If Kylo Ren’s and Rey’s relationship in Star Wars: The Last Jedi put you into a bit of a tizzy, you’re not the only one. Their on-screen connection spurred countless think pieces and supplied emotional conflict to balance out the violent conflict taking place in the rest of the film.
Director Rian Johnson explained to People that those scenes are so powerful for that exact reason. “For those force connections, I needed them to talk. And I thought that the hardest thing that Rey could possibly be faced with is being forced to talk to this person that she completely despises,” Johnson said. “And also the audience, we hate him coming into it. She had to be our proxy and so that’s why in those first few conversations, she is just spitting in his face.”
During scenes where Kylo and Rey were connected by the force without being in each others' physical presence, one actor often stood off camera to act out the scene with the other. This meant the two sometimes traveled long distances just to stand off screen for one another’s scene. “Every single time we shot one of their sides, the other person was off camera. Even to the point where Adam flew to Ireland just to be off camera for Daisy’s stuff, which was essential because they’re such intimate conversations,” Johnson explained. “And that also meant we had to shoot each of those scenes twice basically, which meant the rehearsal time was really important. And my editor Bob Ducsay did an amazing job then of making it feel kind of seamless after the fact.”
We'll have to wait and see if J.J. Abrams keeps up this intense relationship using the same strategy in the next film, and if we can look forward more shirtless Kylo Ren in the future.