|Pairing:||Rey/Kylo Ren (Ben Solo)|
|Alternative name(s):||Reylo, Reyben, benrey|
|Fandom:||Star Wars, Star Wars: The Force Awakens,Star Wars: The Last Jedi|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
After TFA's release it was mostly an example of shipping canon adversaries, sometimes known as enemyslash. After the release of TLJ, in which they both had positive interactions with each other (widely seen as mutually romantic by its shippers), the fanon portrayal of this ship became softer.
As of August 20th, 2019, Reylo is the most popular ship in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy fandom on Archive Of Our Own. There are 12,700 fanworks in the Rey/Ben Solo | Kylo Ren tag on Archive of Our Own as of August 20th, 2019. Comparatively, there are 43,109 fanworks in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy tag on the Archive as of August 20th, 2019. It's also the most popular ship from all Star Wars media.
Rey and Kylo had a significant amount of canon interaction in the second film, unlike the first installment. It is discovered that they have a Force Bond. During the throne room scene, Supreme Leader Snoke claimed to have created the bond in order to manipulate them. Their bond remains at the end of the movie even though Snoke is no longer alive.
Important canon moments for this ship include the five scenes of the force bond, their fight against the Praetorian Guard, the offering of the hand of Kylo Ren to Rey and the union of their hands in the cabin before being interrupted by Luke Skywalker. At the end of the film, we can see that they still share a connection that leaves us with an unknown ending about the direction of their relationship in the next film.
In the last film of the franchise, The Rise of Skywalker, the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren remains firm. They have several fights although they are in different places, which happens thanks to their Force Bond, which is still in force. It is through this that they can transfer different objects between them throughout the plot. Kylo reveals to Rey that their bond is actually a Force dyad, two that are one in the Force and a connection not seen in generations. During the first two acts, Kylo tries to turn Rey to the dark side but without success.
It is during the end of the second act and the beginning of the first that they have another fight in the remains of the Death Star. During this fight, Kylo is distracted and Rey impales him with a lightsaber, although a few seconds later she heals him with the Force. It happens after healing him that she confesses that she wanted to take his hand, Ben's hand. After this event he redeems himself: Kylo Ren is dead but Ben Solo alive. During the last and third acts, both fight against Palpatine, who steals the energy of their dyad and throws Ben into a pit. Rey manages to defeat him alone but she dies. Ben Solo comes back from the pit, holds her in his arms and decides to revive her using the Force. Rey looks at him and calls him "Ben", Rey immediately kisses him, they smile each other, and then he vanishes into the Force.
Reylo became popular as soon as The Force Awakens, the first sequel film, was released, only exceeded by Stormpilot. Initially, there were conflicts between fans because some were afraid that the two characters would turn out to be related in some way (see also Luke/Leia) since both were force-sensitive. However, the possibility of incest was denied in the second film.
Fannish Resistance to the Pairing
As of late December 2015, tumblr wank about Reylo was already in progress with some fans asking for trigger warnings for the pairing. Others object to the pairing on the basis that the characters may, at some point, be revealed to be related (according to the theory that the orphan Rey is a Skywalker) and it would be incest.
The incest concern has a long history in Star Wars fandom as during the original trilogy, Luke/Leia shippers were chagrined to find that George Lucas had torpedoed their pairing by revealing that Luke and Leia were twins. While today there is more acceptance of incest pairings, it was virtually non-existent in the 1970s and 1980s.
Ironically, some male fans have attempted to use Reylo to argue that there never has been any shipping among Star Wars fans. Or, at least among "real" or "normal" (aka male) Star Wars fans.
"Star Wars is not (nor has it ever been) about "shipping". That's what anime is for. Or Twilight. The Han and Leia relationship doesn't have any similarity to "reylo". ....Normal fans didn't do that. You can try to equate reylos to that, but it's a reach...I was there, man. Everyone around me was an SW fan. And no one was "shipping".
As of December 2017, the most-kudosed Star Wars fanwork on the AO3 is a 12-word anti-Reylo fic titled "a reylo fic" that exists solely to trash the ship. The work was created only a few days after The Force Awakens was released and includes tags indicating its author objected to the potential incest.
- "That's why the amount of wank over (Reylo) baffles me. It's neither uniquely problematic nor revolutionary. So why the extreme fuss?" on FFA
- Article on online fannish harassment with regards to Reylo
A post on thesovereignempress.tumblr.com called for non-American Reylo shippers to share thoughts of their country's opinion on the ship. Most responders expressed that they had not encountered much hate for the ship.
[Germany] I never really communicate my deep fangirl tendencies with people out of my immediate circle of friends and they are not particular towards Reylo - like most of the time when I tell them I’d like to see them together I get a nod and a shrug, nobody really cares too much about shipping in my neck of the woods. [...] I have not felt strong resistance against Reylo when I’ve brought it up anywhere. My brother gravely dislikes Kylo but he says he’s maybe like him if he got a redemption arc and got with Rey..and he is fairly convinced that that’s precisely what’ll happen :)
[Germany] I do not think many people, even SW fans, really care. They just go with what the movie gives them and then wait patiently because they know they cannot affect the outcome anyway.
