StarWars-ing: The Kylo Ren Redemption Problem

I’m not sure how the Mrs. feels about this so these thoughts are my own.  We will do a podcast eventually, and I’ll bring this up as a topic.

kylo-ren-the-last-jedi

The three most important lines in The Last Jedi:

Luke Skywalker : I came to face him, Leia. And I can’t save him.

Leia Organa : I held out hope for so long, but I know my son is gone.

Luke Skywalker : No one’s ever really gone.

I emphasized the I because I think that’s the issue.  Luke can’t save him.  Maybe he can’t because he helped create him.  Maybe he can’t save him, because he doesn’t sense any good in him as he did with Vader.

But when you get to that last line, we have a new hope for Kylo.  Maybe someone else can.

But does he deserve it?  He led a massacre on Jakku, and it probably wasn’t his first one (I’m behind on all my Star Wars reading so I’m going off just the two movies).  He nearly killed his mother. He killed his father.

I’m not sure if he deserves it.  He is a very problematic character which is what makes him such a captivating character.  We don’t fully understand his motivations as to why he was so drawn to the dark side, but there is plenty of darkness there.  Luke could sense the smallest amount of good in Vader, but can’t sense it Kylo Ren. This in turn lead us to the question was Kylo destined to join the dark side or does he have free will?

What I find interesting is how much the dark side is Kylo Ren choosing it and how much is the force inside of him making him do this.  If you think about it, the force created Anakin and the Skywalker line. Four people in the line have the ability to be force users.  Two have chosen the light; two have chosen the dark. But did Kylo? What happened to him? Or is the force an imposing and interventionist source.

It’s so hard to say you want him to be redeemed when you don’t know why he fell from the light. Anakin had is reasons even if they were flimsy.  He fully believed he was saving the woman he loved by joining the dark side.  He definately was manipulated by Sidious, but it was by choice.

Kylo_and_Lor_San_Tekka.png

We don’t know this about Ren.  Was he always evil? Did he show all the markers in our universe that makes up a psychopath, but lives in one where he is powerful with force.  When we first meet Kylo Ren, he is talking to  Lor San Tekka:

Kylo Ren : Look how old you’ve become.

Lor San Tekka : Something far worse has happened to you.

Kylo Ren : You know what I’ve come for.

Lor San Tekka : I know where you come from, before you called yourself “Kylo Ren”.

Kylo Ren : The map to Skywalker. We know you found it. And now you’re going to give it to the First Order.

Lor San Tekka : The First Order rose from the Dark Side. You did not.

Kylo Ren : I’ll show you the Dark Side.

Lor San Tekka : You may try. But you cannot the truth that is your family.

Kylo Ren : You’re so right.

Tekka is trying to bring up the past to Kylo Ren and Kylo acknowledges the dark side of his family only. This exchange, from Tekka’s point of view, leads us to believe that Ben was a good person and his free will led him to the Dark Side. Personally, this is where I belong, because I don’t believe the force manipulates people.

Does this make Kylo Ren a more evil character? If the force made him evil, then the force is more complex than we ever thought.  If he chooses evil, then why.  Anakin was desparate.  What was Kylo Ren’s motivation? What was so horrible in his past that he choose this? Will it change how we feel about his parents? Or was it all Snoke manipulating the family?

Kylo Ren is simply put the most fascinating character in the Star Wars universe right now.  He has the lineage and a backstory clouded in mystery.  The little bit we know we have found out Roshamon style.

To me, for there to be any chance for redemption, we have to know why he fell from the light. If we don’t it will feel tacked on. I just hope we find out more about him in the next movie.

2 thoughts on “StarWars-ing: The Kylo Ren Redemption Problem

  1. I definitely agree that he’s an interesting character, but I’m not sure I agree with your interpretation. I’ve only seen Last Jedi once, so my argument may be flimsy here, but hopefully it’ll add to the discussion!

    What I take away from Kylo Ren, isn’t that his fall to the Dark Side is unstoppable, or that it’s fated to always be, it’s that it comes from a lot of deep rooted personal issues. For instance, he truly turned when Luke was about to kill him… to young Kylo Ren, unaware of the future his Master forsaw, that must feel the ultimate betrayal. His Master, who he put all his faith in, was about to kill him. Now throw in Lukes reasonings, that he was beyond help, that just adds salt to the wound. I feel Kylo Ren is a very troubled person, he feels abandoned, he’s unable to comprehend love, he’s been enabled by abusive guardians (Snoke), and he’s been given an inordinate amount of power that nobody really should have. I, personally, still see him still as a very immature character (purposely so though – not as in he’s written badly), and I feel as though he still has a large part of his journey to travel. He killed his Blood-Relative father, certainly, but he did so to appease another Father figure, one who, in his eyes, has been more prominent in his life, and to find true acceptance within this new family. He’s traumatised, really, and he’s finding acceptance where he can (though, I imagine he’d never admit to that himself). He’s always trying to be someone else, he’s trying to be his (idolised-version) of his Grandfather, he’s trying to be Snokes apprentice, and now that he’s reached the top of the First Order, I think Episode 9 will explore what he does when he’s reached this ‘Ceiling’, where there’s suddenly nobody else he’s trying to impress, and he has to impress only himself… I think we’ll see him turn around, because he will finally understand how he’s been mislead, how his emotions have been misplaced, how really he’s still that immature boy who’s been given too much power too quickly, how he’s lived in so many shadows (whether by choice, or by circumstance) that he’s never really just been himself.

    Of course, all that waffle is just my opinion! I might be very, very wrong haha.

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    • The fate/free will came from a tweet I saw that inspired the post partially. I agree with most of your points except: did Luke just act on potential darkness (the kill Hitler as a baby argument) or did Kylo act out (like killing sand people) and realized he wouldn’t stop? That’s what I want to know.

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