The moment the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII came our way and we saw that crossguard lightsaber, the internet has been all about trying to figure out who this mysterious, hooded figure was. Of course, it’s 2015 and there was no reality where they would find a way to keep that question unanswered until the release at Christmas. So, as was the most logical choice, they let us know that he was a man named Kylo Ren. Clearly they channeled a bit of Darth Revan, which, considering how awesome that character is, was an excellent choice to model a character after.
Every day we get one step closer to the release of The Force Awakens, and, because J.J. Abrams is the master of managing to keep things from his movies under-wraps, we still don’t know an awful lot about the mysterious Kylo Ren. So, for a real quick recap of what we DO know, here’s a really quick reminder:
-Ren is not actually his name, but more of a moniker, much like “Darth” for the Sith. In fact, it’s an adopted name from an order known as the Knights of Ren. Not much is known at this point about the Knights, except that they are followers of the Dark Side of the Force.
-Kylo Ren’s lightsaber is a tad controversial because some people seem to think the crossguard would simply make it harder to wield. However, Ren crafted the saber himself in a time long after the last of the Sith were gone and clearly it wasn’t designed for pure finesse, but rather a much more barbaric style of fighting. Which, safe to say, is going to put a very neat spin on his fighting style.
-Ren was born some time AFTER The Battle of Endor, which, if you’ll recall, was the final battle of the Empire and the Rebellion where the second death star was destroyed and both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine were defeated.
-Abrams has confirmed that Ren is, in fact, NOT a Sith. This, to me, is the most intriguing aspect of his character.
-Ren is not the leader of the First Order, which is sort of a fledgling Empire of its own, but instead is apparently second in command behind a character known as Supreme Leader Snoke. Little is known of Snoke, even his appearance. However, many rumors persist that he could possibly be Darth Plagueis, who, if you’ll recall, was the Sith Master to Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine before his rise to galactic domination. While it’s possible that is true, considering Plagueis’ goal was to make himself eternal and undying, it’s not really what we’re here to talk about, now is it?
No, in fact we are here to discuss Kylo Ren, who I am very, very excited to learn more about. The fact that we know so little is part of what makes him so fascinating. Is he going to be a bad guy who eventually converts to a Jedi at some point? Or is he a monster who dreams of being in the place that Palpatine once was? Or is he maybe somewhere in between? For all we know he’s simply a pawn of Snoke. Maybe he wishes to overthrow Snoke? Or maybe he’s truly loyal to him and intends to rule the galaxy with him for the foreseeable future.
The most interesting aspect of Kylo Ren, to me, is that he is not a Sith, and therefore not necessarily locked into one set of rules or regulations. The Jedi are bound by their code, just as the Sith are to theirs. While, it’s debatable that the Sith aren’t inherently evil, but instead their quest for power simply requires a bit of death and destruction, but their true goal is unlimited power and conquest. Perhaps Ren falls somewhere in the middle?
In my eyes, it’s feasible that Kylo Ren is based more on Darth Revan than we know. Revan left the galaxy in shambles after conquering it while also attempting to strengthen it in order to prevent the True Sith Empire from invading it years later. This put Revan as less a total monster and more as someone who was willing to sacrifice lives in order to save lives later on. That is a debate for an article all by itself, but it’s possible that Kylo Ren shares a similar viewpoint and isn’t entirely evil, but rather attempting to be a necessary evil in order to serve a greater purpose that clashes with the ideals of the newly reformed Jedi Order under Luke Skywalker. Perhaps through the new trilogy we will be challenged in our views of “good” and “evil,” and some will find themselves understanding the choices he’s made.
Perhaps another point of interest is that we do not know the real name of Kylo Ren. Perhaps his true name is Kylo Skywalker? Kyle Solo? Who knows? The Thrawn Trilogy did establish a lot of Skywalkers and Solos (who share the Jedi blood of Anakin all the same) became both the saviors and conquerors of the galaxy after the fall of Palpatine. While that’s been tossed aside as noncanon, it’s still within the realm of possibility that the writers have taken some cues from those stories and turned even more of Luke’s family to the lure of the Dark Side.
There’s so much potential for a character as mysterious as Ren. While it’s more than possible that he’s just another baddie, comments from Abrams regarding him have established that he’s more than a simple, one dimensional villain. There’s a lot to take in with the new film trilogy, and I, for one, am more than willing to see where Ren’s path takes him.