Here in Mexico shipping is NOT really common, even inside of fandom is unusual to discuss ships as passionately as I’ve seen here, but the general attitude is that people don’t care about what you do or don’t ship (wich is great) most of my friends and family know that I ship (more like I’m obsessed with) Reylo and I haven’t got any backlash about it. As a matter of fact even my mom ships it, I have friends IRL who prefer FinnRey, Damerey and Kylux but our relationship remains the same, so yeah Tumblr’s discourse was really wierd to me.
France here, and people are sooo stubborn with the Rey Skywalker theory, and most of them don’t even know what a ship is soooo… either they are completely against it, [or] they don’t know about it lmao. But there is still a tiny bit of Reylo shippers that I talk with tho
[Japan] First of all SW is surely one of the most popular films here but the fandom is probably much smaller in Japan than western countries or even other Asian countries. It might be due to the fact that Japanese people are not really familiar with foreign films in general.But Reylo is exceptionally popular as a hetero pairing [...] Yes, we have Reylo haters, however, they are never so offensive or active as in western countries. Basically we Japanese seem to be free from the moral accusation against fictional characters or pairings. Haters hate Kylo but it's because he killed beloved Han Solo or he looks too miserable as a successor to Darth Vader, not because of his so-called problematic relationship to Rey. Both age difference and heroine-villain pairing per se are not considered as problematic at all here. They are actually popular traits in fictional hetero pairing.
Here in Italy Reylo is not the most popular ship, fandom prefers Kylux, but with some friends we’ve created a Tumblr blog only in Italian, to translate meta and organize writing/drawing challenges. I didn’t find so much hate about Reylo, anyway: people are ok with enemy/heroine dynamics or age gaps and shipping is seen as a “private” thing, so you can do whatever you want with fictional characters, basically. I also discussed peacefully with Kylux shippers and we respect each other without problems, regardless of what we ship. Some people hate Kylo Ren for what he did to Han, some didn’t like him ‘cause “he’s such an idiot Vader was better” (maaany people didn’t like Episode VII), but I don’t know people who think Kylo/Rey relationship is unhealthy or something.
Here in the Philippines, I have yet to meet anyone hostile to Reylo. I think it’s because shipping couples comes naturally to my people (weird as it may seem to people in other countries, but in my country, shipping REAL PEOPLE *actors* is considered the norm and not at all offensive // we call them LOVE TEAMS) and while we do have our squicks, we tend to ship and let ship. Going back to Reylo, like I said I have yet to meet anyone here that is hostile towards the pairing. Maybe hostile towards Kylo Ren, and maybe a few who are surprised that Reylo exists, but nothing like what ant*s do. Ant* shipping is generally frowned upon here. The worst that could happen is Love Team A vs Love Team B where trash talking occasionally happens, which is also a behavior that’s frowned upon. Also shippers here from my observation are more open minded. I’ve explained Reylo to a few people who were originally non-shippers and they either understand why or become shippers themselves.
[unspecified Middle East]I have asked most of the SW fans I know about Rey and Kylo, and none had an issue with the villain/heroine trope or were disgusted by the idea. Only one guy hated the idea, not for ‘abuse’ (which I do not believe Reylo stands for), but introducing romance will diminish Kylo Ren’s image as a villain.
- Force bond fics began to appear soon after the release of The Force Awakens. A force bond between these two characters was canonized in The Last Jedi.
- Pre-canon fics and Alternative First Meeting.
- Post TFA, some works theorized that it was Kylo Ren who left Rey on Jakku. Sometimes she was a former student of Luke Skywalker's school, or Kylo Ren did this to protect Rey from Snoke. This trope may involve Kylo altering Rey's memories with the force, to ensure she doesn't remember her childhood school.
- Jedi Academy AU where Rey and Kylo grew up at Luke's Jedi school.
- You need a teacher - Some works depict Kylo Ren training Rey in the use of the force.
- Arranged Marriage.
- Modern AUs and Historical AUs.
- Mythology AUs, especially Hades/Persephone.
- Virgin!fic is popular, often with both being virgins, though occasionally only one (inconsistent on which one that is).
- Future fics sometimes depict Rey and Kylo running away from the war, and beginning a family.
- Post-TLJ some AU fics showed Rey taking Kylo up on his offer to rule the galaxy together.
- Enemies to lovers.
- Post TROS
- Calligraphy: Kylo/Ben pratices calligraphy.
- Touch-starved: Rey and Kylo are both touch starved.
Many fans of this pairing have engaged in a ship war, not necessarily with fans who preferred another paring, but with fans who disliked the ship regardless of the alternative. This often meant fans of the pairing Finn/Rey, but not always.
