What We Can Learn About Kylo Ren And Rey From Jaina And Jacen Solo

Star Wars is steeped in wildly esoteric lore. Though Disney stripped down the expanded world of the Star Wars universe when they took control of Lucasfilm, fans of the franchise and its expansive decades-deep landscape still use the framework set up by the books and comics to theorize on what might happen next and who we might see appear in the current Star Wars canon. Ever since the first The Force Awakens rumors started creeping around the internet, there were rumblings that the film might include two of the expanded universe's most pivotal characters: Jaina and Jacen Solo. Though the pair never materialized, their story may well be able to give us insight into the future of another pair in the new trilogy: Rey and Kylo Ren.

This post contains observations taken from the trailers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If you're remaining spoiler-free, turn back now.

Who are Jaina and Jacen Solo?

In the world of the expanded universe, everyone's favorite smuggler and the galaxy's most beloved princess had three beautiful bouncing babies. Those children were twins, Jaina and Jacen, and their younger brother, Anakin. Jaina and Jacen were a huge part of the EU, first appearing in Timothy Zahn's The Last Command in '93. During the final part of Zahn's trilogy, Leia finally gave birth to to the twins on Coruscant.

Though they now existed in the universe, it wasn't until 1995's Young Jedi Knights series when the twins truly came to prominence, starring in 14 titles centered around their adventures and experiences at Luke's Jedi academy. Over the decades, the twins were a part of many an important storyline in the EU, but it's their overriding arcs and eventual fates which could really help us discover the truth about Rey and Kylo.

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What have they got to do with Rey and Kylo Ren?

From the first moment that it was revealed that Kylo Ren was in fact Ben Solo, Han and Leia's estranged son, EU fans were seeing reflections of the Solo's other de-canonised first son, Jacen. We know it's clear that Rey and Kylo are unlikely to be twins, but a popular fan theory is that they're secretly brother and sister. Though it would be slightly complex for the filmmakers to explain, it wouldn't be impossible.

The most likely theory is that Han and Leia's other child was thought to be dead after the massacre of the Knights of Ren, causing Luke's self-imposed exile and the breakdown of Leia and Han's relationship, a couple so devastated by that loss that they refuse to even mention it. It would explain Han's immediate attempt to connect with and create a life with Rey. He was replacing the daughter he'd lost so many years ago. We all know that Kylo has struggled to truly commit to the Dark Side, often tempted back to the Light. So could he have secretly saved his younger sister who was training alongside him? The fact that Kylo and Rey's stories so heavily reflect the Solo twins has constantly fuel the fan theory flames.

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What are the similarities?

In the original books, Jaina and Jacen trained under Luke at his Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4 – after being sent away by their parents just like Kylo – as part of a new era of Jedi following the eradication of the legendary warriors during the Empire's purge. In The Force Awakens, it's revealed that Kylo was being trained by his uncle who was preparing a "new generation of Jedi." Though they never mention that Rey was being trained by Luke, or even acknowledge her background, we do see Luke and the Knights of Ren during her Force vision. Could it be that the memories unleashed by the Lightsaber were in fact Rey's rather than Luke's? In that case, it would be safe to say that Rey was likely training under Luke alongside Kylo as young child before she was dropped off on Jakku.

Kylo's descent into the Dark Side seems to echo that of Jacen. He was trained by his legendary uncle to become a famed Jedi warrior and hero of the Galactic Empire, only to betray his family and friends when he turned to the Dark Side like his grandfather, Darth Vader, in a twisted attempt to bring order to the splintered sects of the Galaxy. Though Jacen was the son of Han and Leia, he would be forever remembered as Sith Lord Darth Caedus rather than the name he was born with, just like The Force Awakens' very own Ben Solo.

Jaina Solo was a strong Jedi and a powerful force of good in the Galaxy, taking on talents from her mother and father, both Force sensitive and a dab hand at fixing anything of the mechanical variety. Like Rey, she was also a talented pilot. And much like how the trailers for The Last Jedi suggest a flirtation with the dark side for Rey, Jaina was also perilously close to the Dark Side after the death of her younger brother. Many fervent Star Wars observers have suggested that Rey might be on the wrong path, spurred on by Luke's apparent dismissal of her. If this is the case, we could still see Rey eventually redeemed just like Jaina was in the EU books, ready to save the galaxy and defeat her evil brother.

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What can this tell us about the future of the series?

If Jaina and Jacen are the inspiration behind Kylo and Rey's relationship, then we can learn a lot from the twins' journey in the books. Though the pair are close as children, they diverged in their later years due to Jacen's brutal and aggressive tendencies. Where Jaina became a vital part of the Galactic Alliance, Jacen moved closer to the Dark Side after using the Force to look into the future and discover that he would kill his uncle Luke if he didn't become a Sith apprentice. Like almost every young Jedi who attempts to control the Dark Side of the Force, Jacen slowly became lost to it (just like young Kylo), even killing his own aunt and the wife of Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade. That moment defined his journey away from the Light, mirrored by Kylo's choice to murder his own father on Starkiller Base at the end of The Force Awakens.

There are two major parts of the twins' destiny that could impact the future of the new Star Wars franchise. After years mastering the ways of the Dark Side, Darth Caedus became a Sith Lord. After violating all the laws of the Jedi and committing many atrocities, he was killed by his sister, Jaina. Could that be the arc that we'll see in the new Star Wars trilogy? Rey having to take down a version of Kylo who finally lives up to his dream of finishing what his grandfather started? We already know that Rey is incredibly strong and that Kylo has committed (if not been complicit in) many atrocities, like the eradication of the village on Jakku and the destruction of the five planets in The Force Awakens.

Another moment in Jaina's history leans into one of the most exciting rumbles around The Last Jedi. Fans are speculating that this newest installment could finally see the "Gray Jedi" brought into mainstream Star Wars canon. Jaina was fiercely loyal to her uncle, and when Luke was exiled from the New Jedi Order, she created a stealth splinter group called the Darkmeld to help Skywalker undermine an attempted coup. This is obviously a far different set up than Luke's current self-imposed exile on Ahch-To, but he's still alone and lost in desperate need of help after failing to create his New Jedi Order. Could Rey follow in Jaina's footsteps and create a new group to help the man she's come so far to find? And could that group be the Gray Jedi that fans are so desperate to see brought to life?

If you're not yet versed in Star Wars lore, Gray Jedi is an EU derived blanket term for Jedi who utilize both the Dark Side and the Light of the Force. One of the most well known of these users is Anakin's padawan, Ahsoka Tano. Even Qui Gon Jinn was suspected to be one for his regular disobedience of the Jedi council. Many fans have pondered over whether or not the Gray will be introduced into the cinematic Star Wars universe after noticing that Luke seems to once again be straddling the line between the Light and the Dark in the latest trailers. Luke also states that the Jedi must end. Is this because he truly believes it? Or could it be that he wants the old idea of the Jedi to change, ready for something new and different?

If Rey does decide to save Luke and wants to turn to the Dark Side to do it, who better than her erstwhile foe and potential brother Kylo Ren? We know that he's desperate to teach Rey and that the trailers have hinted at the two teaming up. Could it be that Luke even brings them together? And could they join Forces to bring the Gray Jedi to life? Though these are merely theories at the moment, we now know that Disney is open to adding EU characters to the modern fold, as Admiral Thrawn was added to the cast of Star Wars Rebels. Luckily for us, we only have a month until it's time for us to find out exactly what the future holds for our potential "Solo twins," Rey and Kylo.