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Villain Overview
Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father. So I destroyed him.
~ Kylo manipulating Han into thinking that he is not his son anymore.
Let the past die; kill it if you have to. It's the only way to become what you're meant to be.
~ Kylo Ren to Rey.

Kylo Ren, originally born as Ben Solo, is the overall main antagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He is the dark, powerful and extremely obsessive master of the Knights of Ren, as well as the apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke, before killing him to become the second Supreme Leader of the First Order. He is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, the nephew of Luke Skywalker and the grandson of Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) and Padmé Amidala.

Ren appears as the main antagonist of the first installment of the sequel trilogy The Force Awakens and the secondary, later true main antagonist in its sequel The Last Jedi. He's also the second overarching antagonist of Star Wars: Resistance (he doesn't appear physically, but Captain Phasma answers to him). He is set to return in the third and final installment Star Wars: Episode IX.

He was portrayed by Adam Driver.

Description

Personality

It's time to let old things die. Snoke, Skywalker. The Sith, the Jedi, the Rebels… Let it all die. Rey, I want you to join me. We can rule together and bring a new order to the galaxy.
~ Kylo Ren to Rey of his new intentions of destroying the past.

In his youth, Ben Solo 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.

After he became Kylo Ren, he 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 his master Snoke.

Despite this, 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, as well as murdering Snoke to take over as the new Supreme Leader, similar to what his grandfather had planned to do to Emperor Palpatine.

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. Kylo still showed signs of conflict as during his telepathic conversations with Rey, his weakness was shown and she used that to try to convince him to break free and join the Light Side.

Rey almost succeeded in that regard and she might've succeeded in the end, but by the time he brought Rey to Snoke onboard the Supremacy, Kylo had already submitted to the Dark Side and only killed Snoke and his guards to take over the First Order for his own personal gains, and to ensure his own survival. Kylo himself is opposed to the past: the Jedi, the Sith, the Rebels, etc., and seeks to recreate the galaxy in his own image and to establish a legacy that's far different than that of Snoke's or Luke's and even wanted Rey to join his cause.  

Upon taking over the First Order and becoming its Supreme Leader, Kylo led the First Order to invade Crait and during the battle, he showcased an obsessive nature with destroying the Resistance and when dueling Luke Skywalker, he showcased his mentally unstable nature and had an irrational obsession with killing Luke to finally end the Jedi and finally erasing their presence from the galaxy all together. 

Appearance

Kylo Ren. (Neeku Vozo: What is a "Kylo Ren"?) That's what his army called him. He was dressed in black, carried a "laser sword" like in the old Jedi stories
~ Elia describing Kylo Ren.

Kylo is a tall, dark, and gangly young man, quite similar to his grandfather in his youth. 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, curly, and approximately chin-length. Following his defeat at the hands of Rey on the Starkiller Base, Kylo bears a scar across the left side of his face.

While fully clothed, Kylo initially wore a metal mask that envelopes his whole head, which features ornamental patterns that draw contours around his visor. His mask was designed by him to take inspiration from the late Darth Vader. He later destroyed this mask in a fit of rage and decided to go without it, after Snoke mocked him for wearing it, and ostensibly in order to "break" with his past. 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.

Biography

Background

Ren was born as Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, a year after Return of the Jedi, in which his parents and uncle Luke defeated the Galactic Empire and its leader Emperor Palpatine. He proved to be sensitive to the Force like his mother and uncle.

Fearing that Ben was too much like his maternal grandfather Darth Vader, Leia sent him to Luke to teach him about the ways of the Force and become a Jedi. However, Luke sensed a force of darkness inside Ben and contemplated on killing him, but cannot bear himself to do so because it would break both Leia and Han's hearts. However, Ben soon learned of Luke's intentions and took this as a sign of betrayal, fearing that he'll never be as powerful as he wanted to be. This insecurity is what allowed Snoke, the leader of the evil First Order organization, to corrupt Ben to the Dark Side. Sensing that Ben was on the edge of being turned to the Dark Side, Luke decided to go to Kylo's hut - located away from the Jedi temple - and to talk to him about it. He went into the hut where he found Ben sleeping. To his horror, Luke sensed the Dark Side in Ben and realized that he had already been corrupted by Snoke.

