Hello guys! Today, here's my thirty-fifth PE proposal, and it's about Ren, the main antagonist of the Marvel Comics Star Wars comic book series The Rise of Kylo Ren.
WHO IS HE / WHAT HAS HE DONE?
Ren is the master of the Knights of Ren, an enclave of masked warriors devoted to the Dark Side of the Force years after the Battle of Endor. Like his Knights, Ren follows the ideology of the Ren, his own lightsaber. In one occasion, he and his Knights met with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, his apprentice Ben Solo and Lor San Tekka on a Jedi outpost at the planet Elphrona. When facing Skywalker, Ren tries to defeat him with the help of his Knights, but Luke bests them as they just use the Dark Side as a hammer without proper training. In the end, Ren threatens to blow up the place, but Skyalker forces him to leave with his Knights, yet Ren leaves his helmet behind so the young Ben can contact him in the future if he decides to follow another path.
Years later, Ren tracks down the serial killers Karrst and Filin and they were being pursued by Sector Security. As Ren's Knights kill the law enforcement agency officers, Ren introduces himself to the villainous brothers and offers Karrst, who is Force-sensitive, to join his ranks if he kills his brother Filin. Of course, Filin ends up killing his brother to join Ren's Knights, but Ren kills him because he doesn't have the Force. Shortly afterwards, Ben Solo contacts Ren from Elphrona and asks him to meet. Ren offers Ben to meet at a Varnak cantina, as Supreme Leader Snoke has told him some things about Ben. Once they meet before the Knights can leave the cantina, Ben asks Ren to accept him within his ranks, as he has seemingly killed Luke Skywalker before his Jedi temple was destroyed, apparently due his fault. Ren tells Ben that to join them he must have caused "a good death". Thus, Ben tells him that he accidentally killed his former Jedi friend Hennix while trying to defend himself from him, Tai and Voe at Elphrona. Ren doesn't consider Hennix's death a "good death" because he didn't do it on purpose, but accepts him anyway.
Sometime later, Ren and his Knights, accompanied by Ben, go the Minemoon of Mimban to steal the Mindsplinter, a centuries old Mimbanese relic, so they can get paid for it. After failing to get the relic's location from a Mimbanese miner, Ren allows Ben to read his mind, leading his Knights to kill the miners to "release them" once Ben gets the location. However, Ren starts to feel that Ben shouldn't be one of them as he doesn't want to kill. At that moment, Voe and Tai arrive to the scene to fight the Knights and defeat Ben. While he initially engages in combat with Voe, Ren ends up leaving her fighting his Knights and finds Tai about to convince Ben to get back to the Light Side of the Force. Deeming Ben unfit of being with them, Ren kills Tai and tries to kill Ben for not being like Snoke told him he was. However, with the voices of Emperor Palpatine, Supreme Leader Snoke, Leia Organa and a young Rey accompanied by Unkar Plutt on his head, Ben ends up killing Ren and finally giving him his "good death". He then proceeds to kill Voe with the Ren and takes command of the Knights of Ren, thus becoming the Master of the Knights of Ren and the First Order's champion.
Like the rest of the Knights of Ren, Ren isn't a Sith nor is properly trained into the ways of the Force, but that doesn't mean he is better than them or other dark siders. As mentioned above, Ren follows the ideology of the Ren, which is his lightsaber, possibly an ideology of his own creation. According to it, Ren and the Knights can have a flexible code, living life the way they want, taking what the galaxy gives to them and consuming what the dark side sends to them without any further thinking or consideration, demonstrating how selfish Ren and his Knights really are, as they do whatever they want if if it's right or wrong, like stealing the Mindsplinter, an ancient Mimbanese relic which is really important for the Mimbaneses just because they will get paid for taking it. He is also quite arrogant and vain, as he believes himself and the Knights to be powerful and legendary despite their total failure to defeat Luke Skywalker and asks his Knights to give Ben Solo a fresh set of clothes once he accepts him within their ranks because they have a reputation to preserve, showing that Ren just cares for his image and fame. He also likes to hear things about potential recruits before approaching them, as he considered Ben Solo to join his Knights just because Snoke told him about the young Solo.
