Out of the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens, the tortured villain Kylo Ren is one of the most exciting. Today we’ll lay out what we know about this Darth-Vader loving character—his life may be mostly mystery, but there are some things we know.
Kylo Ren was born Ben Solo, son of Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo, leaders and heroes of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Han and Leia had a difficult relationship, as their personalities clashed: Han, a smuggler, felt strange staying in one place, and Leia became a senator in the new government. Feeling his parents had abandoned him, an individual name Snoke recognized Ben’s potential. Snoke saw Ben as a focal point, and attempted to sway him to the dark side. Leia discovered Snoke’s plan, and sent Ben to train with his Uncle Luke Skywalker.
Though the details are not known, Ben eventually betrayed his uncle, leaving the new Jedi temple in ashes. He began training until Supreme Leader Snoke and become one of the knights of Ren, taking the name Kylo Ren and putting his old life behind him. Wearing armor and a mask and known as “Jedi Killer” in the First Order, Kylo Ren idolized Darth Vader and kept his burned helmet at a shrine, believing, as Snoke did, Darth vader was who Anakin Skywalker truly was.
Kylo Ren built his own lightsaber, using an ancient and crude design. Using a cracked kyber crystal, which could barely withstand the power the weapon generated. As a result, the weapon needed dual vents on either side, as well as making the blade possess an unstable and flickering appearance. Kylo Ren, as Snoke’s apprentice, had the capacity to command military forces, though technically existed outside the military hierarchy. This caused no small amount of tension in the First Order, though it was based off of the agreement between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren both know if Skywalker were to reappear, it would be dangerous for the First Order. He commences his search for his old master, leading to the events of Episode VII.
The embodiment of conflict, Kylo Ren’s legacy was some of the most powerful Jedi in decades. He loved the power the Dark Side brought him, and feared the Light Side. He knew he had to avoid Vader’s sentimentality, though his inner conflicts continued, as we can see in The Force Awakens. He combined Jedi techniques with Sith lore, resulting in a contradictory warrior who was often angry, and used his temper as a weapon. Kylo Ren may have been conflicted, but had no fear in battle, and was very sure of his abilities.
Behind the scenes, Kylo Ren shares similar aspects with Jacen Solo, the son of Han and Leia from the Expanded Universe, and has a similar name to Kybo Ren, a space pirate from the animated series Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Actor Adam Driver was able to better feel the character’s anger because of the time and effort required to get into costume, described as a “cumbersome and difficult” process. An early version of Kylo Ren’s design was used in The Force Awakens for the Guavian Death Gang, one of the criminals Han meets during the movie.
Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun fan information!