For an instant, Luke thought that killing Ben would end the danger and he drew his lightsaber but immediately ignored the thought. However, it was too late. Waking up at the sound of the lightsaber, Ben saw his armed uncle standing above him. Furious and hurt by Luke's betrayal, Kylo went into a fit of rage and brought down the entire hut with his Jedi powers, burying Luke underneath. He then set out and murdered most of Luke's pupils, with a few joining him on the Dark Side. After torching the Jedi temple, Ben and his allies left and when Luke finally freed himself from under the hut, he only found death and destruction among him.

Ben adopted the new name "Kylo Ren" and formed the Knights of Ren out of Luke's former disciples who had joined him on the Dark Side. He would also don the uniform of a Sith, with a black cloak and a mask (resembling Darth Revan's Sith attire from the Legends series) and officially join the First Order as Snoke's disciple. He also developed a rivalry with General Hux for Snoke's appreciation.

Star Wars: Bloodline

The reason for Ben becoming evil was not just Snoke's corruption and Luke's supposed betrayal, but also his parents' tumultuous relationship, given Han's career as a smuggler and Leia's role as a political figure. 6 years prior to events of The Force Awakens, Leia's political enemy Carise Sindian exposed her parentage to the public, which is likely the reason how Ben learned that he was the grandson of Darth Vader.

Star Wars Resistance

They also said that someone called "Kylo Ren" was leading the First Order army.
~ Kazuda Xiono reporting to the Resistance about Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren is mentioned in the episode "The Children from Tehar", in which he murdered a prominent family in the village on Tehar. The children witnessed him wielding a lightsaber, which they've heard in the old stories about the Jedi. Kazuda Xiono reported this to the Resistence, the information was later send to General Leia Organa.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

RenJakku

Kylo launches an assault on Jakku.

Knowing that somewhere on the planet Jakku there is a map leading the way to Luke, Kylo arrives on the planet. His stormtroopers quickly round up all citizens of the nearby village, including village elder Lor San Tekka, who gives the map to Resistance pilot Poe Dameron before Kylo arrives. Poe witnesses the chaos the troops cause and gives the map to his droid BB-8, telling him to get away as far as possible. Kylo interrogates San Tekka, who recognizes him as Han's son and tells him that he cannot run away from the family he was born into. Kylo then murders the man with his lightsaber and orders Captain Phasma to kill all the captured villagers before putting the village off the map.

While the stormtroopers carry out the gruesome task, one of them, Finn, does not participate in the slaughter. Poe, witnessing the murder from a hiding spot, fires his blaster at Kylo, but Kylo stops the laser blast mid-air, freezing it. Kylo then uses the Force to overpower Poe and has the stormtroopers take him captive. After Poe is brought onboard, Kylo leaves the scene and frees the frozen laser blast.

Ren-ForceTorture

Kylo tortures Poe using the Force.

Aboard a Star Destroyer, Kylo interrogates Poe and questions the location of the map. Poe's unwillingness to cooperate prompts Kylo to torture him using the Force to the point where he gives in and confesses the location. He sends his troops back to Jakku to find BB-8, who has already met the scavenger Rey. Poe is then saved by Finn, who has chosen to desert the First Order, and escapes with him to Jakku. After being told about Poe's escape, Kylo furiously demolishes the ship's interior with his lightsaber. Kylo later meets with Snoke, who tells him that he soon will have to face his father. Kylo replies that, by Snoke's training, he is prepared, but Snoke nonetheless calls it the hardest test Kylo has to face.

Rey on Kylo Ren's mercy

Kylo holds Rey on his mercy.

Later, after Finn and Rey have met Han and Chewbacca, Kylo tracks the signal of the Millennium Falcon to Takodana. While his soldiers attack the building Finn and Han are in, Kylo tracks down Rey in the forest. Upon finding her, Kylo demands to know the location of BB-8, but after realizing that Rey has already seen the map, he takes her captive, planning to get the information out of her. Kylo tells his troops to retreat, as he now deems BB-8 unimportant.

