Villain Overview

Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father. So I destroyed him.
~ Kylo stressing to his father Han that there is no Ben Solo left in him.
Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. It's the only way to become what you're meant to be.
~ Kylo Ren telling Rey to not be attached to the past.
I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it.
~ Kylo Ren to the memory of his father just before turning to the light.

Kylo Ren, originally born as Ben Solo, is the central antagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He serves as the main antagonist of the first two installments, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and he progressively becomes the deuteragonist of the final installment, The Rise of Skywalker. He is also the overarching antagonist of the second and final season of the animated television series Star Wars Resistance.

He is the dark, powerful, and extremely wrathful master of the Knights of Ren, as well as the apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke, before killing him and becoming the new Supreme Leader of the First Order. Ben Solo was born as the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, the nephew of Luke Skywalker, the grandson of Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) and Padmé Amidala. He is also the archenemy-turned-ally of Rey, Sidious' granddaughter who is his love interest besides being connected with him through a dyad in the Force.

He was portrayed by Adam Driver in his first villainous role.

Personality

Kylo Ren throwing a tantrum.

It's time to let old things die. Snoke, Skywalker. The Sith, the Jedi, the Rebels... Let it all die. Rey, I want you to join me. We can rule together and bring a new order to the galaxy.
~ Kylo Ren to Rey about his intentions to abandon the past and have her to rule the galaxy with him.

In his youth, Ben Solo was unaware of his true heritage, but suffered from feelings of abandonment due to the struggles his parents had with their lives, which made Leia and Han very absent from their home. Because he is the Skywalker heir and also has a great potential as a Force-user, being seen as a focal point between the heritage of both the light and the dark, Ben was targeted by Darth Sidious during his plans to take revenge on the Skywalkers. Therefore, Sidious created Supreme Leader Snoke, an artificial and genetically modified creature, to lure Ben Solo to the dark side.

When Han and Leia became scared that Ben's uncontrolled raw strength in the Force would lead him to become like Vader, they sent their son to train at Luke Skywalker's Jedi academy. At the academy, Ben was a very reserved student that would keep his feelings to himself and be isolated from others. During this period, he started to hear voices in his head. Snoke communicated with him, presenting himself and a friend and confident, and simultaneously, Sidious also spoke inside Ben's mind to further corrupt him. As Ben listened to the voices and their advices, they both slowly managed to make Ben Solo doubt about the Jedi Order and his family. Because of this, Ben started to struggle with the dark side of the Force. Eventually, this led to his turn to the dark side when Ben saw his uncle with a lightsaber ignited above his head while he was sleeping and felt betrayed. He then confirmed that the voices were right about everything and that there was no one else that he could trust besides Snoke, so he goes to meet him, and becomes his apprentice.

After he became Kylo Ren, he started to admire the power of his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker, but particularly in his Vader incarnation. His attachment to Vader makes him desire to uphold the Sith Lord's legacy by destroying all the Jedi. He is extremely ruthless, brutal, savage, wrathful, besides showing confidence but carries guilt and remorse for his actions. Like Anakin, he is irresponsible, uncompromising, temperamental, short-tempered, hotheaded, and torn by internal conflict. However, given that he didn't complete some of his training before turning evil, his immature nature is more apparent.

However, unlike his maternal grandfather, Kylo is far less able to control his temper and emotions, as well as the fact that he is far less calm, tolerant, phlegmatic, level-headed, reasonable, patient, and far more prone to bouts of rage. To establish his rejection of his past life, he serves the First Order with great passion towards his master Snoke. He does, however, eventually abandon his attachment towards Snoke after finding out that he used him.

Kylo is not without fear, he is afraid that he will never become as powerful as his maternal grandfather and fears what the light side's hold has on him. Unlike Vader, he finds conflict with these traits, especially towards the idea of family. Because of Snoke's and Sidious' corruption, he believes that his feelings of attachment towards his family are a weakness. Feeling that this care is what holds him back, Kylo believes that to be as powerful as Vader and embrace the dark side is to completely abandon the light side. Thus, he came to believe that Vader's sentimentality was the weakness that led to the fall of the Galactic Empire. For this reason, he even proceeds to murder his father Han to sever his hold on the light side. However, this only results in aggravating his inner conflict, making him be consumed by grief and depression. Sensing that his apprentice was remorseful about his father's death, Snoke starts to have doubts about him, especially after Kylo lost the battle at Starkiller Base to Rey because he was emotionally unbalanced.

Thus, Kylo remains one of the most complex villains of the franchise because of his fear of being weak. Despite committing many heinous crimes, he has his moments of compassion even though he wants to remove all positive traits so he can become stronger. Kylo Ren's internal conflict becomes worse after Han's death and it further increases upon starting to communicate with Rey through their Force-bond. Kylo realizes that Rey was abandoned by her family, similar as he feels abandoned by his own. This makes him sympathize with her because of shared feelings of loneliness. She shows compassion towards him, believing he can still be redeemed, while he tries to comfort her by stating that she is not alone. Because of this, feelings start to develop between them, and eventually they fall in love with each other. After touching hands with her and thinking that her parents were merely junk traders that sold her for money, he is convinced that Rey will eventually fall to the dark side and stand beside him. Eventually, ruling the galaxy with Rey by his side would become his greatest ambition.

