Is Redemption and Life Possible?

Hi guys!  Long time no visit here…been enjoying the sunny weather down in Florida.  But alas, I’m back up in Massachusetts and it’s cold.  My favorite (sarcasm).

There have been a lot of mixed reactions on Kylo Ren between Star Wars fans.  When I first saw The Force Awakens, I wasn’t sure I liked him much.  He was whiney, a tad bratty, at times had complete mastery over the Force, and then got whooped easily by Rey by the end of the movie.  I also didn’t think he was as imposing or as threatening as I would have liked a new dark character to be.

I saw the movie two more times since then and I have actually grown to enjoy his character.  He is conflicted and I think that comes out in the temper Ren and Vader helmettantrum side that he has.  Disney gave us something new and different by presenting a character that openly admits his struggles with the dark and light side of the Force.  The light side calls to him and he wants to conquer his pull toward it.  We haven’t seen that before in a character.  We certainly saw Anakin struggle in AOTC and then more openly in ROTS, but never displaying an open reference to his struggle.  Okay, Kylo Ren’s wasn’t necessarily “open” since he was talking to Darth Vader’s helmet in private, but I like that we saw that personal part of his life.  With Anakin, his turn to the dark side felt like a means to an end.  With Kylo, we still are unsure what drove him to the dark side or if there was a final tipping point like Anakin had.  If Mace Windu hadn’t said he was going to kill Palpatine (“he is too dangerous to be left alive!”), Anakin may not have turned to the dark side.  Weak argument, but could be true.

Since Kylo’s turn is still open ended, maybe there was no tipping point or means to an end.  Perhaps like Leia implied, Snoke seduced him and maybe Snoke’s methods of seduction are not as strong as the manipulation Palpatine did with Anakin.

Because of Kylo Ren’s grey area, are we now supposed to know that by killing his father he is fully entrapped in the dark side?  Are we meant to think that there is no more struggle?

If we believe that Kylo has wholly turned to the dark side, but also know how much he struggled in TFA with the complete conversion, then is there a chance he can be redeemed?  What would be most interesting to me is if he is redeemed, they choose to have his character continue to live.

Is that even possible?  From what we’ve seen, when someone turns back to the light side, usually they die right afterwards which is convenient because can you imagine if Luke brought Vader back to the Rebellion and tried to convince everyone he was good again?  But it sounds like Kylo could have grown up with the Resistance and obviously with notable parents.  Even Lor San Tekka acknowledged Kylo by his real name Ben, not a knight of Ren possibly implying he was around when he was growing up.  So would it be easier for other light side characters to accept a converted Kylo Ren?  As an audience, it would also be less complicated to understand his transition back the light side because the foundation for that has already been set in TFA.kylo ren

It could be an alternate outcome to ROTJ.  Luke was a notable Jedi who brought his father back to the light side.  Rey could be the notable Jedi who brings her (brother? Cousin?) back to the light side, but this time also brings him back home to his family.

I fully understand the chances of this happening are slim as it’s so much more dramatic and plays out better cinematically to have Kylo either stay completely in the dark side or convert to the light side, sacrificing himself for the noble cause.

But from a storytelling perspective, I like thinking about the possibilities if they decided to have his character live and join Rey to bring about the destruction of Snoke, Hux, and the First Order.  (Though, on another note, if wannabe Empires keep forming and getting destroyed, Star Wars would get stale really fast so hopefully they find an alternate storyline.)  By uniting with Rey, he could be accepted back if everyone saw his redeeming qualities.

Either way, if Kylo Ren dies unredeemed, or redeems himself and lives, or redeems himself and dies…I definitely enjoy his character and am hoping that we continue to see evolution from him.


Other notes:

TFA will be released digitally on April 1st and DVD on April 5th.

I found this when I was wandering the Internet thinking about Kylo Ren. It’s pretty good for a laugh.


22 thoughts on “Is Redemption and Life Possible?

  1. I will never forgive him for killing Han! The only way he can be redeemed in my eyes is if he sacrifices himself to save someone. At that point, he will become neutral.

  2. I pre-ordered the TFA from Target and got an email saying there is a special “Target-exclusive version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available for pre-order.
    In addition to a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD copy of the theatrical release, this version will come with a bonus disc featuring 20 minutes of content unavailable anywhere else. It will also feature exclusive collectible packaging.
    If you want the Target-exclusive version with bonus disc, you will need to cancel your current pre-order and place a new pre-order. ”

    I don’t know if I should cancel the order and spend the additional $5 or simple go with the first one.

    • Oooo tough question! I think the “content” will not be deleted scenes but something else… Maybe extra audio commentary or making if footage. They purposefully left that word vague. That’s my educated guess. That stuff doesn’t matter as much to me so I wouldn’t buy the new one. Sneaky, well played marketing though! You order that one and then they play on your already heightened emotions to get you to buy more and give you the “fear of missing out” to boot.
      I guess I’m also confused by the wording. Do you get a bonus disc with your original order? If you don’t, then yes, spend the extra $5. If you do, and there is just 20 minutes more of mysterious “content”, then I wouldn’t bother.