However, just because he believes his lifestyle can allow him to do whatever he wants or needs to survive and triumph, Ren likes to kill and cause destruction wherever he and his Knights go, either because they are bored or to recruit new members, not caring whether they are dangerous people like them or not. According to Ren himself, he is no one nor special, and that's why he can do everything he wants. This is shown when they come to recruit Karrst, a renowned serial killer alongside his brother Filin, killing all the Sector Security officers who were trying to arrest them and offering Karrst to join them if he killed his brother. When Filin kills Karrst because of this, Ren is shown to be sadistic to the point of congratulating him for his attitude but ends up killing him anyway because he isn't Force-sensitive. That said, Ren likes to tease his enemies if given the opportunity, like teasing Voe for never surpass Ben Solo's abilities. It's heavily implied that Ren and his Knights kill almost every person who comes into contact with them or who doesn't accept their ideology, as he says that those individuals who seek them end up regretting their decision very quickly. The junior novelization of the ninth film even states that when the redeemed Ben Solo killed the Knights of Ren on Exegol, his act of giving them quick death was merciful in comparison to the suffering they had brought to others.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Ren loves and enjoys killing. Even if his victims believe they're special or not and despite his lack of resources. For Ren, kill is the only solution for his problems even if there are other non-violent solutions. Indeed, to join the Knights of Ren under his supervision, one must have caused a "good death" to show their worth. For Ren, to cause a good death means that someone must kill another person close to him/her. When he offers Ben to join his Knights, Ren asks him first to tell him about his connections to Tai, Hennix and Voe and while he accepts Ben within the Knights' ranks, he dismisses Hennix's death as being a good one because Solo didn't have the intention to kill him, showing that he likes to kill people intentionally. If someone doesn't want to give him and his Knights what they want, Ren resolves to chop them down, as when he orders his Knights to kill the Mimbanese miners because they don't want to give him the Mindsplinter. When he realizes that Ben Solo doesn't like to kill people, Ren starts threatening him to cause his good death to remain with them or face the consequences. Ultimately, upon seeing Ben considering to leave him behind after Tai convinces him that it's not too late to redeem himself, Ren mercilessly snaps Tai's neck and proceeds to fight Ben to kill him for not being "one of them" and his reluctance to kill. The fight, however, ends up being Ren's last, as Solo tells him that very same things he told him about he can do everything he wants before stabbing him with his own blade.
Ren is also shown to lie to others to get what he wants. While he failed to get the location from the Mindsplinter from a Mimbanese miner, Ben Solo succeeded in getting it by reading his mind, but though Ren praised his intelligence he nonetheless had the Mimbanese miners killed by his Knights despite his previous promise to release them, to which Ren cruelly says that he did release them by killing them, showing his twisted point of view. Despite this, Ren is really a coward. When he fought against Skywalker, he boasted that Skywalker would be his first and only Jedi kill, but when he realized that Skywalker would defeat him and his Knights no matter what, Ren admitted defeat and escaped with his life. Thus, Ren just fights when he knows that he is on the winner's side but if not he will just run away, like when he takes advantage of the Mimbanese miners due their lack of fighting skills.
While a potential redeeming factor is that Ren seemingly cares for his Knights and that he acts friendly and charismatic towards others so they can join his ranks, it's obvious that Ren can be anything but redeemable. When facing Luke Skywalker, Ren activates the kill switch on his lightsaber to ensure that if Skywalker defeated him, his lightsaber would explode, taking Skywalker, Solo, Lor San Tekka, his own Knights and himself in an explosion, demonstrating that he just cares for his Knights because they serve them. And it can be easily deduced that he just feigns being nice towards potential recruits as long they join him or show their worth. After all, it was partly thanks to Ren and his ideology that Ben Solo ended up falling to the Dark Side of the Force and becoming Kylo Ren. A psychotic madman who just uses the Dark Side of the Force to do whatever he wants, Ren isn't capable of feeling remorse and chooses to kill and destroy anyone who gets on his way.
Taking all of this into account, I would say yes about considering Ren to be approved as PE.