Kylo brings Rey to Starkiller Base. When Rey refuses to talk to a man hidden behind a mask, Kylo takes off his mask, revealing how young he really is. When she refuses to tell him Luke's location, Kylo tries to break her spirit by using the Force, but is shocked when Rey blocks him out of her head, instead reading his mind and revealing his greatest fear: That he will never be as powerful and evil as Darth Vader. Disturbed by the fact Rey is actually strong with the Force, Kylo leaves the room, leaving Rey behind with a stormtrooper guard. However, Rey uses a Force trick on the stormtrooper to force him to free her. When Ren returns to see Rey's chair empty, he flies into a rage and destroys the room's interior with his lightsaber while calling the guards, prompting two nearby stormtroopers to leave the scene before Kylo can harm them.

RenInterrogates

Kylo interrogates Rey.

After General Hux's speech, Kylo witnesses the destruction of the New Republic's capital planet as well as the Republic fleet by Starkiller Base. When the rebels witness the power of Starkiller Base, they plan to destroy the facility before the First Order can destroy them with it. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn plan to infiltrate the base to turn off its shield generators as well as to save Rey. Before they leave, Leia tells Han to try to get their son back, which he promises. At the base, they deactivate the generators and rig parts of the facility with explosives. Kylo, who is present on the base, senses his father's presence and tries to find him.

Kylo impales Solo- Impact of Vader's fall from grace

Kylo impales Han Solo with a lightsaber.

Han instead sees Kylo, who is just crossing a bridge; he then calls him by his birth name, Ben, and approaches his son. Although Kylo states that Ben Solo was weak and therefore eliminated by Kylo Ren, Han tells him that Snoke corrupted him and that he still has the choice to change. He also tells his son to come home, as his mother misses him. This touches Kylo, who admits that he is torn. Knowing that he would feel drawn to his family as long as his father is there, Kylo begs Han to help him in executing the choice he has made. Han promises and Kylo slowly hands him his lightsaber, intending for his father to kill him to end the pain. However, it turns out to be a ruse as Kylo activates his lightsaber and thrusts it into his father's chest, thanking him for making this choice possible, as without his father, his ties to the Light Side are forever severed. Han's deceased body falls into the abyss. Chewbacca, furious about his friend's death, activates the explosives and shoots at Ren, hitting him and dropping him to the ground.

Kylo sees Rey and Finn leave the building, then pursues them into the frozen woods outside of Starkiller Base. Rey tries to attack Kylo but he uses the Force to throw her far off into the trees, knocking her out. While Kylo screams at Finn that he is a traitor, Finn calls Kylo a monster and activates Luke's lightsaber. The two engage in a furious swordfight in which Kylo gets the upper hand by ramming the crossguard of his lightsaber into Finn's shoulder. Though both of them are hit and injured multiple times, Kylo in the end defeats Finn and slices his back, causing Finn to drop the lightsaber and fall to the ground.

Kylo Ren vs Rey

Kylo duels Rey in the forest.

Kylo then tries to use the Force to get his grandfather's lightsaber, but is shocked when the lightsaber flies right past him into the hands of Rey, who now attacks Kylo to avenge both Han and Finn. As a climactic fight progresses, the rebels manage to destroy Starkiller Base, which results in a massive earthquake which creates deep rifts in the surrounding landscape; one of these chasms opens right behind Kylo and Rey.

Kylo drives Rey towards the edge of the rift. While pressing his lightsaber against hers, Kylo offers to train Rey. This, however, causes Rey to realize her potential and, with the Force, she drives Kylo back, hitting him multiple times with her lightsaber and eventually slicing him across the face. Badly injured Kylo drops to the ground but before Rey can do more, a rift opens right between them, separating Rey from Kylo. Chewbacca then steers the Millennium Falcon towards Rey and she boards the ship with Finn's comatose body, leaving Kylo behind on the imploding planet. Shortly before the ultimate destruction of the planet, Snoke gives Hux the order to evacuate Starkiller Base and to bring Kylo before him so that Kylo's training can be completed.

