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Who Is Kylo Ren's First Evil Master & Why Is He Called A 'Charming Darth Vader'?

Of all the characters introduced to the "Star Wars" universe via the sequel film trilogy, Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), is among the most fascinating. The son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), he trains as a Jedi throughout his youth, only to fall to the dark side and become a figurehead within the First Order. He also leads a band of mysterious marauders recognized throughout the galaxy as the Knights of Ren — a faction that long predates his birth and was once led by a man known simply as Ren.

During the waning days of the Galactic Civil War and into the New Republic Era, the Knights of Ren were led by Ren: a ruthless Force-sensitive man who made it his mission to expand the faction. Throughout his tenure as the Knights of Ren's leader, he became heavily scarred and deformed, but he didn't hide his scars. Rather, he wore them as badges of honor. This, coupled with his knowledge of the dark side and his natural charisma, prompted "Star Wars" media writer Charles Soule to dub him "a charming Darth Vader" (via StarWars.com).

Ren mentored the young Solo for a time until his apprentice fully embraced the dark side and took his life. With that, he adopted the name Kylo Ren and became the new leader of the Knights of Ren, having killed the man that not even his grandfather could.

Ren did battle with Vader on one occasion

Years before he'd take Ben Solo under his wing in hopes of indoctrinating him into the Knights of Ren, Ren actually clashed sabers with Darth Vader. It all went down in issue four of the "Star Wars: Crimson Reign" comic series, which follows the Knights as they work with Qi'ra — portrayed by Emilia Clarke in "Solo: A Star Wars Story" — to shake the Empire to its core. Their mission is not an easy one: they have to infiltrate Vader's fortress on the lava-spewing planet of Mustafar to retrieve an artifact known as the Screaming Key.

Not only is breaking into the private quarters of one of the most dangerous beings in the galaxy a tall order, but the fact that he was present to deal with the intruders himself only made the task even more perilous. Upon accessing Vader's vault and securing the key, the Dark Lord arrives and wastes no time throwing around the Knights of Ren. In a bold move, Ren commands his Knights to stand down, and he takes on Vader alone. One swipe of Vader's lightsaber across his chest later and Ren is sent running for the hills.

Little did Ren realize it then, but a member of the Skywalker family would indeed defeat him someday, and in doing so, assume leadership of his Knights to become a force to be reckoned with across the galaxy.