastically because Rey at the end of The Rise of Skywalker adopts the Skywalker legacy, but she is also the one that helps bring the last Skywalker back over to the light.

Fans of Taylor Swift and Star Wars will continue to analyze both and the pairing makes sense because Star Wars is after all, the folklore of our modern times.

Hammie BalancedPadawan
Hammie BalancedPadawan
Hammie became a Star Wars fan in 2018 after she binge-watched all of the movies in a week. She fell in love with The Last Jedi, the mythology, and the Force and has been tweeting about Star Wars every day since!

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