On the other hand, Rey attempts to convince him to break free and join the light side. For a brief moment, Rey seemed to have succeeded in that regard during their encounter at the Mega-class Star Dreadnought Supremacy, where Kylo murdered his own master Snoke to save her life and then joined her in the battle against the Elite Praetorian Guards. However, despite his feelings for her, he had different plans. Kylo wanted to let the past die: the Jedi, the Sith, the Rebels, etc., and sought to recreate a new order in the galaxy, so he holds out his hand to Rey, inviting her to join him to create something new in their own image. This ultimately fails when Rey realizes that she didn't manage to turn him to the light, causing her to reject him.

Upon taking over the First Order and becoming its Supreme Leader, Kylo led the First Order to invade Crait and during the battle, he also exhibited an obsessive nature with destroying Luke Skywalker. He showcased that he was mentally unstable and disturbed by Luke's presence, besides having an vengeful obsession with killing Luke to finally end the Jedi and take revenge for his uncle's betrayal. Even some of his more heinous men expressed concern towards his obsession.

One year after ruling the galaxy through the First Order, Kylo finds himself in more conflict after learning that Sidious resurrected himself form the dead, and that he's been pulling the strings by creating Snoke and the First Order as a means of regaining control of the galaxy. He's even more shocked to learn that Rey is actually the granddaughter of Sidious as she inherited his skills in Force lightning. Kylo becomes determined to kill Sidious to secure his own power, and after learning about Rey's Palpatine lineage, he also desires to turn her for them to take the Throne of the Sith together. Kylo's obsession in turning Rey to the dark side to have her with him clashes with his own dark impulses that demand him to kill her, so he would get rid of the one who had been tempting him towards the light. But because of his feelings of attachment for her, he becomes relieved when he fails to do so.

Following his last duel with Rey and the death of Leia, Kylo becomes very confused and surprised that his mother just died trying to reach him and Rey risked her own life by giving him a great amount of Force energy to heal and save his life. After talking to the memory of his father, he is convinced to hear the request of his loved ones: his parents and Rey, all of whom always believed in him. With this in mind, he throws his crossguard lightsaber into the ocean and cuts ties with the dark side once and for all, wishing to redeem himself for his past mistakes. After coming back to the light, he is moved by the desire to save Rey, so he follows her to Exegol to help her defeat her grandfather.

After Rey sacrifices herself to defeat Sidious, Ben becomes emotionally distraught over seeing Rey dead. He is not able to accept that someone so strong as Rey, that was able to fight her own inner darkness and help him to come back to the light, was gone. So, when he senses that the Force still had not taken her, Ben does not even hesitate to make a choice. His feelings of love and care motivate him to give Rey a second chance by transferring his all his remaining life force into Rey, who subsequently finally holds his hand and kisses him before he succumbs to his injuries and vanishes. Even after this, Ben sees Rey crying while mourning for him and speaks to her through the Force, to assure her that he will always be with her.

As such, Ben Solo finds redemption as he returns to the light and sacrifices himself for the woman he loves. Afterwards, Rey even takes on the Skywalker surname to honor the ones she came to care about and that she would not have survived the Sith Emperor without, including Ben, because of what he did for her.

Appearance

Kylo Ren. (Neeku Vozo: What is a "Kylo Ren"?) That's what his army called him. He was dressed in black, carried a "laser sword" like in the old Jedi stories.
~ Elia describing Kylo Ren.

Kylo is a tall, dark, and gangly young man, quite similar to his grandfather in his youth. He has broad proportions, including unusually long and thin arms and legs, as well as a large nose and full lips. His hair is black, thick, curly, and approximately chin-length. Following his defeat at the hands of Rey on the Starkiller Base, Kylo bears a scar across the left side of his face. However, after his duel with her on the ruins of the second Death Star, the scar was fully healed along with his other wounds when Rey uses Force healing to save his life.

While fully clothed, Kylo initially wore a metal mask that envelopes his whole head, which features ornamental patterns that draw contours around his visor. His mask was designed by him to take inspiration from the late Darth Vader. He later destroyed this mask in a fit of rage and decided to go without it, after Snoke mocked him for wearing it, and ostensibly in order to "break" with his past. His clothing is black and tailored around his lean physique. The clothing is predominantly made from a soft, flexible material, though his belt and boots are leather-based. Kylo Ren also started to wear capes after the battle at Starkiller Base.

Powers and Abilities

The Force

When I found you, I saw what all masters lived to see; raw, untamed power, and beyond that, something truly special; The potential of your bloodline. A new... Vader.
~ Snoke about Kylo Ren's potential abilities.

The heir to the Skywalker bloodline, being the grandson of Darth Vader (The Chosen One), Ben Solo possesses an amazingly strong connection to the Force and wields such immense levels of raw, untamed power that even Luke Skywalker, despite being notably more powerful than Ren as of his current level, was terrified of what Ben could grow into, and Snoke was so impressed that he believed Ben could be a key to unlimited power and hence corrupted him to the dark side. While he displayed remarkable seasoned mastery of the Force from having both learned the ways of the Jedi and Sith, Kylo Ren still had not reached his full potential due to his conflicts and as of now, he remains less powerful than Vader, Luke and Snoke as well as possibly his mother Leia, but he is still exceptionally powerful and only Rey has been seen to be his equal.

