|“||I'll show you the Dark Side.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren to Lor San Tekka.|
|“||Forgive me. I feel it again... The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again, the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.||„|
|~ Ren to the charred mask helmet of his grandfather.|
Kylo Ren, originally born as Ben Solo, is the secondary antagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He is the main antagonist of the first installment Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, and he will return in the second installment Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.
Ren is the dark, powerful, and extremely obsessive master of the Knights of Ren, as well as the co-founder & second-in-command of the First Order (the remnant faction of the Galactic Empire). He is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa Skywalker, the nephew of Luke Skywalker and the grandson of Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) and Padme Amidala.
He was portrayed by the legendary actor, Adam Driver.
|“||You're afraid... that you'll never be as strong as Darth Vader.||„|
|~ Rey reading Kylo Ren's mind.|
In his youth, as Ben Solo, Ben was unaware of his true heritage, but suffered from feelings of abandonment due to the struggles his parents had with their lives. He admired the power of his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker, but particularly in his Vader incarnation. Because of this, Ben struggled with the Dark Side of the Force.
As Kylo Ren, Kylo is extremely ruthless, brutal, confident, and manipulative, but appears to carry at least some guilt and remorse for his actions. Like Anakin, he is irresponsible, uncompromising, temperamental, short-tempered, hotheaded, and torn by internal conflict. However, unlike his maternal grandfather, Kylo is far less able to control his temper and emotions, as well as the fact that he is far less calm, tolerant, phlegmatic, level-headed, reasonable, patient, and far more prone to bouts of rage. To establish his rejection of his past life, he serves the First Order with great passion towards its leader and his master, Snoke. He carries on his attachment to Vader into adulthood, desiring to uphold the Sith Lord's legacy by destroying all the Jedi. He even proceeds to murder his father Han to sever his hold on the Light side.
Kylo is not without fear; he is afraid that he will never become as powerful as his maternal grandfather and fears what the Light side's hold has on him. Unlike Vader, he finds conflict with these traits, especially towards the idea of family. Being seen as a focal point between the heritage of both the Light and the Dark also furthered his inner conflict. Despite this, he chooses to believe that Vader's sentimentality was the weakness that led to the fall of the Galactic Empire. Feeling that this care is what holds him back, Kylo believes that to be as powerful as Vader and embrace the Dark side is to completely abandon the Light side.
|“||That happens when you are being hunted by a creature in a mask.||„|
|~ Rey being interrogated by Kylo Ren.|
Kylo is a tall, dark, and gangly young man. He has broad proportions, including unusually long and thin arms and legs, as well as a large nose and full lips. His hair is black, thick, greasy and approximately chin-length.
While fully clothed, Kylo wears a metal mask that envelopes his whole head, which features ornamental patterns that draw contours around his visor. His mask is designed by him to take inspiration from the late Darth Vader. His clothing is black and tailored around his lean physique. The clothing is predominantly made from a soft, flexible material, though his belt and boots are leather-based.
However, the most distinct physical element of Kylo is his makeshift lightsaber. Its hilt is haphazardly constructed, with it being uneven and with exposed wiring. Its blade is the traditional Dark Side red, though it is shown to be unstable and does not retain the traditional uniformity of a professionally-manufactured lightsaber. Two small crossguard light blades are deployed with ignition of the weapon, giving the lightsaber resemblance to a medieval longsword.
Powers and Abilities
- The Force: As the grandson of the Chosen One, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Kylo has a very strong connection to the Force. Despite this, for unknown reasons, Kylo is not quite as powerful as his maternal grandfather, he is still an exceptionally powerful Force-user. Kylo's Force potential is rivaled only by Rey and surpassed only by his maternal uncle Luke Skywalker.
- Telekinesis: Kylo is extremely proficient in telekinesis, capable of freezing and influencing the movement of a person or even stop a blaster bolt and keep it suspended until he leaves.
- Force Push: Kylo utilizes Force push to send his opponents flying through the air, causing them serious injury or temporarily incapacitating them/knocked them unconscious.
