Movie/TV News

The Last Jedi Fixed Kylo Ren (& Rise Of Skywalker Ruined It)


Star Wars: The Last Jedi allowed Kylo Ren to have more agency as a villain, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reversed all those changes. As the most prominent villain in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Kylo Ren had big shoes to fill. Not only is Darth Vader still one of the most iconic villains in popular culture today, but Kylo’s background intrinsically linked him to the Skywalker family and all the baggage that comes with it. As the child of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Kylo needed to have an arc of his own in the sequel trilogy, one that would explain how someone born from the light could turn to the dark.


While Star Wars: The Force Awakens painted Kylo Ren as Darth Vader’s successor, even going so far as to have Kylo imitate his grandfather’s character design unnecessarily, his character still showed tremendous villainous potential. He was a menacing presence, certainly, proficient with the Force and angry beyond belief. As The Force Awakens has often been lamented for treading the familiar ground of the original Star Wars movie, both in terms of plot and its characters, it fell to Rian Johnson’s efforts with The Last Jedi to truly reveal Kylo Ren’s potential. Despite The Last Jedi largely succeeding in this endeavor, The Rise of Skywalker, unfortunately, undid most of it.

Related: Star Wars Never Explained A Defining Kylo Ren Mystery

The Last Jedi Gave Kylo Ren The Chance To Escape Darth Vader’s Shadow

Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.

Despite The Last Jedi’s divisive nature, it did allow Kylo Ren to escape Darth Vader’s shadow. In The Force Awakens, Kylo is shown to be trying to emulate his grandfather’s dark legacy – something the redeemed Vader likely wouldn’t have wanted for his grandson – by using a similar helmet and voice modifier to intimidate those beneath him. While Kylo being overwhelmed by his family’s heritage is understandable, the movie’s reliance on Vader’s legacy to make Kylo a menacing villain was unnecessary. The Last Jedi, on the other hand, gave Kylo the chance to become a villain in his own right, with his own motivations, instead of those put in his head by his master.

When Kylo destroyed the helmet and killed Snoke, he finally took control of his personal narrative. By ditching the mask in The Last Jedi, Kylo could no longer hide behind his grandfather’s legacy. Instead, he took ownership of his hate and his power and allowed the galaxy to see his true self. And, while at first glance, Kylo’s killing of Snoke parallels Vader’s betrayal of Palpatine, their motivations were completely different. Vader killed Palpatine to save his son, while Kylo killed Snoke because he felt he didn’t need him anymore. Vader’s actions were part of his redemption, while Kylo’s put him on an even darker path, especially once Rey rejected him.

By the end of The Last Jedi, Kylo’s future is free and clear. He could do whatever he wanted and become the darkest presence in the galaxy to boot. Kylo was no longer an apprentice, and he wasn’t someone’s master, either. He wasn’t beholden to anyone, unlike Vader before him. Unfortunately, as the Star Wars sequel trilogy wasn’t mapped out, there was no way to know how the next team of creatives would continue Rian Johnson’s story, and Kylo Ren’s development in The Last Jedi was undone by Palpatine’s gratuitous resurrection in The Rise of Skywalker.

Kylo Ren’s Arc In The Rise Of Skywalker Made Him Another Vader (Again)

Kylo Ren and Darth Vaders Helmet in Star Wars.

Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker is a convoluted plot point for many reasons – it showed that the final movie in the sequel trilogy was too reliant on fan service and nostalgia, especially. Perhaps even more egregious is the damage it did to Kylo Ren as a standalone villain. As soon as Palpatine returned, Kylo became a puppet once more; the movie’s insistence that Kylo was merely following Palpatine’s orders to gain the upper hand wasn’t enough to counteract his regression. Ren was now Palpatine’s lackey, just as Vader was before him, and this set up Kylo’s sudden, yet inevitable redemption. Once again, Kylo was being forced to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Related: Wow, Kylo Ren’s Original Identity Changed A Lot Before Force Awakens

The Rise of Skywalker even went so far as to restore Kylo’s helmet, the very thing that he himself had destroyed just one movie earlier, forcing him to unnecessarily hide behind a mask once more. As Yoda says in The Last Jedi, “we are what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all Masters.” Kylo Ren didn’t need a master any longer, he didn’t need to force himself to live up to his grandfather’s legacy, and yet The Rise of Skywalker made it impossible for his character to move in any other direction. Kylo wanted to “let the past die,” but The Rise of Skywalker made his entire story a repeat of the past, instead.