Though Kylo is only last seen when a rift separates him from Rey, he fails to prevent the return of the Jedi when Rey finally finds Luke and tries to convince the last surviving Jedi Master in the galaxy to re-build the Jedi Order once more with her aid.

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base, Kylo feels that he is growing weaker ever since he killed his father; even a disappointed Snoke compares Kylo unfavorably to Vader by calling him an immature child hiding behind a mask, a statement that left Kylo very angry, causing him to destroy his mask and even tried to attack Snoke, only to be quickly beaten to the ground with a single burst of Force Lightning. As Snoke becomes delighted to hear that Hux found a way to constantly track down the Resistance fleet and deduce their current location through hyperspace and orders Hux to lead a series of assaults on the Resistance fleet, Kylo decides to intervene to try to regain his master's acceptance, unaware that Snoke was merely inspiring him to make him go deeper into the Dark Side.

During the initial attack on the Resistance ship called the Raddus, Kylo uses his own TIE fighter to attack, but relents after learning that his mother Leia is onboard the ship. However, his wingman Poldin LeHuse relentlessly continued the attack on the Raddus, killing everyone onboard, though Leia saved herself by using the Force to pull herself to safety, while Poldin LeHuse is then shot down by the Free Virgillia-class Bunkerbuster Ninka in response, leaving Kylo, who is saddened to the point of tears, unable to do anything to help his mother.

Around the same time, Kylo and Rey have developed a certain connection to each other within the Force as they can communicate through their minds. Ren at first tried to control Rey but found he could not, as they were too far and he is quick to realize that she is not projecting herself as it would kill her with her current abilities instantly, but he manages to find out that Luke is currently her mentor. Ren, fascinated by his connection to Rey, sought to understand it better and soon it reached levels where they can see each other's feelings and he grows attached to her, even showing a level of sadness when she referred to him as a Monster and somewhat ominously warning her of Luke due to his experiences. Seeking to squash Rey's hopes of her parents being any significant, when they connected again, Ren was at the time bare to the chest yet he still taunts Rey for continuing to want parental figures and reveals Luke's supposed 'betrayal' that caused him to turn to the Dark Side. In their final connected moment, Ren and Rey finally genuinely bond over, only to be interrupted by Luke, who deactivated it with his regained Force powers. Nevertheless, Rey decides to bring Kylo back into the Light Side in hopes that the war would end peacefully but Ren believes otherwise. He believes that Rey is destined to join him and turn to the Dark Side. To that end, Rey surrenders herself to Kylo in the ship Supremacy, and he takes her into custody.

Being brought over to Snoke's throne room occupied by Snoke and his Elite Praetorian Guards, Rey is horrified to learn that Snoke plans to use his Force skills to torture her into giving out the location of Luke so that he can destroy the Jedi legacy and cement the First Order's reign across the galaxy. Snoke even confessed that he used the connection between Rey and Kylo as part of his plan. As Snoke tortures Rey, he sadistically orders Kylo to finish her off by gloating of his ability to read Kylo's mind and calling the latter a 'foolish child' for his hesitation. However, Kylo tricked him into believing he's striking Rey but activated Luke's lightsaber and used it to cut Snoke in half by the waist, killing him instantly in an act of treachery. After helping Kylo finish off Snoke's guards to their deaths, Rey tries to convince him to return to the Light as he finally killed off Snoke for good. Unfortunately, Rey is horrified to learn that Kylo has no intention in returning to the Light as he wants to build a legacy far more different from that of either Snoke's or Luke's. Ren then demands that Rey join him in his pursuit, but Rey refuses and escapes, and Kylo frames her for the murder of Snoke to cement his role as the new Supreme Leader. He even Force-choked an arriving Hux into compliance when the latter refused to oblige to the new chain of command.

Directing the First Order's new attack to the planet Crait where a hidden Resistance base is located, Kylo orders his forces to attack the base. After the base is breached, Kylo decides to face an arriving Luke by himself. Engaging his uncle in combat, Kylo manages to slice through him, only to realize that Luke was actually projecting himself through the Force from Ahch-To as part of his true plan to let the remaining Resistance members escape. Luke then warns him that the war has already started and the rebellion is already reborn and he will not be the last Jedi. As Luke dies in peace, this left Kylo very upset that he failed to seize his chance of destroying the last Jedi master, knowing that Rey will continue on with Luke's teachings to future generations and all he could do is kneel in defeat, signaling the beginning of the downfall of the First Order.