- Force Pull: Kylo utilizes Force pull to pull his opponents or objects towards him, enough that he can hold people up with one hand while still pulling them with the Force.
- Mind Probe: Kylo utilizes mind probe to sift through the thoughts of a sentient being, for the purpose of interrogation or torture.
- Force Sense: Kylo utilizes Force sense to sense another sentient being's emotions, the future, ripples in the Force caused by momentous or traumatic events, impending danger and the presence of the Light side. He could sense Finn's fear after the massacre on Jakku.
- Lightsaber Skills: Kylo is highly skilled in lightsaber combat and a highly gifted duelist. He is one of the greatest lightsaber duelists currently alive; it was his exceptional skill with a lightsaber that ultimately greatly delayed the art of lightsaber combat from rising back to prominence with his massacre of most of the new, fledgling Jedi Order. His destruction of this new generation of Jedi Knights also earned him the nickname of "Jedi Killer" among the members of the First Order. Despite this, however, he was defeated by Rey in a duel, despite being far more skilled and experienced in lightsaber combat then the latter. However, it should be noted that Kylo had already been wounded by Chewbacca and Finn, and thus was not at the peak of his strength. In addition, Rey's new-found abilities allowed her to meditate on the Force to gain enough strength to physically overpower him.
- Form V: Kylo is highly skilled in Shien/Djem So.
- Expert Engineer: Kylo is amazingly skilled in engineering. He was able to successfully construct his own red-bladed crossguard lightsaber in his first try.
- High-Level Intellect/Expert Tactician/Leader: Kylo is amazingly intelligent. As a Field Commander of the First Order, Kylo is a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader.
- Indomitable Will/High Tolerance For Pain/Expert Survivalist: Kylo has an indomitable will and a high tolerance for pain; as he was able to continue fighting despite being shot in the side by Chewbacca and slashed on the shoulder by Finn. In his battle with Finn, he was seen beating the wound inflicted by Chewbacca, using his pain and anguish to fuel his connection to the Dark Side of the Force. Furthermore, while armored Stormtroopers were violently blasted through the air and killed instantly by the bowcaster's explosive blast, Kylo has no armor, but only doubled over in pain when shot.
Weapons and Equipment
Kylo's valued weapon and possession is his red-bladed lightsaber.
- Crossguard lightsaber: Kylo had built a red-bladed crossguard lightsaber. Kylo's lightsaber was crudely built off an ancient design dating back to an event known as the Scourge of Malachor and operated using a cracked Kyber crystal. It thus has an unstable blade, necessitating the use of exhaust ports to channel and vent the weapon's excess energy so that it would not overload. The excess energy served as the lightsaber's quillons (crossguards). The weapon's blades also crackled and arced like electricity and funneled like fire, giving the weapon a ragged, menacing appearance and a deep, growling hum. It is unknown if this is the same lightsaber he possessed when he was still a member of the New Jedi Order.
|“||Han Solo. I've been waiting for this day a long time.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren and Han Solo reunites.|
Kylo apparently had a poor relationship with his father, and upon Rey waking up after he captures her, he probes her mind using the Force, realizing that she feels like Han is the father she's never had, before coldly stating that he would only have disappointed her. He later rejected Han's attempts to bring him back to the Light and brutally murdered him, although he appeared to have some inner conflict after doing so.
Not much is known about his relationship with his mother; however, Ben likely had a loving relationship with Leia. Prior to his fall to the Dark Side, when he started to struggle with the Dark Side of the Force, Leia was terrified that her son might end up like his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker and so sent him to study under the tutelage of her brother Luke.
Unfortunately, Luke was not able to prevent Ben from falling to the Dark Side, as Snoke preyed on Ben's internal conflict. Ben, upon conversion to the Dark Side, became known as Kylo Ren. Leia was heartbroken that her son had become evil and mourned his fate bitterly. Yet, despite all the atrocities that Kylo had committed over the years, Leia still believes that Ben can come back to the Light and be redeemed. After realizing there's no longer any good in him when she senses him killing Han, she had no choice but to declare her own son an enemy.
