Spoilers for Episode VII. As with the previous article discussing Rey, this too is a discussion filled with spoilers and theories.
Welcome to Part II of my Star Wars: The Force Awakens analysis. In this article I’m discussing the complexity of Kylo Ren and some of the theories out there surrounding his decisions in the film. In my previous article on Rey, I left some things out regarding her character because they were relevant to Kylo Ren, especially regarding the fight near the end of the movie.
Much of this is speculation so please feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page with ideas or thoughts.
Is there any redemption for Kylo Ren?
Honestly, after my first viewing of Ep 7, I was convinced he was the new Darth Maul. So completely immersed in the dark side, he was, that there was no redemption after his brazen and terrible murders. Nearly a month removed from that first viewing, and having watched the movie two other times I think I’ve come to a rather interesting theory on Kylo Ren’s future. And furthermore, I think J. J. Abrams put it in the movie for all of us to see.
At the very moment Han Solo confronts his son on the bridge, the sun of the Hosnian system being sucked into Starkiller base is nearing its end. We know this because Finn and Rey open the doors at the top of the cavernous building and one of the most iconic shots of the movie unfolds before us. Han Solo slowly walks toward his son hoping to bring him home. The fading light casts a strange aura on the bridge as Kylo Ren becomes emotional about what he knows he must do, though confessing he doesn’t have the strength to do it.
It is my theory that in that moment, there was a spark of light fighting to overcome the dark within Kylo Ren. His father was succeeding in winning him back. Then the sun goes out and the entire scene is bathed in a dark red glow. The expression on Kylo Ren’s face changes ever so slightly, he grips the saber a little tighter and to no one’s real surprise the red lightsaber blade ignites through the stunned Han Solo. I must confess that I died a little in that scene myself as my childhood hero tumbled into the abyss.
The Hosnian sun going out represents Ben Solo’s goodness being consumed by the shadowy Supreme Leader Snoke. Han even warns his son that Snoke will crush him once he’s finished using him. So if Snoke is represented by the Starkiller Base and what’s left of Ben Solo is represented by the sun, then that means Kylo Ren will eventually and spectacularly turn back to the light side, utterly destroying Snoke in the process.
Think about it this way. After the massive battle on Starkiller Base, the good guys win the day and the planet violently breaks apart revealing the sun once more bright and shining.
It is my opinion that Kylo Ren will die at the hands of Ben Solo with a little help from the rest of the good guy crew, and Ben Solo will spring forth from the darkness a completely redeemed soldier for the light side, though not without repercussions. I don’t think Ben Solo will be long for this world if he turns back to the light as the destruction of Snoke will require his own sacrifice. Plus, don’t forget, Chewie swore a Life Debt to Han. He may not be able to stop himself if confronted with the chance to kill Kylo Ren or Ben Solo, regardless of his force leanings. I mean, remember what Chewie did to Lando? And Han was still alive! Of course if the whole idea of a Life Debt isn’t canon anymore, than that goes out the window. Plus, Chewie’s swearing of a life debt extends to the whole family, meaning he still owes one to Kylo Ren. This is probably why he only winged him in the side with his bowcaster.
I don’t, however, believe killing Snoke is Kylo Ren’s secret plan as some people have oddly suggested. Han even mentions that he has too much Vader in him. That is a rather terrible thing to say about someone when you look at who Vader was. Vader, or Anakin, was never a leader. He is and always was a follower of others in spite of what he might have thought or been told. Anakin did what Watto told him to do when he was a kid. He followed, briefly, what Qui-Gon Jinn told him to do. He followed what Obi Wan Kenobi told him to do for a rather long time. He eventually did what the Emperor told him to do. Any time Vader made up his own mind, the decision was a decidedly terrible one, save for his last. If Ben Solo is too much like Vader then he’s a follower of men who has a knack for making terrible independent decisions. It will take Ben Solo killing the darkness inside him through a massive series of violent acts before he will be redeemed and that violence will most likely kill him.