Ren is capable of making the dark side flow through him to increase his physical abilities. Even while severely injured, he was able to use the Force to dash at enough speeds to cut ahead of Rey and Finn despite having already been considerably distanced. He could even use the dark side to amplify his prowess through the pain by beating on it even further.

Ren is highly accomplished with telekinesis and many of its forms, both offensive and defensive. He is capable of performing multiple telekinetic feats simultaneously to great effect, as shown by how he easily flung Rey to a tree while simultaneously forcing Rey to point her blaster at the floor and also freezing her and to pull Dopheld Mitaka by the neck to his hand, as well as to hold him up with one hand while still pulling them with the Force. When defending himself from Skywalker the night his master came close to murdering him, Ren was able to telekinetically collapse an entire hut on Luke while keeping it from harming him and clashing blades with Skywalker at the same time. He was proficient enough to use telekinetic halts of such potency in combat that he was able to freeze the motion of a target to a sufficient degree to fully immobilize and restrain people while even holding a blaster bolt midair for over a minute.

Ren is also a powerful telepath, displaying remarkable prowess in using telepathic powers designed to capture or torture others. His prowess in mind probe could easily invade and torture even strong willed targets to quickly break them, as he swiftly broke the trained Poe. He is also able to cause sleep on targets, as he did with Rey on Takodana.

Combat Skills

Kylo Ren, having drawn from the teachings of both the light and dark side to hone his skills, is highly seasoned expert lightsaber duelist. He was also the best student at his uncle's Jedi academy. Out of jealousy of his skills, one of his fellow students, Voe, tried many times to surpass and beat him in combat but never succeeded.

Kylo displays remarkable prowess in the use of an acrobatic, fluid and aggressive form of lightsaber combat mirroring that of his grandfather's own style and displayed seasoned hand-to-hand combat prowess, effectively chaining martial arts attacks into his dueling style. He could easily deflect multiple blaster bolts and even while injured, fairly swiftly beat and nearly killed Finn. Shortly afterwards, he was still able to overwhelm Rey, in the end losing because of his conflict, weakened state, and unwillingness to kill her. Luke noted Ren's prowess was far greater than Rey's whose lack of experience hindered her.

Later on, Ren fought alongside Rey to defeat the incredibly skilled Praetorian Guards successfully despite their training to kill Force sensitives. Although they were separated, Ren displayed superior skill and versatility towards Rey by single-handedly repelling 4 guards and killing them all, only being beaten upon being caught off guard by his last foe, who he still killed with aid from Rey. In that fight, Ren displayed notable proficiency in Jar'Kai, effectively making use of a dead guard's Vibro-Vaulge alongside his lightsaber to easily repel while simultaneously attacking and eventually killing his opponent quickly.

Ren also is outstandingly durable and resilient, as he was able to survive a powerful blast from Chewbecca's blaster from long-range and although he was severely injured, he only briefly doubled over in pain and was able to continue fighting effectively. However, the pain was also one of the reasons that caused him to lose to Rey after a long fight.

Despite all of this, however, Ren ultimately still remained outclassed by Luke Skywalker, who was far more experienced than Rey ever could as of now, as Ren's ferocious offense were easily seen through and avoided by his uncle's projection flawlessly without even needing to use his lightsaber.

During his duel with Rey at the ruins of the second Death Star, Kylo shows a great skill in combat, remaining controlled and calm throughout the battle. He finally overpowers Rey during this fight, bringing an exhausted Rey to her knees, but he ultimately loses the duel and is gravely injured by Rey because he becomes distracted upon sensing his mother's death.

Genius-Level Intellect

Kylo is amazingly intelligent. He was the best student at Luke's Jedi academy, and because he is very gifted, he was able to surpass the other apprentices in the various areas of the Jedi training. Voe attempted to beat him in lightsaber combat, meditation, and other Jedi techniques, but she never succeeded. He was a dedicated Jedi apprentice and used to practice calligraphy, the art of fancy handwriting that was abandoned long ago by the people of that time, in order to record his observations of the lessons.

His outstanding performance as a Force-user is also probably due to him being able to quickly learn new Force powers. He is able to use the mind probe after just hearing from Snoke that the technique is a variation of the mind trick, and despite never being taught how to use it, Ben successfully extracts information from one miner in his first attempt during a mission with the Knights of Ren.

As a warlord, later the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo is a highly skilled tactician and a very capable leader. He often leads attacks on the Resistance on his own to victory and was even clever enough to outsmart Snoke, using his master's arrogance to mask his desire to kill his "true enemy", who was actually Snoke instead of Rey, before killing him at the right moment.

Master Pilot

Having been born to a family filled with expert pilots, Ben Solo is himself a highly skilled combat pilot and is able to pilot a variety of spaceships. While Kylo Ren is in the First Order, he pilots a TIE silencer, an advanced prototype starfighter, and later a TIE whisper, a modified interceptor. He is also seen piloting a starship, the Grimtaash, when he flees the Jedi academy, and he uses an old TIE scout to travel from the ruins of the second Death Star to Exegol.