When Ben started to struggle with the Dark Side of the Force, he was to sent to study under his uncle Luke's tutelage at the request of his mother Leia in the hope of preventing him from ending up like his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker. Luke taught Ben the ways of the Light Side of the Force and lightsaber combat.
Unfortunately, he was not able to prevent Ben from falling to the Dark Side, as Snoke preyed on Ben's internal conflict. Ben then became known as Kylo Ren and, aided by the Knights of Ren, he killed most of Luke's other apprentices; this act greatly delayed his uncle's plan to restore the Jedi Order to its former glory and left his uncle despondent, while Ren went on to terrorize the galaxy as a leader of the First Order.
Luke was one of the few who managed to survive and escape the Jedi massacre. In the aftermath of the Jedi massacre, Luke was deeply grieved and racked with guilt, blaming himself for his students' deaths and his nephew's turn to the Dark Side.
Luke then mysteriously disappeared on a quest to seek out the First Jedi Temple. Kylo, under Snoke's orders, was instructed to find and kill Luke. Snoke knows that, as long as Luke is alive, a new generation of Jedi Knights can rise once again. Ben probably had a good relationship with his maternal uncle prior to his fall to the Dark Side.
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
|“||Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren to the mask of Darth Vader.|
Anakin died before Ben was born. However, Ben come to greatly admire and revere his maternal grandfather's power, but, also came to fear that he may never be as powerful as the Chosen One. He admired and revered more of his maternal grandfather's dark aspects, than his light aspects, believing that his grandfather's love and sentimentality for his family were weaknesses.
Like his maternal grandfather before him, Ben fell to the Dark side of the Force, becoming known as Kylo Ren. Kylo has seemingly become far worse than his grandfather; although Vader was brutal and ruthless, he did genuinely care about his family, as he never killed a member of his own family in cold blood, not even for power, ultimately leading to his redemption. Kylo, on the other hand, was willing to kill his whole family to keep feelings such as love and compassion from making him feel weak and pull him back to the Light side of the Force.
Kylo became enraged when Finn and Rey respectively used his grandfather's lightsaber against him, as that weapon rightfully belongs to him.
Friends and Allies
Supreme Leader Snoke
Snoke met Ben by unknown means, and was deeply interested in him due to his embodiment as a focal point of both light and darkness (which was unusual for a Knight of Ren or any Dark Side master to be attracted to). He eventually turned him to the dark side, and anointed him with the name of Kylo Ren, who serves him loyally, believing that the Supreme Leader was wise and right to overthrow the New Republic.
Ren is currently unaware (or in denial) that Snoke does not truly care about him, as he is only using Ren for his power. Even when Han tries to point that out and stating that Snoke will just get rid of Ren when he gets what he wants, Ren angrily refuses to believe this and instead kills Han for it.
General Armitage Hux
Kylo and Hux have a rivalry with each other. They both seek favoritism from Snoke and they usually argue with each other for problems that go with The First Order and the plans to destroy the New Republic and the Resistance as shown when Kylo blames Hux for Finn's betrayal by seeing Hux making a mistake with his men being programmed to follow orders directly and Hux blaming Kylo in front of Snoke for losing the map to Skywalker by capturing Rey instead of BB-8 due to Rey seeing the map. However despite their differences they work together good with The First Order's operations and Hux saved Kylo under Snoke's orders.
|“||She's strong with the Force! Untrained, but stronger than she knows.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren about Rey's Force sensitivity.|
Kylo and Rey have been enemies ever since Rey located and purchased BB-8. Kylo is very convinced of her power, believing even she does not know it. He very much longs to turn her to the dark side and train her, but this ultimately backfires for the time being. Rey's hatred of him increased after he killed Han Solo, and she tried to kill him with Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, unaware that Kylo is in fact Anakin's grandson, and the weapon does rightfully belong to him. During their battle, Kylo noticeably holds back because he does not want to kill her but train her instead; this costs him the fight as Rey allows the Force to truly flow through her for the first time and overpowers him, even disfiguring his face with a slash.
