|“||I'll show you the Dark Side.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren to Lor San Tekka.|
|“||Forgive me. I can feel it... The pull to the light. 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 deformed mask helmet of his grandfather|
Kylo Ren, originally born as Ben Solo, is one of the main antagonists of of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He is the main antagonist of the first installment The Force Awakens.
Ren is the dark, powerful, and extremely obsessive leader of the Knights of Ren, as well as an high-ranking member and the supreme military director of the First Order (the remnant faction of the Galactic Empire) and the right-hand apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke. He is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa Skywalker, the nephew of Luke Skywalker and the grandson of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
He was portrayed by Adam Driver.
Ren was born as Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, a year after Episode VI: 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. Unfortunately, all of Luke's efforts were wasted when Snoke, the leader of the evil First Order organization, corrupted Ben to the Dark Side. Ben adopted the new name "Kylo Ren" by becoming a member of the Knights of Ren, eventually becoming their leader. He went on to hunt down Luke's Jedi recruits and exterminate them, and in some hinted-at cases, recruit them to 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). He also developed a rivalry with General Hux for Snoke's appreciation.
Star Wars: Bloodline
Reasons why Ben become evil was not just due to Snoke's corruption, but also due to his parents' tumultuous relationship, given Han's career as a smuggler and Leia's role as a political figure. Six years prior to events of The Force Awakens, Leia's political enemies exposed her parentage to the public, which is likely the reason how Ben learned that he was the grandson of Darth Vader.
Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens
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.
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 himthat 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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. 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.
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 ruthless, brutal, and confident, but appears to carry at least some guilt and remorse for his actions. Like Anakin, he is short-tempered, hot-headed, 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, level-headed, 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 supposedly 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.
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, greasy and approximately chin-length.
While fully clothed, Kylo wears a metal mask the 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.
The most distinct physical element of Kylo, however, 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.
- 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.
Kylo apparently had a poor relationship with his father, calling him a disappointment. He rejected Han and brutally murdered him, though he deeply regretted this almost immediately after it occurred, showing that he did at least had some love for his father prior to turning to the Dark Side.
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.
When Ben started to struggled 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 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 father 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
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 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 Hans for it.
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.
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.
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.
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's rivalry with Hux is similar to that of Zuko and Zhao from Avatar: The Last Airbender; they both happen to be working for the same villain (Ren and Hux: Snoke, Zuko and Zhao: Ozai), but they both drive the plot while competing against one another for their boss's approval, thus forming a Heavy Ensemble.
- He will also be in the other two films in the sequel trilogy. In it's final installment, he will likely redeem himself, or die, or redeem himself and die.
Artwork and Covers
The Force Awakens