His piloting abilities are shown to be superior when he is running away from the three students that survived the Jedi Temple destruction, as he makes an attack run in which his fellow apprentices soon realize they won't be able to evade. This makes his friend Tai compare Ben's piloting skills to his father's, who Tai recalls to be one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy, and his uncle's, who blew the Death Star. While piloting, Ben also shows the precise aim to take out only their main engines in one single shot without destroying their spaceship, in which Tai points out that they would be dead if Ben was even the tiniest a bit off.

Kylo also shows his great piloting proficiency while he single-handedly led his personal squadron of First Order TIE fighters to attack the Resistance fleet, demonstrating superior skills than the other TIE pilots. He was able to evade the Raddus' defenses and destroy the vessel's starfighter hangar, owing to his own talents as a pilot.

Weapons and Equipment

Lightsaber

Kylo's valued weapon and possession is his red-bladed lightsaber.

  • Crossguard lightsaber: Kylo had built a red-bladed crossguard lightsaber from his old Jedi lightsaber. After becoming a Knight of Ren, he removed the kyber crystal of the blade and then inserted his feelings of rage and pain into it, making the crystal "bleed" and become red. Kylo's lightsaber was crudely built off an ancient design dating back to an event known as the Scourge of Malachor and operated using a cracked kyber crystal. It thus has an unstable blade, necessitating the use of exhaust ports to channel and vent the weapon's excess energy so that it would not overload. The excess energy served as the lightsaber's quillons (crossguards). The weapon's blades also crackled and arced like electricity and funneled like fire, giving the weapon a ragged, menacing appearance and a deep, growling hum.

Relationships

Han Solo

Han Solo. I've been waiting for this day a long time.
~ Kylo Ren reuniting with Han Solo.

Kylo apparently had a poor relationship with his father as Ben. He believes that his father would just disappoint anyone he tried to be a parent to, as shown by how he coldly and bitterly told Rey Han would only disappoint her. He later rejected Han's attempts to bring him back to the light and brutally murdered him; however, he proved he truly still loved Han and showed clear hesitance and was visibly remorseful of having killed his father, stunning him to the point of being open to being shot by Chewbacca as he somberly looked at his father's corpse falling to the deep void. Han's death haunted Ren enough that Snoke saw right through it and it allowed Rey to overpower him. He also told Rey in one of their force interactions that he did not hate Han, and the reason he killed him was to break with his past, as it was the only way to become what he was meant to be.

Later, Kylo sees Han in a vision of his own memory. The Han of his memory makes it clear that he understands why Kylo did what he did and forgives him. This, along with his guilt, leads to Ren finally redeeming himself; even giving up his life to save Rey's.

Leia Organa

Not much is known about his relationship with his mother; however, Ben likely had a loving relationship with Leia. Prior to his fall to the dark side, when he started to struggle with the dark side of the Force, Leia was terrified that her son might end up like his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker and so sent him to study under the tutelage of her brother Luke.

Unfortunately, instead of preventing it, Luke caused Ben's fall to the dark side, as Snoke and Palpatine preyed on Ben's internal conflict. Ben, upon conversion to the dark side, became known as Kylo Ren. Leia was heartbroken that her son had become evil and mourned his fate bitterly. Yet, despite all of he atrocities that Kylo had committed over the years, Leia still believes that Ben can come back to the light and be redeemed. After realizing there's no longer any good in him when she senses him killing Han, she had no choice but to declare her own son an enemy.

Even despite all he had become and despite Ben believing Leia abandoned him by sending him to Luke, Kylo Ren proved he still loved Leia and as he had a better relationship with his mother than he had with his father, he cared for her more evidently, as shown when while leading a TIE fighter attack on the MC85 Star Cruiser Raddus, unlike when he eventually killed Han, upon sensing his mother's presence, he couldn't bring himself to even consider hitting the trigger anymore and chose to spare her but much to his sadness, to the point of tears, his wingmen did so and he was left unable to do anything to help his mother. Despite this, Kylo considers his mother an enemy for her failure to raise him, even after killing Snoke and taking over the First Order.

It is unknown what Leia thinks about her son after he murdered her husband. On one hand, she could still feel that he can redeem himself. However, it is also possible that she resents him and wants him to face justice for everything he has done. Though as a mother, she still loves Ben and sees him as her child. The latter proves true when, she sacrifies herself to reach him and turn him to the light, proving that she believed in him until the end.

Luke Skywalker

The Resistance is dead. The war is over, and when I kill you, I will have killed the last Jedi.
~ Kylo Ren facing his uncle.

When Ben started to struggle with the dark side of the Force, he was to sent to study under his uncle Luke's tutelage at the request of his mother Leia in the hope of preventing him from ending up like his maternal grandfather Anakin Skywalker. Luke taught Ben the ways of the light side of the Force and lightsaber combat. It's assumed they had a good relationship.

Unfortunately, Luke made a disastrous mistake by attempting to kill Ben because he had sensed the latter's connection being stronger to the dark side. This made Ben lose any respect for his uncle and he left to meet Snoke, the only one he thought he could trust, becoming his apprentice and later renaming himself Kylo Ren after becoming the master of the Knights of Ren.

