The real hero of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have been someone you never suspected.
Those who have seen JJ Abrams’ film know that it sees the return of an old foe who is defeated following a shift in allegiance courtesy of the film’s primary villain
Following huge expectation from fans, the 2019 blockbuster shows the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) turn to the good side to help Rey (Daisy Ridley) defeat Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in the climactic battle.
While much of the journey that steers Kylo – the son of Han Solo and General Leia – from evil to good was left on the cutting room floor, leaving it to the film’s tie-in novel to fill in the gaps, it’s now been revealed that the inspiration behind his redemption was actually Chewbacca.
After Chewbacca is taken prisoner by the Knights of Ren on the planet Pasana, Kylo probes his mind to try and find out where Rey and the other Resistance fighters are located.
What he finds in the beloved Wookie’s mind are memories of experiences he shared with Kylo’s father, as well as thoughts of Kylo as a young boy before he turned to the dark side.
Rae Carlson’s novel reads: ”He saw flashes of the Wookiee laughing with a much younger Han Solo than he himself remembers. Felt Chewbacca’s joy when his best friend married the woman he’d come to love like a sister. Saw the Wookiee cuddling a human toddler, teaching an older boy to fly a speeder, target practice with a young man, their blasters set on stun against a haphazard dummy made of rocks.”
Kylo seeing these memories in Chewbacca’s mind would have been proof that he could come back to the good side despite killing his father in The Force Awakens.
It's no stretch to assume that if he had not of seen this, he would not have returned to assist Rey in defeating Palpatine in the film’s climax.