|~ Kyo Ren to Finn.|
Kylo and Finn have been enemies ever since he captured Rey and killed Han Solo, he became enraged when Finn used Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, when he stated that weapon belongs to him, Finn mocks Kylo (unaware that he is in fact Anakin's grandson, and the lightsaber does rightfully belong to him) telling him to come and get it, the two engaged (as Finn was trying to avenge Han's death) in a lightsaber duel, although he was able to hold his own reasonably well for a relatively short period of time and even managed to lightly wound Kylo's right shoulder. Ultimately, however, Finn was defeated by Kylo, partly due to his lack of Force-sensitivity, and mainly because of the latter's superior experience and skills in lightsaber combat, as Kylo disarmed him of Anakin's lightsaber and dealt him a severe wound to his back.
|“||I had no idea that we had the best pilot in the Resistence on board.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren interrogating Poe Dameron.|
Kylo and Poe become enemies when Kylo and The First Order capture him and Kylo forced Poe to reveal the location of the Map of Skywalker in BB-8 by using the Force to make him reveal it.
|“||He is gorgeously cruel, spiteful and capricious – and unlike the Vader of old, he is given to petulant temper tantrums, with his lightsaber drawn.||„|
|~ Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian regarding Kylo Ren's character.|
Both the character of Kylo Ren and Driver's performance have been positively received. Many complimented Ren's conflicted nature and depth, as well as his costume design, and noted there were many places the character could be taken in future installments. Terri Schwartz of IGN also called Driver's performance "spectacular", noting that "his performance adds great depth to a character who could have come off as one-dimensional, and the implications of his arc leave a viewer with plenty to think about after they leave the theater".
Collin wrote, "To describe Kylo Ren as this film's Vader would be accurate in a sense ... But it would also be to undersell the deep ingenuity with which this astonishing character has been crafted by Abrams, Kasdan and Arndt, and also the wells of emotional tumult Driver invests in him." Comparing the character to the one-note Vader of the 1977 film, Leon calls Ren "a living battleground between darkness and light, making him a far more resonant and familiar portrayal of that struggle than we've ever seen in Star Wars ... makes him a far more interesting villain."
Abrams told Entertainment Weekly, "it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter noted, "Ren is given a pronounced inferiority complex, a clever bad guy twist that could be taken to interesting places both in the writing and performance." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "The bald-faced attempt to clone Vader, one of the greatest badasses in film history, is clankingly obvious, but Driver, masked and unmasked, gives him hypnotic and haunting contours." Kyle Buchanan of Vulture.com was underwhelmed by the reveal of Driver under the mask. Leon, however, argued: But that face—that of a normal, vulnerable young man—is the most subversively terrifying thing about J. J. Abrams' reimagining of A New Hope. Rather than pure evil, Ren is something far more familiar: He is human. Just like the real-life young men with minds clouded by fear, hate, and anger who commit unspeakable acts in our world every day ... all the visual cues that leave the character open to criticisms of not being "evil" enough—are all signs of Ren's struggle between the Dark Side and the Light.
Driver won a 2016 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal.
- Kylo Ren was one of the many characters featured in the Glove and Boots video Presidential Candidates: They could be worse. In the video (which is obviously mean to parody the U.S Presidential Election of 2016), Kylo Ren enters the U.S Presidential Election and speaks at a presidential debate against his competitors; Vladimir the Impaler (who turns out to actually be Dracula in disguise) Gargamel, Bluto, Mojo Jojo, The Borg and Elmo.
- Even though Supreme Leader Snoke proved to be the bigger threat, Ren was the main antagonist because he was the immediate threat that Rey had to face.
- Ren's voice is strikingly similar to that of Bane's from The Dark Knight Rises. Bane, in turn, sounded identical to Sean Connery.