Luke was able to survive the night Ben turned to the dark side, but Ben was not initially aware of this as he didn't bother to check if Luke survived the collapse of the hut. Ben's fall to the dark side left his uncle despondent, as he blamed himself for his turn, deeply grieved and racked with guilt. But despite him hating himself for what he had done, Luke became ashamed of his nephew for his actions after Ben turned to the dark side, became Kylo Ren and went on to terrorize the galaxy as a leader of the First Order. Meanwhile, Luke mysteriously disappeared on a quest to seek out the First Jedi Temple. Kylo, under Snoke's orders, was instructed to find and kill Luke. Snoke knows that, as long as Luke is alive, a new generation of Jedi Knights can rise once again.

Also, in contrary to what he believed of Vader, Luke believes that Kylo can't be brought back into the light because of the latter's conflicted nature, even after learning that Kylo has killed both Han and Snoke in cold blood. Both Kylo and Luke despised each other, with Kylo despising Luke for initially trying to kill him, and not believing in "order", and Luke despising Kylo for destroying the New Jedi Order. Kylo hence warned Rey that Luke may very well turn on her as she is about as powerful as he is ominously and was clearly bitter when referring to his uncle's attempt to kill him. When they met, Kylo was antagonistic towards him and showed his great desire to kill his uncle, though Luke surprisingly showed some remorse for failing him. Although Luke was not truly there and was merely projecting himself through the Force, Kylo proved incapable of defeating the Projection, who merely toyed with him and dodged all of his attacks without being even touched by Ren. Luke's last words to Ren is that the war has just began and that his death would not mean the end of the Jedi, and that he would be seeing him around, infuriating the young Supreme Leader as he noticed he was tricked by his uncle.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader

Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.
~ Kylo Ren to the mask of Darth Vader.

Anakin died before Ben was born. However, Ben come to greatly admire and revere his maternal grandfather's power, but, also came to fear that he may never be as powerful as the Chosen One. He admired and revered more of his maternal grandfather's dark aspects, than his light aspects, believing that his grandfather's love and sentimentality for his family were weaknesses.

Like his maternal grandfather before him, Ben fell to the dark side of the Force, becoming known as Kylo Ren. Kylo has seemingly become far worse than his grandfather; although Vader was brutal and ruthless, he did genuinely care about his family, ultimately leading to his redemption. Kylo, on the other hand, despite also caring about his family, is initially willing to kill them to keep feelings such as love and compassion from making him feel weak and pull him back to the light side of the Force. Although, this later completely backfires, as Han's demise causes the aggravation of Kylo's internal conflict and vunerability.

After Snoke told Kylo that he's a pathetic imitation of Vader, Kylo decided to stop mimicking Darth Vader and be more himself. Even after killing Snoke, Kylo revealed that he intends to erase everything in the past (the Jedi, and the Sith, the Empire and the Republic, Luke and Snoke) to build a legacy far more different than everything earlier. This may imply that he's rejecting his grandfather's Jedi and Sith legacy for a far more different approach of ruling the galaxy for himself.

Supreme Leader Snoke

No. The Supreme Leader is wise.
~ Kylo Ren speaking of his master.

Snoke met Ben by unknown means, and was deeply interested in him due to his embodiment as a focal point of both light and darkness (which was unusual for a Knight of Ren or any dark side master to be attracted to). He eventually turned him to the dark side, and anointed him with the name of Kylo Ren, who serves him loyally, believing that the Supreme Leader was wise and right to overthrow the New Republic.

Ren was unaware (or in denial) that Snoke does not truly care about him, as he is only using Ren for his power. Even when Han tries to point that out and stating that Snoke will just get rid of Ren when he gets what he wants, Ren angrily refuses to believe this and instead kills Han for it. However, after Han died and Snoke berated Ren, proving what Han claimed, Ren was angered but still at first sought his master's approval, unaware that Snoke had just been motivating him.

His bond with Rey eventually made him decide to overthrow him to save her, and this reached a breaking point when Snoke confessed that he used the mental connection between Rey and Kylo to lead him to Luke. Snoke then tried to goad Kylo into killing Rey by insulting and humiliating him, which finally made Kylo realize that Han was right about Snoke. Filled with hatred against his own master for using him, an enraged Kylo kills Snoke by slicing him in half with Luke's lightsaber and briefly joining forces with Rey killing Snoke's Praetorian Guards before taking over as the new Supreme Leader.

Armitage Hux

Kylo and Hux have a rivalry with each other. They both seek favoritism from Snoke and they usually argue with each other for problems that go with The First Order and the plans to destroy the New Republic and the Resistance as shown when Kylo blames Hux for Finn's betrayal by seeing Hux making a mistake with his men being programmed to follow orders directly and Hux blaming Kylo in front of Snoke for losing the map to Skywalker by capturing Rey instead of BB-8 due to Rey seeing the map. However, despite their differences, they work well together with The First Order's operations and Hux did end up saving Kylo under Snoke's orders.