Powers and Abilities

The Force

The heir to the Skywalker bloodline, being the grandson of Darth Vader, Ben Solo possessed an amazingly strong connection to the Force and wielded such immense levels of raw, untamed power that even Luke Skywalker, despite being notably more powerful than Ren as of his current level, was terrified of what Ben could grow into, and Snoke was so impressed that he believed Ben could be a key to unlimited power and hence corrupted him to the Dark Side. While he displayed remarkable seasoned mastery of the Force from having both learned the ways of the Jedi and Sith, Kylo Ren still had not reached his full potential due to his conflicts and as of now, he remains less powerful than Vader, Luke and Snoke as well as possibly his mother Leia, but he is still exceptionally powerful and only Rey has been seen to be his equal.

Ren is capable of making the Dark Side flow through him to increase his physical abilities. Even while severely injured, he was able to use the Force to dash at enough speeds to cut ahead of Rey and Finn despite having already been considerably distanced. He could even use the Dark side to amplify his prowess through the pain by beating on it even further.

Ren is highly accomplished with telekinesis and many of its forms, both offensive and defensive. He is capable of performing multiple telekinetic feats simultaneously to great effect, as shown by how he easily flung Rey to a tree while simultaneously forcing Rey to point her blaster at the floor and also freezing her and to pull Dopheld Mitaka by the neck to his hand, as well as to hold him up with one hand while still pulling them with the Force. When defending himself from Skywalker the night his master came close to murdering him, Ren was able to telekinetically collapse an entire hut on Luke while keeping it from harming him and clashing blades with Skywalker at the same time. He was proficient enough to use telekinetic halts of such potency in combat that he was able to freeze the motion of a target to a sufficient degree to fully immobilize and restrain people while even holding a blaster bolt midair for over a minute.

Ren is also a powerful telepath, displaying remarkable prowess in using telepathic powers designed to capture or torture others. His prowess in Mind Probe could easily invade and torture even strong willed targets to quickly break them, as he swiftly broke the trained Poe. He was also able to cause sleep on targets, as he did with Rey on Takona.

Combat Skills

Kylo Ren, having drawn from the teachings of both the Light and Dark Side to hone his skills, is highly seasoned expert lightsaber duelist. His ability to single-handedly massacre his fellow Jedi implied he was the best student his uncle trained and this feat earned him the name of "Jedi Killer" and it was this achievement of skill that ultimately prevented the art of lightsaber combat from returning to prominence.

Kylo displays remarkable prowess in the use of an acrobatic, fluid and aggressive form of lightsaber combat mirroring that of his grandfather's own style and displayed seasoned hand-to-hand combat prowess, effectively chaining martial arts attacks into his dueling style. He could easily deflect multiple blaster bolts and even while injured, fairly swiftly beat and nearly killed Finn. Shortly afterwards, he was still able to overwhelm Rey, in the end only losing because of his conflict and weakened state. Luke noted Ren's prowess was far greater than Rey's.

Later on, Ren worked alongside Rey in defeating the incredibly skilled Praetorian Guards successfully despite their training to kill Force sensitives. Although they were separated, Ren displayed superior skill and versatility towards Rey by single-handedly repelling 4 guards and killing them all, only being beaten upon being caught off guard by his last foe, who he still killed with aid from Rey. In that fight, Ren displayed notable proficiency in Jar'Kai, effectively making use of a dead guard's Vibro-Vaulge alongside his lightsaber to easily repel while simultaneously attacking and eventually killing his opponent quickly.

Ren also is outstandingly durable and resilient, as he was able to survive a powerful blast from Chewbecca's blaster from long-range and although he was severely injured, he only briefly doubled over in pain and was able to continue fighting effectively.

