So, coming away from the Force Awakens, I have to say that the character that stood out the most was Kylo Ren. Even though the other characters were quite interesting and funny, something about him really caught me. After thinking about it, I think that what I find interesting is his raw power, but yet his insecurity and torment. While, for the other characters such as Rey and Fin it may be a heroes journey, I think that for Kylo it is a full on struggle between the dark and the light. And for me, that is the very fabric of Star Wars. Below, I am going to explore some of the things I think are most interesting about this character.
The Skywalker Legacy:
The first thing that struck me about this character was his similarity to his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker. His petulance, his power, his focus on a cause greater than himself, his anger, his insecurity, and his loyalty all remind me of Anakin Skywalker. Not just the movies, but especially the CW TV series, are where I think most similarities are made. This I think is especially brought to light in his scene where he speaks with the charred helmet of Darth Vader. He expresses his loyalty to his grandfather’s legacy, and yet admits his weakness in measuring up. This sense of duty and loyalty that supersedes all else is very similar to Anakin. For Anakin, he was willing to betray the Jedi order for his loyalty to Palpatine, and he was willing to kill his surrogate father for his duty to the galaxy. In Kylo’s case, he was willing to destroy the new Jedi order for his loyalty to Snoke, and he was willing to kill his father for his duty to his grandfather’s legacy. There is also other, smaller similarities. For eaxample, he also the same disregard for army officers as Vader, as well as the fits of anger of Anakin. No matter how his character turns out. I believe that he is a true member of the Skywalker legacy.
It is no secret that Kylo Ren is an extremely conflicted and troubled character. One thing about him that a lot of people have disliked is his petulance. Whenever something doesn’t go his way, he responds by destroying things. This I think is a byproduct of his insecurity. When he is talking to the ruined helmet of Darth Vader he admits his weakness. He seems very hurt and confused when Rey gets inside his head, and then runs away to Snoke to complain. When he kills his father, he again admits his indecision and weakness. In the end he chooses his path, but even though he kills his father, I think he still loved him or at the very least was grateful to him. Overall he seems like a hurt and insecure person, whose way of coping is to lash out. This kind of character is something that we have seen in the real world as well. Many of the mass shootings that have been carried out recently, have at their center, people who are similar to Kylo Ren. Troubled kids whose heads have been filled with extreme ideas, and have a desire to lash out at everyone and everything around them. I think of all the characters of The Force Awakens, he is the most complicated, and therefore the most interesting.
The Call of the Light:
Finally, those words, “The Call of The Light”. This is very interesting to me. So far in Star wars we have seen much of the call of the dark side and its power, but not really the call of the light. I believe the only reference would be the vague “it’s too late for me”that Vader says, with some regret in his voice. This phrase “call of the light” though, is a fairly new concept to explore. However, it does make perfect sense. It is perfectly logical to assume that even “bad” people would experience regret from time to time, and have a desire to change. Other than Anakin however, we have not seen our villains behave this way. Palpatine, Grievous, maul, Dooku, etc. I am hoping that they will progress this theme and include it into the next few movies. It would be awesome in my opinion if we could see moments of light breakthrough Kylo throughout this new trilogy, even if in the end, he is not redeemed.
Overall, I think Kylo Ren is an extremely interesting character. With him they have so many opportunities to create a more complex villain in Star Wars. I especially like his similarities to Anakin skywalker, and also the continuation of this line. More than anything else, this helped tie both the prequels and the original trilogies with this movie. For me, Kylo signifies the struggle of star wars; the timeless struggle between good and evil.