MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens do NOT scroll down.
I’ve been wanting to analyse this a little further ever since i saw it for the first time in the theater. The lighting and colors of this scene are nearly perfect. They symbolize an incredible amount while also foreshadowing what is about to happen.
We first get a view of our two main characters of the scene from a distance. Right away we see that behind Han is well lit with blue light, and hes relatively visible. Two parts of him showing best are his white shirt and silver hair.
Kylo Ren, on the other hand, has no lights behind him and is wearing all black. making him hard to see. The only lighting we have in this frame is a very subtle skylight and the red lights that cover each side of the bridge.
From a closer look, we see the same as before; Han is well lit with blue lighting behind him. Kylo has no lighting behind him.
The only lighting on Kylo is the red lights from the bridge and the more pale lighting that comes from Han’s half of the bridge in front of Kylo.
Han has an almost blue-ish aura to him. The skylight follows him as he walks closer to Kylo.
Kylo has a similar skylight shining on him, but it’s much more dim.
Now that Han is face to face with Kylo, he has the red lighting of the bridge visible on his face as well. More so than he did before when he was further away. This is the exact point when Han says to Kylo, “Leave here with me. Come home… I miss you.” This is one of the best frames of this scene to me.
Notice the red glow over Kylo’s right shoulder and the blue glow over his left shoulder. Kylo responds to Han saying, “I’m being torn apart.” We know the colors red and blue are very symbolic of ‘good and evil’ in Star Wars. This is a sort of classic ‘good angel telling you to do something good, while the fallen angel is on the other shoulder telling you to do something bad.’
There is a slight moment of relief when Kylo drops his mask. However, the only color left in this frame is red and it’s shining brighter than any of the previous scenes. So, we don’t have much hope for him at this point.
The blue light continues to shine on Han’s side of the bridge and the lighting behind Kylo remains non existent. Completely black. The only light shining on Kylo remains the red light on his face. Notice how the only part of him we can see is his face. He’s going through a real battle of emotions so this makes sense. No other part of Kylo can tell us anything more than his face can in this particular scene.
Now this frame is pretty much a gradient. Blue on the left side of the frame and red on the right. From what we have learned from the lighting and colors thus far, we can only believe that Kylo has not had a change of heart.
Now we see the weapon. The tool Kylo has used to kill and do his sith-like deeds. Will Kylo truly let go? Both metaphorically and physically at this point. This is the turning point for Kylo. He can either go with his father, or continue on his path. There is no other way. To quote my favorite Star Wars movie character, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
Our main source of light for the scenes is now hidden behind some clouds, making the scene dark. This is already a bad sign. If you follow films, or just Star Wars for that matter, you will know that a main theme is Light=Good and Darkness=Evil.
Side note: Notice how Finn and Rey are sort of the main source of light when it comes to this scene. They are standing directly in the spot where the light enters the scene. If i was a betting man, I’d say that Finn and Rey will remain on the light side of the force for the next two films. I don’t think either of them run a chance at turning to the dark side. However, we all know that if anyone is going to be tempted it’s certainly going to be Rey.
First look at our light side of the scene after the clouds took out our sunslight. Blackness. We know this can’t be good for Han at this point. The aura of blue-ish light he brought with him onto that bridge is no more.
Kylo remains the same as he was before in the previous frames.
We now cut to a new shot of the weapon. This time, it’s an even closer shot. We actually pushed toward the lightsaber. If there was any chance of Kylo letting go of that weapon i would think the DoP would have pulled away from the lightsaber in this shot. This would symbolically let us know that Kylo is now distancing himself from the weapon. However, the opposite happens and we push further. Now we know Kylo is keeping it.
The end for Han Solo. Nothing but blackness and red in this shot.
This shot just drills home that Han is now gone. Before, we had nothing but a blue light shining on the back of Han. Now, due to the blade, it’s red.
Han falls. He falls into a bright blue, foggy grave. Finally we have our blue light back. Rest in peace, Han Solo.