Despite all of this, however, Ren ultimately still remained outclassed by Luke Skywalker, who was far more experienced than Rey ever could as of now, as Ren's ferocious offense were easily seen through and avoided by his uncle's projection flawlessly without even needing to use his lightsaber.

High-Level Intellect

Kylo is amazingly intelligent. As a Field Commander of the First Order, Kylo is a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader. He often led attacks on the Resistance on his own to victory and was even clever enough to outsmart Snoke, using his master's arrogance to mask his desire to kill his "true enemy", who was actually Snoke instead of Rey.

Skilled Pilot

Having been born to a family filled with expert pilots, Kylo Ren is a very skilled combat pilot and pilots a TIE Silencer, an advanced prototype starfighter. His piloting abilities appeared to be superior to most First Order members, as shown by how he single-handedly led the attack on the Resistance fleet. He was able to evade the Raddus' defenses and destroy the vessel's starfighter hangar, owing to his own talents as a pilot.

Weapons and Equipment

Lightsaber

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, but is unlikely given that Jedi do not use red bladed light sabers (the blades of Dark Side user's lightsabers are red as they ritualistically bend the Kyber crystal to their will, causing the crystal to "bleed" and become red).

Relationships

Han Solo

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 as Ben. He believes that his father would just disappoint anyone he tried to be a parent to, as shown by how he coldly and bitterly told Rey Han would only disappoint her. He later rejected Han's attempts to bring him back to the Light and brutally murdered him; however, he proved he truly still loved Han and showed clear hesitance and was visibly remorseful of having killed his father, stunning him to the point of being open to being shot by Chewbecca as he somberly looked at his father's corpse falling to the deep void. Han's death haunted Ren enough that Snoke saw right through it and it allowed Rey to overpower him. He also told Rey in one of their force interactions that he did not hate Han, and the reason he killed him was to break with his past, as it was the only way to become what he was meant to be.

Leia Organa

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, instead of preventing it, Luke caused Ben's fall 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 of he 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.

Even despite all he had become and despite Ben believing Leia abandoned him by sending him to Luke, Kylo Ren proved he still loved Leia and as he had a better relationship with his mother than he had with his father, he cared for her more evidently, as shown when while leading a TIE Fighter attack on the Resistance Cruiser Raddis, unlike when he eventually killed Han, upon sensing his mother's presence, he couldn't bring himself to even consider hitting the trigger anymore and chose to spare her but much to his sadness, to the point of tears, his wingmen did so and he was left unable to do anything to help his mother. As of currently, Kylo considers his mother an enemy, even after killing Snoke and taking over the First Order.

Luke Skywalker

The Resistance is dead. The war is over, and when I kill you, I will have killed the last Jedi.
~ Kylo Ren facing his uncle.
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. It's assumed they had a good relationship.

Unfortunately, Luke made a disastrous mistake by attempting to kill Ben because he had sensed the latter's connection being stronger to the Dark Side and this made Ben lose any respect for his uncle and proceeded to become Kylo Ren and recruited some of his fellow apprentices to the Dark Side and killed those who fought him; 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, simply because Kylo Ren didn't bother to check if Luke survived his attack. 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.

Also, in contrary to what he believes of Vader, Luke believes that Kylo can't be brought back into the light because of the latter's conflicted nature, even after learning that Kylo has killed both Han and Snoke in cold blood. Both Kylo and Luke despised each other, with Kylo despising Luke for initially trying to kill him, and not believing in "order", and Luke despising Kylo for destroying the New Jedi Order. Kylo hence warned Rey that Luke may very well turn on her as she is about as powerful as he is ominously and was clearly bitter when referring to his uncle's attempt to kill him. When they met, Kylo was antagonistic towards him and showed his great desire to kill his uncle, though Luke surprisingly showed some remorse for failing him. Although Luke was not truly there and was merely projecting himself through the Force, Kylo proved incapable of defeating the Projection, who merely toyed with him and dodged all of his attacks without being even touched by Ren. Luke's last words to Ren is that the war has just began and that his death would not mean the end of the Jedi, and that he'll be seeing him around in death, infuriating the young Supreme leader.

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, 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.

