Kornhaber: Do you think the film understood why you, and other people, felt like Rey and Kylo had something together? Did it get their chemistry?
Ricca: A little bit, but not compared to the first one, which J. J. [Abrams] also wrote and directed, which is very confusing to me. Maybe they didn’t have space for it and it was cut.
Rosie: It’s not like these things happen by accident. Reylos have clung to this forever: There is no reason that J. J. Abrams made Adam Driver take off his helmet like that in The Force Awakens and filmed him like a pillow-lipped, dewy-eyed space sex prince. Like, it was all so intentional. Then Rian Johnson gave us sexy Force Skype with Adam Driver looking like a goddamned beefcake.
Rosie: Then here, except for the kiss scene—Daisy and Adam, they did very well with what they were given—I didn’t feel a spark. Maybe that was editing. Could have been writing. But the tension, connection, and emotion that comes through in the Force Skyping in The Last Jedi did not exist in this film.
Ricca: It might not be there because they didn’t give it enough time. You can’t sow that tension when you’re doing quick cuts every 30 seconds. You need the long lingering shots of them gazing at each other. You need those micro-expressions that both of those actors are really good at.
Lex: I think the issue with that is that the Force bond didn’t get expanded on. Instead it got used as special effects. They chose to go that route instead of expanding the Force bond and deepening it.
Ricca: Well, they made it more powerful in this movie for sure. ’Cause they’re passing stuff back and forth, and that is a huge power. But it’s not an interesting, meaningful, interpersonal one. Putting too much weight on interpersonal relationships, Star Wars has never really been a franchise that does that. It’s there, but a lot of the expansion comes from the books and the fan community.
Rosie: But we got more of that expansion in The Last Jedi because they were allowed to have conversations. Where in this film, it was quick; it was quippy. There weren’t real conversations. The Force bond becomes more powerful, but it doesn’t become more deep. That can be said of the Force overall in this movie.
Lex: It has about the depth of a teaspoon, this movie.
Kornhaber: What about the handling of Kylo’s redemption? I know that’s something you had to think through in your stories.
Ricca: Star Wars again and again shows that the way you redeem yourself is through death. That was a huge part of the story we wrote: We didn’t want to do that. It’s cheap. It’s unfair. And it really doesn’t give you anywhere to go from there. The common conception is that Darth Vader was redeemed by killing Palpatine in his last moments, and maybe the same holds true for his grandson. But that’s not fixing the things that you did. That’s not making amends. That’s not making the world a better place—except in the very immediate sense that someone even worse than you is dead, maybe, maybe not. Is Darth Vader still redeemed if he didn’t actually kill Palpatine?