While answering questions from fans at a recent Q&A session, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams commented on the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren and stated that their connection was originally developed as that of siblings rather than romantic or sexual partners.

In a video taken at the Q&A session, Abrams can be seen and heard responding to a fan.

JJ Abrams’ interpretation of Kylo and Rey’s relationship from StarWarsLeaks

According to a Reddit thread discussing the video, “asked J.J. if he thought of Rey and Kylo romantically ever since TFA or like when in the process he decided to do the kiss and he skirted around the question saying like there’s finnrey, finnpoe etc aka like they didn’t have a plan and then he says some other odd stuff” by informing the fan that he had originally envisioned Rey and Kylo Ren as siblings in a thematic parallel to the sibling relationship between Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa:

 “There’s as much of a brother and sister thing with Rey and Kylo Ren as there is romantic. So it’s not literally a sexually/romantic kind of thing. It’s more like they’re just bound together in this crazy, spiritual way. Again, felt romantic to me.”

Abrams continued by stating that he “didn’t know where [the relationship] was going” and left the conclusion ambiguous at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, similarly to composer John Williams’ process in creating Luke Skywalker’s theme from the original trilogy:

“It’s like if you’re listening to the John Williams, when he first wrote the Luke ‘theme’, it was a romantic theme for Luke and Leia. That was kind of what he was thinking because, he didn’t know where it was going.”

The idea that Kylo Ren and Rey had a familial bond rather than a romantic one is further supported in current Star Wars canon by Marvel’s Star Wars comics. In Darth Vader #25, Anakin Skywalker sees a Force vision revealing that Emperor Palpatine manipulated the Force to induce a virgin pregnancy in Shmi Skywalker:

J.J. Abrams on Relationship Between Rey and Kylo Ren: “There's as Much of a Brother and Sister Thing as There is Romantic”

If this moment is to be considered canon, this would imply that Rey, being the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, would be Kylo Ren’s aunt.

However, this moment is highly debated amongst members of the Lucasfilm Story Group, a division of Lucasfilm responsible for keeping track of Star Wars canon.

Matt Martin, a member of the group, recently stated that “if the intention was to make a direct connection between Palps and Anakin’s birth, I would have had it removed.”

Gellow member Pablo Hidalgo has conversely stated that he was confused as to why the moment was “being treated as groundbreaking” and noted that “what’s in Episode III” supported this theory.

Charles Soule, the author of Darth Vader #25 implies this vision Vader sees of Palpatine and Shmi is the Dark Side manipulating him. He specifically states, “The Dark Side is not a reliable narrator.”

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