After discovering that Supreme Leader Snoke is dead and Kylo Ren lying unconscious in the throne room, Hux contemplates shooting Ren, but abandoned this idea after Kylo regained consciousness. Kylo then lies to Hux that Rey killed Snoke, and announced that he is taking over as the new Supreme Leader. Hux strongly objects at the idea of taking orders from Kylo, but is forced into compliance after being Force-choked by an angry Kylo. This mistreatment coupled with Hux thinking that Ben is a terrible leader, results in him becoming a mole out of spite for the Resistance.

Rey

Join me. Please...
~ Kylo begs Rey to join him.

Kylo and Rey have been enemies ever since Rey located and purchased BB-8. Kylo is convinced of her power, believing even she does not know it. He very much longs to turn her to the dark side and train her, but this ultimately backfires for the time being. Rey's hatred of him increased after he killed Han Solo, and she tried to kill him with Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, unaware that Kylo is in fact Anakin's grandson, and the weapon does rightfully belong to him. During their battle, Kylo noticeably holds back because he does not want to kill her but train her instead; this costs him the fight as Rey allows the Force to truly flow through her for the first time and overpowers him, even disfiguring his face with a slash.

However, they found out that they have a Force-bond connection, making them able to communicate, see, and touch each other through the Force. She soon learns that Kylo has succumbed to the dark side not only due to Snoke's corruption, but also Luke's attempted murder after sensing the darkness within Kylo, something which a remorseful Luke admitted to.

Kylo even learned that Rey was abandoned by her parents for money and revealed this to her after he killed Snoke. Realizing now that Kylo's fall to the dark side wasn't entirely his fault, Rey decided that there may be some good in Kylo and tries to convince him to join back the light after killing Snoke and his guards. But Kylo refuses as he wanted to create a legacy far away from that of Luke's and Snoke's. Kylo even tried to convince Rey to join him in his pursuit, but she refuses and instead escapes with the Resistance, much to Kylo's anger and disappointment. He even puts the blame of Snoke's murder on Rey to cement his new role as Supreme Leader.

When fighting a Force projection of Luke, he vows to destroy Rey and the Resistance, however when he later storms the abandoned shelter, the connection between himself and Rey mysteriously re-opens and he is distressed at Rey closing herself off from him with a look of disappointment. During their final battle, Rey "kills Kylo Ren" soon after Leia's death but saves him using Force healing. After seeing a memory of his father, Kylo redeems himself, becoming Ben Solo again, and goes to help Rey that went to confront Palpatine alone. After Darth Sidious's death, Ben sacrifices himself to revive Rey. Before his death, they share a passionate kiss, meaning that they were in love after all.

Finn

TRAITOR!
~ Kylo Ren to Finn.

Kylo Ren has been suspicious of Finn ever since the massacre on Jakku. He could sense his fear and hesitation. Later he figured out that Finn was the stormtrooper who saved the captured Poe Dameron. They become even more enemies when Kylo captured Rey and killed Han Solo, he became enraged when Finn used Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, when he stated that weapon belongs to him, Finn mocks Kylo (unaware that he is in fact Anakin's grandson, and the lightsaber does rightfully belong to him) telling him to come and get it, the two engaged (as Finn was trying to avenge Han's death) in a lightsaber duel, although he was able to hold his own reasonably well for a relatively short period of time and even managed to lightly wound Kylo's right shoulder. Ultimately, however, Finn was defeated by Kylo, partly due to his lack of Force-sensitivity, and mainly because of the latter's superior experience and skills in lightsaber combat, as Kylo disarmed him of Anakin's lightsaber and dealt him a severe wound to his back. The only reason he did so well was because of an injury Ren endured earlier and also the fact that he was emotionally unbalanced because of Han's death.

Poe Dameron

I had no idea that we had the best pilot in the Resistance on board.
~ Kylo Ren interrogating Poe Dameron.

Kylo and Poe became enemies when Kylo and The First Order capture him and Kylo forced Poe to reveal the location of the map of Skywalker in BB-8 by using the Force to make him reveal it.

Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious

My boy... I made Snoke. I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head!!
~ Darth Sidious reveals himself to Kylo Ren and explains Snoke's role.

After finding out that Darth Sidious was alive, Kylo Ren's first thoughts were about finding and killing the resurrected Dark Lord of the Sith, as he considered him a threat to his power as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order. Sidious, however, revealed that he had been pulling the strings from behind the scenes since the very beginning: The First Order (Kylo's new regime) was planned and secretly created by Sidious using Snoke as his satellite. Even Snoke himself was a creation and puppet of Sidious, making the latter responsible for Kylo's fall to the dark side. Nevertheless, even after offering Kylo Ren the Sith Eternal's fleet, the Final Order, Kylo was still determined to be the ultimate power in the galaxy (along with Rey) and planned to usurp Sidious to take control of the Sith fleet.