After Snoke told Kylo that he's a pathetic imitation of Vader, Kylo decided to stop mimicking Darth Vader and be more himself. Even after killing Snoke, Kylo revealed that he intends to erase everything in the past (the Jedi, and the Sith, the Empire and the Republic, Luke and Snoke) to build a legacy far more different than everything earlier. This may imply that he's rejecting his grandfather's Jedi and Sith legacy for a far more different approach of ruling the galaxy for himself.

Supreme Leader Snoke

No. The Supreme Leader is wise.
~ Kylo Ren speaking of his master.

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 was 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. However, after Han died and Snoke berated Ren, proving what Han claimed, Ren was angered but still at first sought his master's approval, unaware that Snoke had just been motivating him. His bond with Rey soon made him seriously consider overthrowing him with aid from her and this reached a breaking point when Snoke confessed that he used the mental connection between Rey and Kylo to lead him to Luke. Snoke then tried to goad Kylo into killing Rey by insulting and humiliating him, which finally made Kylo realize that Han was right about Snoke. Filled with hatred against his own master for using him, an enraged Kylo kills Snoke by slicing him in half with Luke's lightsaber and briefly joining forces with Rey killing Snoke's Praetorian Guards before taking over as the new Supreme Leader.

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 well together with The First Order's operations and Hux did end up saving Kylo under Snoke's orders.

After discovering that Supreme Leader Snoke is dead and Kylo Ren lying unconscious in the throne room, Hux contemplates shooting Ren, but abandoned this idea after Kylo regained consciousness. Kylo then lies to Hux that Rey killed Snoke, and announced that he is taking over as the new Supreme Leader. Hux strongly objects at the idea of taking orders from Kylo, but is forced into compliance after being Force-choked by an angry Kylo.

Phasma

Kylo and Phasma are rarely seen together but have a good relationship, being a dangerous team. Kylo and Phasma are seen during the Attack on Tuanul when Kylo orders to Phasma to kill the survivors.

Rey

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 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.

However, Rey has developed a certain connection within the Force as she was able to communicate with Kylo with their minds. She soon learns that Kylo has succumbed to the Dark Side not only due to Snoke's corruption, but also Luke's attempted murder after sensing the darkness within Kylo, something which a remorseful Luke admitted to.

Kylo even learned that Rey was abandoned by her parents for money and revealed this to her after he killed Snoke. Realizing now that Kylo's fall to the Dark Side wasn't entirely his fault, Rey decided that there may be some good in Kylo and tries to convinces him to join back the Light after killing Snoke and his guards, but Kylo refuses as he wanted to create a legacy far away from that of Luke's and Snoke's.

Kylo even tried to convince Rey to join him in his pursuit, but she refuses and instead escapes with the Resistance, much to Kylo's anger and disappointment. He even put the blame of Snoke's murder on Rey to cement his new role as Supreme Leader. When fighting a force projection of Luke, he vows to destroy Rey and the Resistance, however when he later storms the abandoned shelter, the connection between himself and Rey mysteriously re-opens and he is distressed at Rey closing herself off from him with a look of disappointment.

Finn

TRAITOR!
~ Kylo Ren to Finn.

Kylo Ren has been suspicious of Finn ever since the massacre on Jakku. He could sense his fear and hesitation. Later he figured out that Finn was the stormtrooper who saved the captured Poe Dameron. They become even more enemies when Kylo 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.

Poe Dameron

I had no idea that we had the best pilot in the Resistance 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.

Killed Victims

Reception

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 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.

Quotes

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.

Trivia

  • It is possible that in order to complete his training of whatever Snoke wants him to be, Kylo Ren had to hunt down and kill Luke Skywalker.
    • While this could be possible, he seems to have failed since Luke became one with the Force in peace.
  • 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 is the founder of the First Order and the one who seduced Kylo to the Dark Side, Kylo was the main antagonist of the trilogy as a whole because he was the immediate threat that Rey had to face and turned out to be even more dangerous than Snoke, and also had bigger plans than anyone else.
    • On another note, Kylo's betrayal of Snoke is similar to that of Darth Vader's betrayal of Emperor Palpatine and in turn, the latter's betrayal of his former master, Darth Plagueis.
      • However, Vader only killed Palpatine to save Luke, which led to his redemption; Kylo, on the other hand, killed Snoke in cold blood before taking over the First Order.
  • Kylo shares a number of similarities with the Legends character Darth Caedus, in that both were sons of Han and Leia Solo, and both were trained as Jedi before falling to the dark side.

