Though all signs point to the clear protagonist of the new Star Wars trilogy being Rey, it’s not unreasonable to think that Kylo Ren’s arc will also be very, very important. From the glimpses we got in The Force Awakens we know that Kylo’s struggle between the light side and the dark side is one that defines him, and the latest trailer for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi focused heavily on the reflections and relationship between the two young characters, which makes us think that that Kylo’s journey is likely going to be just as important as Rey’s. We also know from Star Wars canon that struggles like Kylo Ren’s usually only end two ways: redemption or death. (Well, sometimes both.)
One of the main criticisms waged against The Force Awakens was that it echoed the story of A New Hope too closely. Even if you felt like it was a perfect balance of homage and invention (like I did), using that criticism as a jumping off point gives us a solid place to start thinking about Kylo’s potential redemption. Star Wars is at its heart a family saga based around the loves, lives, and losses of one family and those who connect with them.
In the case of The Force Awakens, we met Ben, a living monument to the union of two original characters, Han and Leia. If we look at The Force Awakens as a reimagining of A New Hope, it makes sense that the rest of the trilogy will share thematic threads with the original films. If so, Kylo’s potential redemption could easily be one of them, echoing the final moments of his grandfather Anakin.
Just as Rey’s journey is one of discovering her burgeoning power, Kylo’s is one of dealing with his own. The pair’s stories could easily be inversions of each other as we go forward into the franchise. If, as we believe, Rey may stray from the Jedi path and become a new kind of Force user, it makes sense that Kylo too may stray from the dark path he’s chosen.
If we’re assuming that The Last Jedi will be the new trilogy’s Empire Strikes Back, then it’s incredibly likely that this film will see both Rey and Kylo moving closer to the dark side, with Kylo presenting Rey to Snoke. We already know from the trailer that she is at one point in his grasp; wouldn’t it make sense if Kylo, just like his grandfather before him, was the one who took an unsure Rey to his master to show her the power that they could both share?
In fact, creating a close relationship with Rey might just be the spark that Kylo needs to truly redeem himself. If a young woman with a direct connection to his old life and family—and possibly even a deeper link than meets the eye—is suddenly put in danger, couldn’t that be the thing Ben needs to finally realize he’s on the wrong path?
Though nothing’s set in stone, we’d be pretty surprised if Kylo doesn’t at least make an attempt to do what he thinks to be right. So don’t be shocked if, after learning his grandfather sacrificed himself for his family, a guilt-ridden Kylo tries to do the same thing.
What do you think? Will Kylo eventually turn to the light? Will he and Rey team up to bring balance to the Force once and for all? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Disney, Lucasfilm
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