Killed Victims

  • Hennix (accidentally hit by a lightsaber that Ben deflected while he defended himself)
  • Voe (pierced with his lightsaber)
  • Ren (Knights of Ren) (pierced with his lightsaber)
  • King Kristoff (slashed with his lightsaber)
  • Unidentified Zillo Beast (Benathy) (slashed with his lightsaber)
  • Lor San Tekka (slashed with his lightsaber)
  • Han Solo (pierced with his lightsaber)
  • Stomeroni Starck (killed in an explosion)
  • Tallissan Lintra (killed in an explosion)
  • Supreme Leader Snoke (slashed in half with Anakin's lightsaber when he controlled it with the Force)
  • Four Elite Praetorian Guards
  • Agent Tierny (Force choked)
  • Boolio (decapitated with his lightsaber)
  • General Domaric Quinn (Force choked)
  • The Knights of Ren

Reception

Both the character of Kylo Ren and Driver's performance have been positively received. Many complimented Ren's conflicted nature and depth, as well as his costume design, and noted there were many places the character could be taken in future installments. Terri Schwartz of IGN also called Driver's performance "spectacular", noting that "his performance adds great depth to a character who could have come off as one-dimensional, and the implications of his arc leave a viewer with plenty to think about after they leave the theater".

Collin wrote, "To describe Kylo Ren as this film's Vader would be accurate in a sense ... But it would also be to undersell the deep ingenuity with which this astonishing character has been crafted by Abrams, Kasdan and Arndt, and also the wells of emotional tumult Driver invests in him." Comparing the character to the one-note Vader of the 1977 film, Leon calls Ren "a living battleground between darkness and light, making him a far more resonant and familiar portrayal of that struggle than we've ever seen in Star Wars ... makes him a far more interesting villain."

Abrams told Entertainment Weekly, "It was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter noted, "Ren is given a pronounced inferiority complex, a clever bad guy twist that could be taken to interesting places both in the writing and performance." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "The bald-faced attempt to clone Vader, one of the greatest in film history, is clankingly obvious, but Driver, masked and unmasked, gives him hypnotic and haunting contours."

Kyle Buchanan of Vulture.com was underwhelmed by the reveal of Driver under the mask. Leon, however, argued: But that face—that of a normal, vulnerable young man—is the most subversively terrifying thing about J. J. Abrams' reimagining of A New Hope. Rather than pure evil, Ren is something far more familiar: He is human. Just like the real-life young men with minds clouded by fear, hate, and anger who commit unspeakable acts in our world every day... all the visual cues that leave the character open to criticisms of not being "evil" enough—are all signs of Ren's struggle between the Dark Side and the Light.

Driver won a 2016 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal.

Quotes

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren

No. NO! I never... I didn't want this.
~ Ben Solo upon seeing Luke's Jedi Temple destroyed.
This is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. He is a legend!
~ Ben defending his uncle Luke after Ren insulted him during a flashback.
Obi-Wan Kenobi... Big famous Jedi. Everyone thinks I'm supposed be him. I never even met him. And Solo... Did you know that's not even his real name? He's a lie. Everything is a lie.
~ Ben telling Snoke why he hates his birthname.
Through the entire time together as students, Voe tried to measure up to me. Lightsabers, meditation, any of the Jedi techniques... She tried to beat me. She couldn't. That was her whole problem. She couldn't just be herself. I think that made her angry, and that made her ashamed. Jedi aren't supposed to get mad about things.
~ Ben about Voe always trying to beat him at Luke's Jedi academy.
Choice? I have no choice and I never did. Even my name isn't a choice. The dark side and the light both claimed me from the moment I was born. Do you know how that feels?
~ Ben while confronting his friend Tai.
Whether it's Luke Skywalker or Snoke, neither one see me as a person. I'm just a... legacy. Just a set of expectations.
~ Ben to Tai about Luke and Snoke.
I am the shadow.
~ Ben to Ren.
Other people think I'm special. I don't. But that is good. Means I can do anything I want.
~ Ben while confronting Ren just before killing him.
I should have realized what you were asking me to do much earlier, Ren. You were so clear. Here's your good death.
~ Ben murdering Ren to avenge Tai's death.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I'll show you the dark side.
~ Kylo Ren to Lor San Tekka.
Forgive me. I feel it again... The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again, the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.
~ Ren to the charred mask helmet of his grandfather.
Forget the droid. We have what we need.
~ Kylo giving up on searching BB-8 after encountering Rey on Takodana.
She's strong with the Force! Untrained, but stronger than she knows.
~ Kylo Ren about Rey's Force sensitivity.
I've been torn apart... I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?
~ Kylo Ren to Han Solo at Starkiller Base.
You need a teacher! I could show you the ways of the Force!
~ Kylo Ren to Rey during their duel at Starkiller Base.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I've given everything I have to you... to the dark side...
~ Kylo Ren to Snoke.
Can you see my surroundings? I can't see yours. Just you...
~ Kylo to Rey during the first Force-bond connection.
He had sensed my power, as he senses yours, and he feared it.
~ Kylo telling Rey that his uncle, Luke Skywalker, had tried to kill him during his sleep.
Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. It is the only way to become what you're meant to be.
~ Kylo Ren telling Rey to let go of the past during a Force-bond connection.
You're not alone.
~ Kylo comforting Rey through their Force-bond.
I saw something too. Because of what I saw, I know when the moment comes, you'll be the one to turn. You'll stand with me... Rey, I saw who your parents are.
~ Kylo trying to convince Rey that she will eventually turn to the dark side after she said she saw a vision of him turning to the light.
I know what I have to do.
~ Kylo Ren to Rey just before killing Snoke.
It's time to let old things die. Snoke, Skywalker. The Sith, the Jedi, the Rebels… Let it all die. Rey, I want you to join me. We can rule together and bring a new order to the galaxy.
~ Kylo asking Rey to take his hand and rule the galaxy with him.
You come from nothing. You're nothing, but not to me. Join me. Please...
~ Kylo admitting that Rey is important to him and begging her to join him.
I want every gun we have to fire on that man.
~ Kylo after the appearance of Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Crait.
Did you come back to say you forgive me? To save my soul?
~ Kylo confronting Luke during the Battle of Crait.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I killed Snoke, I'll kill you.
~ Kylo Ren threatening Darth Sidious.
I offered you my hand once. You wanted to take it... Why didn't you?
~ Kylo asking Rey why she rejected him at the throne room of the Supremacy.
My mother was the daughter of Vader. Your father was the son of the Emperor. What Palpatine doesn't know is we're a dyad in the Force, Rey. Two that are one.
~ Kylo telling Rey the true nature of their Force connection.
We'll kill him. Together. And take the throne. You know what you need to do. You know.
~ Kylo asks Rey to join him to defeat Sidious and take the Throne of the Sith together.
Dad...
~ Ben Solo to the memory of Han Solo just before throwing his crossguard lightsaber into the ocean.
I'll always be with you.
~ Ben Solo's last words to Rey in the novelization.