Navigation

           Star Wars Villains

Bounty Hunters
4-LOM | Aurra Sing | Bazine Netal | Boba Fett | Bossk | Cad Bane | Dengar | Embo | Greedo | Highsinger | IG-88 | Jango Fett | Moralo Eval | Rako Hardeen | Robonino | Zam Wesell | Zuckuss

Confederacy of Independent Systems
Leaders: Darth Sidious | Count Dooku
Separatist Council: Nute Gunray | Passel Argente | Po Nudo | Poggle the Lesser | Rune Haako | San Hill | Shu Mai | Tikkes | Wat Tambor
Military Leaders: Admiral Trench | General Grievous | General Kalani | Lok Durd | Mar Tuuk | Riff Tamson | TA-175 | TF-1726 | TJ 55 | TJ-912 | TV-94 | TV-94B | TX-20 | TX-21 | TX-20 | TX-21 | TZ-33 | Whorm Loathsom
Other Officials: Asajj Ventress | Bec Lawise | Darts D'nar | EV-A4-D | Faro Argyus | K2-B4 | Keeper Agruss | Miraj Scintel | Nix Card | Osi Sobeck | R3-S6 | Voe Atell
Soldiers: Battle Droids | Droidekas | Geonosians | MagnaGuards | Super Battle Droids | Tactical Droids

First Order
Leaders: Supreme Leader Snoke | Kylo Ren
Imperial Officers: Armitage Hux | Captain Canady | Captain Phasma | Colonel Datoo | Colonel Kaplan
Other Officials and Operatives: BB-9E | Carise Sindian
Soldiers: Stormtroopers (FN-2199) | Knights of Ren | Elite Praetorian Guards

Galactic Empire
Leaders: Emperor Palpatine | Darth Vader
Inquisitorius: Eighth Brother | Fifth Brother | The Grand Inquisitor | Seventh Sister | Sixth Brother | Tenth Brother
Imperial Officers: Arihnda Pryce | Cassio Tagge | Conan Antonio Motti | Cumberlayne Aresko | Firmus Piett | Garrick Versio | Grand Moff Tarkin | Kassius Konstantine | Kendal Ozzel | Maximillian Veers | Moff Jerjerrod | Myles Grint | Thrawn
Organizations: Imperial Navy | COMPNOR
Other Officials and Operatives: Alexsandr Kallus | Commander Cody | Gar Saxon | Gideon Hask | Iden Versio | Mas Amedda | Naare | Orson Krennic | Tiber Saxon
Soldiers: Death Troopers | Emperor's Royal Guard | Stormtroopers | 501st Legion

Individuals
Dark Force-Users: Barriss Offee | Darth Bane | Darth Plagueis | Pong Krell | The Son
Other: 0-0-0 | Azmorigan | Bib Fortuna | Cassie Cryar | Chi Cho | Cornelius Evazan | DJ | Dryden Vos | Garnac | Graxol Kelvyyn | Hondo Ohnaka | Jabba the Hutt | Maketh Tua | Moralo Eval | Ponda Baba | Salacious B. Crumb | Sarlacc | Saw Gerrera | Sebulba | Slick | Teedo | Tobias Beckett | Unkar Plutt | Zillo Beast | Ziro the Hutt | Razoo Qin-Fee | Tasu Leech

Other Groups
Black Sun: Ziton Moj
Death Watch: Bo-Katan Kryze | Pre Vizsla | Tor Vizsla
Guavian Death Gang: Bala-Tik
Nightsisters: Asajj Ventress | Mother Talzin | Old Daka | Zalem
Shadow Collective: Darth Maul | Savage Opress | Almec
Trade Federation: Daultay Dofine | Lott Dod | Nute Gunray | Rune Haako