      • I take it to mean if I don’t do anything, I just get the movie as it was in the theatres (unless Lucas sneaks in and has Han shoot first at Kylo 😉 If I want the bonus footage, which includes an never before seen interviews with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

        If I want that, I have to cancel my order and re-order the new one. I’m leaning toward not bothering…this is gonna blow up in Target’s face I suspect.

  3. Very good write-up, as usual! However, I have to admit you failed to convince me into liking either the character or the actor. Kylo Ren reminds one of teenage Anakin. The problem is, the dude is 30 years old. He should have grown up out of the whiney stage already. I could buy him as a character if he was 16. Not 30. As far as redeeming: this is Star Wars. Of course it’s plausible they will write it into the story to redeem him. But I just don’t see him as redeemable. He genuinely LIKES and WANTS to be evil, unlike Vader who merely tolerated that as an undesirable side effect of being a Sith.

    • “as usual”? Does that mean you’ve been here before and haven’t commented? I love new peeps! You should drop in more often.

      That said, I think all your points are valid but I was also trying to show how what Disney and Abrams/Kasdan did with a dark side character was different (ie he is openly conflicted with the pull to the light side which we haven’t seen before). Then when you look at it from the perspective that maybe they are only setting the stage for a redemption story where he lives instead of dies, then things could get realllly interesting. So from a storytelling pov, you almost don’t need to like Kylo Ren at all when you take a step back.

      Don’t you think his whininess could also stem from his internal conflict? He seemed to be less whiney as the movie went on and he fell more to the dark side.

      But you do make a good point that he may not be redeemable only because he does seem to want to be on the dark side.

      I’m sure so much of this will make more sense when we know his back story!

      • Speaking of which, do you think maybe it’d have been better if Kylo Ren were aged younger? Maybe in his 20s instead of 30?

        • I’m not sure. I really believe that the whininess stems from his internal conflict – that’s what I’m sticking to. We’ll have to see what happens in VIII and see if he stays the same. When you look at Driver’s age now he’s 32, so maybe he was around 30 or 31 when filming. But he looks like he could be late 20s in the movie.

      • Yes, I commented here before (but forgot my login, and was too lazy to dig 🙂

        I agree with your analysis of *what* they did (or at least tried to do) as a possibility… I just think it was a poor decision and didn’t work at all – EITHER script wise, OR acting-wise. Perhaps a better actor could have pulled this off without a problem… I’m thinking young Alan Rickman (if you never saw the deleted scene from Half-Blood Prince with Snape on a balcony, look at it. THAT is an Actor).

        As someone immersed in this story, I don’t want this character – as shown – to be redeemed, and don’t see any way for him to be redeemed that won’t look like “meh, that’s just because the script had to be written this way” – as opposed to organically through good acting/storytelling. Liking him isn’t required – I don’t like pre-ROTJ-end Vader either. But his redemption is fitting; and the prequels didn’t even destroy it all that much 🙂

        Let’s see if the backstory helps at all. Clearly, Anakin’s didn’t, but mostly due to poor execution.

        Re: whining: I agree it lessened after he did the Bad Thing… but whether it’s because his character evolved or simply because he had no chance to be seen whining again is open to interpretation 🙂

        • So you hated Vader too? Interesting. So are there any dark side characters you do like?

          I hated the Half Blood Prince movie the most out of all the movies, so I only saw it twice. Can’t remember. I’ll look on YouTube for it. Maybe your issue with Kylo Ren is the same as my issue with Count Dooku. I think the casting was horrible for him and they should have picked someone younger and more sinister instead of old and composed.

  4. I’m not sure where they are going to go with his story, but I’m looking forward to seeing it. I think it would be really hard to redeem himself. Maybe this will be a Jaina-Jacen type thing where Rey realizes she has to kill him. It would kind of lack the same emotional punch though, since Rey doesn’t really know him (even if they are related). Maybe she’ll remember her repressed memories of him! Ok, I’m really reaching here…

    I could definitely see him pulling a Vader and sacrificing himself. Or maybe not redeeming himself at all; it would be an interesting counterpoint to the original trilogy.

    • I like the idea of him not redeeming himself at all though it would be a little depressing for star wars/Disney. It would be interesting to give the audience and characters hope he’ll keep turning back but he never does. You’re right, good counterpoint.

      I’ve been wondering over the past few days if Kylo knows that Vader even turned to the light side and sacrificed himself for Luke? I feel like he doesn’t.

      • I was wondering that, too, as I wrote my comment! I also feel like he might not know that. But how could Luke not tell that to his students? He wasn’t a very good Jedi master lol.

      • Kylo Ren 100% certainly knows how Vader turned. It is covered in great detail in Alan Dean Foster’s TFA novelization; Supreme Leader Snoke discusses the issue with him; in that same conversation about “Awakening”.

        • “”Such a foolish error of judgement. A momentary lapse in an otherwise exemplary life. Had Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment — had the father killed the son — the Empire would have prevailed.” – the exact quote from their discussion in novelization.

          • Ah thank you, I’ve been meaning to read the novelization and haven’t gotten around to it yet. So this would be canon. Interesting then that Kylo Ren still revered him so much. I’m not sure you can just explain that away the way Snoke did. Agh, these Star Wars loopholes/brush aways of explanation makes me crazy.

  5. Pingback: Backed Up Update on Kylo Ren – Star Wars Anonymous

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