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It's time to talk about that Rey and Kylo Ren scene in The Rise of Skywalker

Contains spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

After a sequel trilogy and nearly five years of movie madness, Star Wars fans finally got closure on the Skywalker saga with The Rise of Skywalker, which saw director J.J. Abrams return after taking a break for 2017's The Last Jedi (directed by Knives Out's Rian Johnson). Finally, franchise enthusiasts got to see what happened to Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and the brooding villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as light and dark forces finally finished their battle for supremacy in the galaxy. In the process, one of Star Wars most surprising moments brought this particular saga to a stunning close. That's right: it's time to talk about that major Rey and Kylo Ren scene at the end of The Rise of Skywalker.

Warning: Major spoilers to follow!

Continuing their cosmic connection from The Last Jedi, which established that the two characters can communicate through the Force, Rey and Kylo are locked in a battle of wills throughout The Rise of Skywalker – with Rey desperately trying to save the galaxy from Kylo's insidious First Order, and Kylo teaming up with a still-living Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to bring the Sith order back to full power. The pair are still able to speak across enormous distances, further cementing their bond, even though Kylo is still angry that Rey didn't join forces with him to control the entire universe during the previous film.

After several terse confrontations, Rey and Kylo continue to fight to the death, leading to an incredibly high-stakes fight on the wreck on the remains of the second Death Star, where Rey succeeds in stabbing Kylo. However, when she senses through the Force that Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher) has passed away after using the last of her energy to communicate with Kylo, her wayward son who defected to the dark side, Rey heals Kylo's wound — bringing him back to life as she returns to the Resistance to mourn their intrepid leader.

But the twists don't stop there. When Rey leaves, Kylo is hit with a crisis of conscience and is helped back onto the path of virtue and good by a vision of his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), whom Kylo murdered in cold blood in The Force Awakens. The sight of his late father combined with the Force communication his mother, Leia, sent him moments earlier pushes Kylo over the edge — and he thrusts the hilt of his lightsaber into the ocean, signifying he's done being Kylo Ren and will return to his birth name of Ben Solo. Then, Ben resurfaces later in The Rise of Skywalker to help Rey as she heads to Palpatine's lair, determined to take down the Emperor — who's actually her grandfather, surprise! — once and for all.

The Reylo kiss heard 'round the galaxy

Together, Rey and Ben manage to defeat the Emperor and his Sith forces, though the nefarious baddie seemingly killed Ben by sending him tumbling down a pit. (Pretty ironic, considering Palpatine himself was believed to have died after being thrown down the Death Star's reactor in Return of the Jedi.) When Ben crawls back up and proves he's alive, he stumbles upon a fallen Rey and realizes that the effort required to take down Palpatine has killed her. With one last sacrifice, Ben uses his remaining Force energy to bring Rey back to life just like she did for him. Rey opens her eyes and can hardly believe he has saved her. The two hold one another's faces in their hands, Rey lets out a soft "Ben," and the pair share a brief, tension-filled kiss before Ben dies.

This follows a long push-and-pull between the two about then-Kylo offering Rey his "hand" during The Last Jedi after they defeat former First Order Supreme Leader Snoke (a CGI character played by Andy Serkis). Her refusal to take it clearly weighs on Kylo throughout most of The Rise of Skywalker. By giving the pair a romantic moment following Ben's sacrifice, the film brings the former villain's offer full circle — while also satisfying Rey's request that she take his hand as Ben Solo, not Kylo Ren.

With all of that said, did we really need this kiss to complete the Bendemption – the redemption arc countless were hoping would come to fruition in The Rise of Skywalker? Many fans wondered whether or not the leader of the First Order would turn back to the light side of the Force after his series of evil acts — including but not limited to murdering his own father during The Force Awakens — but for fans who didn't quite buy a romantic throughline for Rey and Ben in the new film, it probably felt pretty inconsistent.

Fans have mixed feelings about Rise of Skywalker's big Reylo scene

Despite J.J. Abrams' best intentions, this scene between Rey and the ex-First Order leader formerly known as Kylo Ren has deeply divided the Star Wars fandom — which, to be fair, is a group of fans that really loves to argue with the choices made by their favorite films.

Plenty of people weren't exactly on the "Reylo" 'ship in the first place, especially considering how manipulative and cruel Kylo could be pre-redemption. Aside from murder and genocide, he also spent The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi emotionally battering and straight-up lying to Rey, telling her that her parents were "nobodies" (though her father was Palpatine's son) and that only he could reveal her true potential. Plenty of people were mildly put off by Rey and Ben sharing a romantic moment given their history, while others felt it made no sense and was a moment borne out of an apparent commitment to fan service.

Unfortunately, even for fans of the Reylo relationship, the scene in The Rise of Skywalker was disappointing. After finally getting the romantic conclusion they'd hoped for, audiences had to watch Ben die, preventing the possibility of he and Rey ever growing or seeking any kind of future together. It would have required much more narrative effort to really sell a potential future union between the two — especially if Rey tried to bring Ben home to meet her friends, all of whom are fighting against him in the Resistance — and clearly, Abrams and his team simply didn't go that extra mile. As Twitter user @gwendy85 said of the scene, "They could have had the most epic love story in their hands. One that's so uplifting and lasts several generations. Far greater than Han and Leia. A love story to overshadow all. Just one more step and they would have done it. But they were too much of a coward to see it through."

It wouldn't be a new Star Wars movie without plenty of heated discourse surrounding it, but clearly, fans are unhappy either way about this brief, anticlimactic moment between Rey and Kylo — which is just one of many disappointing things about The Rise of Skywalker for longtime fans.