The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

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Last week, an article was released on Retro Zap called “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” Finding it rather interesting, I posted it to my various social media sites encouraging my followers to read it. One of my favorite Twitter friends had a response and this is it:

THERE ARE SPOILERS!! Of course there are spoilers. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet and have come to my blog, then you’re sorta asking to be spoiled, aren’t you now? 

Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

by Michael Burgett

“By now, most everyone has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens numerous times (I say most everyone because it’s still behind Avatar & Titanic in worldwide box office). And there have been a wide range of articles written about the movie and every nuance that could be found within it.  One that was interesting, brought to my attention by my friend Liz, was an article entitled “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?

The article itself doesn’t necessarily answer the question, although it does tell what Ben can possibly do to overcome what has happened.  But the question still hangs there….is Kylo Ren redeemable?

Granted, we are asking this question and are only one film into this trilogy of Star Wars films.  We do not know the journey that took Ben Solo to Kylo Ren.  We do not know the journey that will take place in the next two films.  What we do know is the actions that Kylo took in The Force Awakens.  He killed his own father, Han Solo.  For many, that may seem to be the unredeemable offense.

But let’s imagine we’re back in 1980.  We have just walked out of the movie theater after watching The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.  We have watched Darth Vader and all the evil things he had done.  We will have had two films to base our opinion of him.  If someone came up to you and asked “Is Darth Vader redeemable?” what would our response have been?  I would guess that most would respond with a resounding no.  He was portrayed as one of the ultimate villains.  He is “THE bad guy” when you think of bad guys.

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However, as we came to find out in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader was redeemable.  He found redemption and became Anakin Skywalker again.  It was not without doubt.  Most everyone even in the Star Wars universe thought that it wasn’t possible.  It was not without sacrifice.  Vader had to sacrifice his life to save his son from Emperor Palpatine.  But it did happen and that redemption changed the course of history in the Star Wars universe.

We saw one act of deplorability from Kylo Ren.  Granted it was a pretty deplorable act that he did.  But if you compare him to Vader (and in many ways that’s what he himself is trying to do), he is no less redeemable.  By the time we get to Return of the Jedi, Vader had committed numerous deplorable acts to both people he loved and people he didn’t know.

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So I would say that yes, Kylo Ren is redeemable.  Deep down, we all like and root for a redemption story because it gives us hope.  Hope for a brighter future.  Hope for change.  If Darth Vader can change, if Kylo Ren can change, then maybe anyone can change.

The question then becomes “Will Kylo Ren be redeemed?”  That is the tougher question to answer.  It is one thing to say if someone is redeemable, it’s another to say whether they will or not.  One may be given all the opportunities in the world to be redeemed and not take them.  For all we know the scene with Kylo and his father may be the last time or it may just be the first time there is the opportunity for redemption.

We will have to wait and see how things transpire in the next two films.  Kylo Ren stands at the same crossroads with the same opportunity to respond to redemption as his grandfather did.  He will have that same choice to make.  And we will be on the edge of our seats to see how he responds.”

 

Michael Burgett is a nerd in a different city. He has a blog called “There and Back Again” and is a part of a podcast called “Reactor Radio.” Go check out all the things Michael is up to and follow him on Twitter at @MichaelBurgett

Reader, what do you think? Is Kylo redeemable at all? Or is it just a matter of time till he is redeemed?

I will be posting my thoughts on this matter tomorrow. Stay tuned…