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Rey in The Force Awakens

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There are few film franchises quite as beloved as Star Wars, as the galaxy far, far away continues to dominate popular culture. George Lucas' colorful space opera has been entertaining moviegoers for decades, resulting in generations of hardcore fans. And while every frame is dissected and discussed by the fandom, there are still many lingering questions and fan theories. Luckily for us, one such question has recently be answered. Namely, how did Rey manage to best Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel during The Force Awakens?

J.J. Abrams kickstarted Star Wars back up with The Force Awakens, creating a set of new characters to interact with franchise favorites. The third act saw Kylo Ren engage both Finn and Rey in lightsaber combat, eventually losing to the latter Force amateur. This was a series of events that bothered some fans, as Ben Solo had years of training over Daisy Ridley's character. Answers have come thanks to the novelization of The Rise of Skywalker, which has been expanding the story of Episode IX. It turns out that Chewbacca was once again an unsung hero, as shooting Kylo Ren after he killed Han greatly hindered his performance. The book has a scene with Kylo and Chewie, which reads:

‘I have not forgotten that you shot me,’ Kylo said. That wound had resulted in a defeat at Rey's hands. Had he been in top fighting form, the scavenger never would have gotten the best of him.

Finally some answers! While Kylo Ren can be seen bleeding during his lightsaber duels on Starkiller Base, it looks like Chewbacca's blow to the villain took more of a toll than we realized. Combine that with Rey's legacy as a Palpatine, and she was able to use The Force and win her very first battle with the ancient Jedi weapon.

Star Wars fans can re-watch the Skywalker Saga on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

This scene is from the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's novel (via ScreenRant), and is one of the many plot lines that are clarified in the book adaptation of J.J. Abrams' blockbuster. The book has been answering questions left and right, most notably revealing exactly how Palpatine was resurrected prior to his return to the franchise. But it turns out that these clarifying tidbits also date back to The Force Awakens.

As a reminder, you can check out Han Solo's death scene below, which features Chewbacca nailing Kylo Ren with a blast from his bowcaster.

The Force Awakens previously showed that destructive power of Chewbacca's primary weapon, with Han Solo taking it up and enjoying blasting Stormtroopers to bits. Kylo Ren took a direct hit from the bowcaster, so it makes sense that he would be wounded later on in the film. Finn even lands a hit on him during their brief battle, before Rey takes Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber and bests the villain.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available on video on demand now, and will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on March 31st. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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