Many believe that the villain of the new Star Wars Trilogy, Kylo Ren, will be getting a redemption arc sometime between Episode VIII and IX, but will he? I believe he won’t. Now many would disagree with me straight away because most believe the story will follow the same structure of the original trilogy, as Darth Vader reverts back to Anakin Skywalker in the end of ‘Return Of The Jedi’ because Episode VII shared so many parallels with ‘A New Hope’. But I believe this won’t be the case. Now there is method to my madness and that’s what this discussion is about. Beware of spoilers for Episode VII though if you haven’t watched it you would probably not be here.
First of all, Kylo Ren does not struggle with the light side as Anakin, on the contrary, his affiliation with the light is so strong he struggles to keep himself on the path of the dark side and I believe that this will be his main obstacle in his path of darkness, to overcome the light and devote himself completely to the dark side. While this can work the other way around with his connection to the light eventually bringing him back, I believe that if he were to overcome the light in favor of the dark side, would make for a far more interesting story arc.
Furthermore, Kylo idolizes his grandfather Anakin Skywalker, former Darth Vader, for whom he expresses a desire to ‘finish’ what he started. Whether he learned of Vader from Luke or Snoke, he also learned of Vader’s return to the light, Kylo would see this as Vader’s failure and this would be what he refers to when displays his desire to finish what Vader started. In order for this to happen he would have to get rid of everything that’s holding him back, family included, and this leads me to my third, most important and final reason.
He killed Han. Not just that he killed one of the most beloved characters of the Star Wars franchise, but his own father. By killing his father he initiated on a path of no return, with this, he turned his back to the light and by doing this in front of Rey, Finn and Chewbacca, he has few people who would still attempt to turn him back to the light, Leia and Luke. An argument for his return to the light would be that Vader also killed Obi-Wan, his former master and was still redeemed, however, Anakin never killed a real family member, and we can see that from early on in the original trilogy and the prequels, Vader’s weakness was his family, he did everything in his power to turn Luke to the dark side and when he failed and saw the Emperor almost take his son’s life, Vader killed the Emperor himself in order to save his son, turning his back to the dark and embracing the light once again. However Kylo is different, in order to sever all his ties to the light, he killed his own father, one the only people who would be able to turn him back to the light, doubt that anyone else would have the power to do what his own father failed to do. At the moment he kills Han it is evident that Kylo struggles to do it, he has to make a decision, to embrace his father and return to the light, or to kill him and embark on his journey to the dark side, he, of course, chooses the latter, as he impales his father and watches as he falls to his death, at this moment he no longer has anything holding him back from finishing what Vader started, and symbolized his commitment to Snoke.
While, in my opinion, Kylo will not return to the light, I still think there may be a possibility for him to fight along side of the resistance in order to take down Snoke after some kind of betrayal by Snoke, of course, I do not believe this alliance will last for long, as I believe that Kylo will attempt to later claim the First Order for himself, and thus become the main antagonist of Episode IX.
Hope you all enjoyed this discussion/ response to The Discordia’s argument for the redemption of Kylo Ren. Please check out Discordia’s take on Kylo’s redemption here..