kylo ren redemption

Kylo Ren is one of the most interesting villains in the Star Wars franchise. Adam Driver‘s character was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a conflicted antagonist torn between his birth family and his chosen identity as commander of the First Order, a master of the Knights of Ren, and protege of the Supreme Leader Snoke. He was a character deeply embedded in the Dark Side of the Force, and yet, Driver’s ungainly performance and his shifting emotions made him a character that earned our sympathy, whether we liked it or not. But does a little sympathy mean that Kylo Ren is deserving of redemption in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Not according to Driver.

Every time Kylo Ren has been offered an olive branch by one of our heroes — first by Han Solo, many times by Rey — he’s rejected it. He killed his own father, Han, to appease his First Order Supreme Leader Snoke, he’s partially responsible for Luke Skywalker’s death, and he took control of the First Order rather than join Rey, with whom he obviously shares some sort of deep connection. Could he possibly be redeemed from these horrific actions? But when asked by Entertainment Weekly if redemption was in the cards for Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Driver shot back, “What does he have to be redeemed for?”

Driver is referring to Kylo’s mindset, and in his mind “he’s already been redeemed,” he elaborated:

“[Kylo Ren] has a different identity, a different definition of what redemption is. He’s already been redeemed in his story. I don’t think there is a thought of redemption. He doesn’t have an outside lens of the events, you know — you know what I mean? That’s more of an outsider’s view of his world.”

Kylo Ren does indeed seem to act outside of our traditional ideas of good and evil that Star Wars has presented to us before. He acts in his own self-interest, which more often than not align with the Dark Side of the Force, but sometimes, as we saw in Last Jedi, align with the Resistance. It’s what makes him such a compelling character to watch, and one that audiences root for despite his awful deeds. But could such an untraditional villain earn a traditional “redemption” that sees him atoning for his actions? Driver’s response doesn’t completely rule this out. But I wonder if that would ultimately be satisfying to see play out in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019.

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