Trivia

  • Seth Rogen, Chris Pratt, Jon Hamm, Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, Jason Bateman, Will Forte, Jason Lee, Justin Long, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, and Jack Black were considered to portray Kylo Ren before Adam Driver was cast.
  • It is possible that in order to complete his training of whatever Snoke wants him to be, Kylo Ren had to hunt down and kill Luke Skywalker.
    • While this could be possible, he seems to have failed since Luke became one with the Force in peace.
  • Even though Supreme Leader Snoke is the founder of the First Order and the one who seduced Kylo to the dark side, Kylo is assumed to be the main antagonist of the sequel trilogy as a whole because he is the immediate threat that Rey had to face, besides the fact that he was even able to get rid of Snoke and take his place as the new Supreme Leader. However, Emperor Palpatine was revealed to be the creator of Snoke and the First Order, that he was manipulating Kylo the entire time; thus, Palpatine is the true main antagonist of the sequel trilogy.
  • Kylo shares a number of similarities with the Legends character Darth Caedus, in that both were sons of Han and Leia Solo, and both were trained as Jedi before falling to the dark side.
  • Prior to the release of The Force Awakens, many fans questioned if Kylo Ren and Darth Vader were related due to their similarities, which turned out to be true.
  • In the movie novelization of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is revealed to believe that the reason the Galactic Empire lost to the Rebellion was not because of poor strategy or arrogance, but because of sentiment, and that Darth Vader and Luke's compassion for each other were what caused the Empire to collapse.
    • Also in the novelization, Snoke is also revealed to have chosen Kylo Ren as his apprentice because the former believes the latter to be a focal point in the Force; a perfect blending of light and dark due to his heritage as Darth Vader's grandson.
  • A scene in The Last Jedi that caused some controversy was that during Kylo Ren and Rey's Force-bond, Rey sees a shirtless Kylo Ren. This scene, despite being somewhat gratuitous in nature, was established by director Rian Johnson as Rey being able to see Kylo Ren entirely wherever he was and during whatever he was doing when they are bonded through the Force, not just seeing his eyes or hearing his voice. The director also explains that his intent was to show the progressive increase of intimacy between the two characters.
  • While Kylo Ren ultimately redeemed himself in The Rise of Skywalker, he was not going to be redeemed in Colin Trevorrow's version of Episode IX, entitled Duel of the Fates. The script written by Trevorrow, the original director of the film, had Kylo Ren rejecting any chance of redemption and ultimately dying at the hands of Rey and the Force ghosts of Luke, Obi-Wan and Yoda. Furthermore, Kylo Ren would have been revealed to have killed Rey's parents under Snoke's orders, as Emperor Palpatine didn't come back from the dead.
  • According to Adam Driver, Kylo Ren's character arc is the opposite to that of Darth Vader, as Vader starts as a confident Sith Lord that only shows his insecurities towards the end, while Kylo is an insecure dark warrior that becomes much more confident with his position as the Supreme Leader during The Rise of Skywalker.
    • Besides this, another difference is that while they both ultimately redeem themselves, Anakin Skywalker fails to save Padmé Amidala, the woman whom he loves, but Ben Solo is able to save Rey, the woman whom he loves, yet at the cost of his own life. This also makes him fulfill his word of "finish what Vader started", despite it happening in a different way than he initially intended.
  • Kylo Ren was originally going to be one of the many characters in Ralph Breaks the Internet, but was cut when Lucasfilm took offense at how the movie depicted him as a "spoiled child".
  • From all the main villains of the sequel trilogy, Kylo Ren is so far the only one who interacted with the three protagonists, who are Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron. However, he only interacted with Dameron and Finn in The Force Awakens, yet saw them from afar in The Rise of Skywalker.

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See Also
Star Wars Legends Villains | Star Wars The Old Republic Villains

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