The Last Jedi’s arc for Kylo worked, in part, because it didn’t set up a redemption – in fact, it seemed to say that Kylo would refuse to be redeemed out of spite. Though redemption and forgiveness are an integral part of Star Wars’ DNA, especially when it comes to characters related to the Skywalkers, Kylo didn’t necessarily need to be redeemed, or even deserve to be. In fact, his redemption made Kylo’s parallels with Vader come full circle, to the detriment of his character. They were both manipulated by Palpatine, they both became his lackeys, and they were both later redeemed by sacrificing themselves to save someone they cared about.

How Kylo Ren’s Star Wars Arc Could Have Been Much Better

Kylo Ren and Ben Solo in The Rise of Skywalker.

Parallels can be powerful storytelling tools, but The Rise of Skywalker took it too far – Kylo’s story had no originality to it. Sometimes villains should remain villainous. Kylo’s lack of redemption could have made Rey’s story more powerful, too. As one half of a Force dyad, Kylo’s choice to remain in the dark would have affirmed Rey’s decision to side with the light. Kylo’s redemption in The Rise of Skywalker was too quick, even unearned. If that was the route the creative team was to go down, it should have been set up sooner, and he should have done more to earn it.

Interestingly enough, an earlier version of Star Wars’ ninth episode didn’t include Kylo Ren being fully redeemed. A draft of ex-director Colin Trevorrow’s script had Kylo Ren still take Vader’s place, though this time it was to learn from Palpatine’s master and become an even darker presence in the Force. It revealed that Kylo killed Rey’s parents, and he eventually dies in a confrontation with her during which he stops himself from killing her. Whether Trevorrow’s Star Wars movie would have been better than J.J. Abrams’ can never be known, but it seems to make peace with the fact that not all villains should be fully redeemed and find a fleeting moment of romance with the protagonist.

Related: Star Wars Should’ve Dropped Kylo Ren’s Darth Vader Obsession

Since Kylo Ren’s redemption ended up being inevitable in The Rise of Skywalker, what might have helped make it more believable was his having more interaction with his mother, Leia. Though Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing affected The Rise of Skywalker’s story to a large degree, she would have been the one to be able to get through to him. She could have connected with him through the Force for more than just an instant, bonding with him as only a mother can. In fact, The Last Jedi hinted that Leia was likely the only person still capable of turning him back to the light when Kylo refused to shoot her down in battle.

The Rise of Skywalker novelization by Rae Carson expanded that idea – it says that in her last moments, Leia reached out through the Force not just to make Kylo pause, but to prove to her son how much she still loved him, using all her remaining energy to do so, and that is what brought him back to the light. The movie version of The Rise of Skywalker made it seem like it was merely her death and Rey’s kindness that shocked him straight, but it was more than that. The movie’s narrative, and Kylo as a character, would have benefited from that additional insight. Star Wars has had many memorable villains throughout its franchise, but although Star Wars: The Last Jedi set him on a strong path, Kylo Ren was unfortunately held back by what came before.

More: Kylo Ren vs Darth Vader: Who Is More Powerful In Star Wars?


Share this news on your Fb,Twitter and Whatsapp

File source

NY Press News:Latest News Headlines
NY Press News||Health||New York||USA News||Technology||World NewsTimes News Network:Latest News Headlines
Times News Network||Health||New York||USA News||Technology||World News

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button