- Forms by Trebia, December 2015 - January 2016
- Interstellar Transmissions by LovelyThings and Ricca_riot, December 2015 - February 2016
- A Collision of Stars by dustoftheancients, Rey gets in over her head in an attempt to save her friend. Kylo Ren can do little else but get swept up along with her, because his trajectory has become tied with hers. January 2016-March 2017
- The Moon, the Sun, and the Star Inbetween. by Silvershine, A broken Force Bond isn't the easiest thing to bear, especially when the one you're missing is your sworn enemy and the father of your child. Warning: Parenting: Skywalker Style. (Kidfic). February-April 2016
- Within Monsters by AnnonymousMink, When work dries up on Jakku, a desperate Rey enlists with Galactech-- a tech company who will hire anyone with the right skills, and work for anyone for the right price. Now trapped onboard the Finalizer, Rey is both horrified and fascinated by the dark tales she hears about the leader of the Knights of Ren and the mysterious Force he controls. (Alternate First Meeting). February-October 2016
- Thwarted by Perry Dowling, May 2016 - October 2017
- Ileenium Manor by WaterlilyRose, Rey decided she hated Lord Benjamin Solo before she even met him. So when he comes to take his rightful place as heir to Ileenium Manor where she works as a maid, it will test Rey in ways she couldn't have imagined. (Historical AU). July 2016-March 2017
- Landscape with a blur of conquerors by diasterisms, "While I share your contempt for this situation in which we find ourselves, do not mistake it as apathy," he hissed through gritted teeth, dark eyes burning. "I hardly expect your disposition to sweeten, but I will be damned if I allow my future Empress to behave in a manner that reflects poorly on me and on the First Order!" (Arranged Marriage). July 2017-2019
- Play To Win (Link) by Enterprisingly, (Modern AU, Gamer AU) January 2018-December 2018. This fic is currently hidden on Ao3, as the author is publishing their work professionally.
- Rey/Kylo by thealeksdemon. December 27, 2015
- imagine if rey took up kylo’s offer of being her teacher by mickinuo (dark!Rey). January 14, 2016
- I don’t care, go on and tear me apart. by arriku. February 2016
- The Ruins of Our Empire by winterofherdiscontent
- Don't Be Afraid, I feel It Too by DarknessEternity91. Dec 28, 2015
- You Have Compassion For Her by DarknessEternity91. Jan 28, 2016
- Once Upon a Dream by Victoria Anne. Jan 11, 2016
- Animal impulses by DreamingOfDestiny. Dec 26, 2015
- Reylo Anthology: 2017 Calendar
- Reylo After Dark: 2017 Calendar
- Reylo Art Calendar
- Reylo Tarot Project
- Solaris Tarot
- Lords of the Sith podcast
- Women of the Whills podcast
- Girls with Sabers youtube channel
Archives & Fannish Links
- Tags: kylo ren x rey, rey x kylo ren, reylo, reyben, benrey
- AO3 Feed Reylo
- First Train to Hell
- Reylo Art
- Shipcestuous tags: Kylo Ren and Rey; fanart; fanfiction; images; commentary; funny; AUs; parallels; cast; reactions; uncategorized; my edits
- 50 Shades of Rey by Spencer Kornhaber (March 30, 2016)
- The Fan Fiction That Predicted a Big Last Jedi Storyline by Spencer Kornhaber (December 21, 2017)
- Imagining a Better End to The Rise of Skywalker by Spencer Kornhaber (January 4, 2020)
- On the slash-focused AO3 it is the second most common ship in the Star Wars fandom, with 14,116 works as of 14 December 2019.
- Fifty Shades of Reylo by Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic Magazine, 2016-03-30, accessed 2016-04-03
- 2016’s Top Ships
- 2017's Top Ships
- 2018's Top Ships
- On Reylo..., Archived version;
Stop complaining that Reylo is the most popular ship. It’s not., Archived version;
ok honestly why is Reylo even a thing, Archived version
- bruh, Archived version;
what is with skywalkers and their unknowing incestial tendencies?, Archived version
- comments by IndyNcognito (Redd Fourman @AfterLastJedi, Archived version
- Based on using the sort & filter function on the Star Wars - All Media Types tag (57660 works), 19 December 2017. The fic has 20547 kudos, 4552 comments, 921 bookmarks, and 128834 hits.
- a reylo fic by treezie, 2015-12-19. archived. Additional tags: #U kno this is a bad ship bc of the #Incest #and general badstuff right
- tumblr reblog by dachi-chan25, 14 Oct 2016. archived.
- Comment by moorisu
- tumblr reblog by nemling, 14 October 2016. archived.
- tumblr reblog by lion-hearted-wolf, 14 October 2016. archived.
- tumblr reblog by gwendy85, 14 October 2016.archived.