More than anything I feel Kylo Ren is something altogether different than any of the bad guys in the Star Wars universe. I would like to believe that he’s redeemable but will happily admit that I’m okay if he isn’t. I mean, killing his father, my hero, was probably the worst thing he could have done.
How was he defeated by Rey in that final fight?
I’ll discuss Kylo Ren’s fight with Finn in the next article. For now, the mysterious Rey.
Rey is ridiculously powerful. She’s using her new found powers in the same way a baby Rattlesnake is more dangerous than an adult. She can’t control her powers and they flood out of her during the chaos of the battle at Starkiller Base. Regardless, even if she wasn’t wielding all new powers, she’d still be rather formidable against Kylo Ren in that final fight for a few different reasons.
First, she spent at least the last 15 years on Jakku fighting off all manner of beast trying to kill or steal from her. We’re given evidence throughout the film that she’s no slouch in a fight. Plus, it’s been suggested, and I totally agree, that she’s tapping into the dark side during the epic saber fight. As Yoda suggests, it’s easier and more seductive than the path of a Jedi. To an untrained Rey, all she feels is a new power and she lets it flow.
Second, Kylo Ren is SERIOUSLY hurt. It was made clear all movie long that Chewie’s Bowcaster rifle is ridiculously powerful. This wasn’t just some joke thrown in for laughs. This was to prove a point. Kylo Ren took a full on blast from a very pissed off Wookie directly to his side. Every other person who’s hit by the Bowcaster is sent flying 20 feet. Kylo Ren takes the shot like a boss and then chases down two rather fit and, might I add, very emotionally charged people in an attempt to murder one and turn another.
Third, Kylo Ren underestimates Rey. Their first encounter outside of Maz Kanata’s place is very one sided. Rey is scared and Kylo Ren uses the force to toy with her. He only first starts to understand her powers at the same time she does, though again, he’s conceited enough to believe he’s far more powerful than she is. Do you blame him though? He’s been trained for decades and as far as he knows, he’s one of the only force sensitive people in the galaxy. The odds of him running into another, especially after his mini purge, is low.
Fourth, killing his father weakened Kylo Ren a great deal. Until that point I feel he was tapping into both the light and dark sides of the force. He is something more akin to the Gray Jedi. Yes, that’s a real thing in the Star Wars universe, though again, I’m not entirely sure its canon anymore. That being said, I didn’t just make it up. This is someone who doesn’t distinguish between good and bad, light and dark. Instead the Gray Jedi walk the line between light and dark. Some believe Qui-Gon Jinn falls within this definition. Kylo Ren throughout the entire movie may be demonstrating Gray Jedi tendencies whether he means to or not. The simple fact that he confesses to feeling the light is proof enough. However, when he kills his father, he purges all light from himself and now depends entirely on the dark side, something he’s never had to do before. The only thing we see him do with the Force after he kills Han, is throw Rey a few yards into a tree. He tries to call Anakin’s lightsaber to him a few minutes later but obviously fails when Rey grabs it instead. Kylo Ren has lost power, something he wasn’t expecting.
Kylo Ren is an awesome character overall and I can’t wait to see where the movies take him. He is the most intriguing of the characters because as it stands he seems unredeemable. And yet, there’s a chance he gets brought back to the light with the help of Rey, Luke, and the Resistance.
It’s been suggested to me that Disney may in fact be utilizing much of the extended universe making Ben Solo out of the character ideas of Jacen Solo from the books. This same theory suggests that Rey is really Kylo Ren’s twin sister Jaina. Or even better yet, that Ben Solo is actually Ben Skywalker from the books and Luke will once again have to redeem a family member.
It’s also been suggested by others online that Kylo Ren and Han were in on the plan the whole time. As it goes, some people believe Kylo Ren is infiltrating the First Order to get close to Snoke. He has to kill someone close to him to prove his worth and Han sacrifices himself for the cause.
I’m not buying either of these ideas. Kylo Ren is going to be a lot more complex than anything we’ve seen before. Watch his progression in the movies closely. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, for him and everyone around him.
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