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The Untold Truth Of Kylo Ren

From the moment that Kylo Ren appeared on screen in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," it was obvious that he was trying to be the new Darth Vader. Yet while grandfather and grandson share several character traits, their paths to the dark side were quite different. The details of Anakin Skywalker's descent are covered thoroughly in the prequel trilogy, which show the murder of his first mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, the devastating loss of his mother, his feelings of betrayal by the Jedi Order, and the death of his lover, Padmé Amidala, which sent him completely over the edge. 

Far less of Ben Solo's transformation into Kylo Ren is depicted in the sequel films, but a good amount of backstory has been provided through comic books, novelizations, and other written material that better explain the motivations of this highly complex character that many fans see as a worthy successor to the legendary lord of the Sith. Here is some of the lesser-known lore behind the fallen warrior of the light known as the "Jedi Killer." 

Ben Solo was born the day the New Republic won the Galactic Civil War

The Empire wasn't entirely defeated after the Battle of Endor at the end of "Return of the Jedi," but the Rebels had won a great victory, and amongst the celebrations, Han Solo and General Leia Organa got married. It wasn't long before the couple was pregnant with their first child, and before Ben Solo was even born, Leia knew he'd be powerful with the Force. In the 2017 novel "Aftermath: Empire's End" by Chuck Wendig, Leia described her child by saying, "He is less a human-shaped thing and more a pulsing, living band of light. Light that sometimes dims, that sometimes is thrust through with a vein of darkness."

The following year, the remnants of the Imperial Navy were finally crushed at the Battle of Jakku, putting an end to the Galactic Civil War. On the same day the Empire surrendered, Ben was born at Chandrila, the capital world of the New Republic. 

The angry outbursts of young Ben Solo worried his parents

Often throughout his childhood, Ben Solo felt isolated and abandoned. His mother, Leia, was an important member of the recently established New Republic Senate, while his father, Han, remained the degenerate smuggler he'd always been, so neither spent as much time with their kid as they probably should have. But there was also more to the distance they put between themselves and their son than just having busy lives. 

In the novelization of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" by Jason Fry, Kylo Ren distinctly remembers overhearing the private conversations of his parents when they thought he wasn't listening. It sounded like they were describing him as a monster because of the anger and darkness they sensed within him. Their words deeply wounded Ben at the time, and his feelings of resentment only increased considerably after he was betrayed twice: first by his parents as they discarded him by handing him over to Luke Skywalker, and then when his uncle Luke turned against him.

As a Padawan, Ben Solo was a calligrapher

One of the most shocking revelations of "The Last Jedi" was that young Ben Solo's mentor, Luke Skywalker, sensed a great darkness in his apprentice, attacking him and causing the young man to flee from the ruins of the Jedi temple and turn to the dark side. This vital scene not only explains the motivation behind the path the character takes from then on, but it also gives a brief glimpse to a fascinating aspect of Kylo Ren's life.

The Jedi in general, both masters and apprentices, are never shown as luxurious individuals with many personal possessions — anything they own beyond their lightsaber and robes must be incredibly important. On Ben's nightstand that terrible night, writing utensils can be seen right next to his precious lightsaber. The tools are labeled as Ben Solo's calligraphy set by Pablo Hidalgo in his book, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi – The Visual Dictionary," and include pens, scrolls, and a lidded box that the young pupil must have treasured.

Ben Solo became Kylo Ren at 23 years old

By the time of the events of "The Force Awakens," Kylo Ren is 29 years old, having adopted his new, dark persona several years before. But while Supreme Leader Snoke began to corrupt the Jedi apprentice during his teenage years, Ben Solo didn't turn to the dark side until he was a young adult. According to "100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" by Dan Casey, Ben turned into Kylo the moment he destroyed the Jedi Temple, an act committed due to his feelings of betrayal at the hands of his mentor, Luke Skywalker.

The rise of the First Order, signified by the destruction of the Hosnian system by the First Order's Starkiller Base, became such a terrible and historic event that recorded galactic history began using the date of the "Starkiller Incident" as a starting point. Since the annihilation of the new Jedi Order Luke was trying to establish occurred six years before the Starkiller Incident (6 BSI), that would mean Ben was 23 years old when he became Kylo Ren.

The design of Kylo Ren's lightsaber is from the ancient Sith

Even though he used modern components when crafting his lightsaber, Kylo Ren went old school with its design. The extremely rare crossguard style dates back to the ancient Sith warriors who fought at the Great Scourge of Malachor 4,000 years in the past. This epic battle took place after Darth Tanis created a terrifying, gigantic kyber-based weapon, leading the Jedi Order to attack the Malachor Sith Temple that housed it.

However, Kylo Ren's decision to construct his plasma blade in the same fashion as these ancient warriors of the dark side was not just based on aesthetics — it had a practical purpose, as well. According to Pablo Hidalgo's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Visual Dictionary," the kyber crystal that powered Kylo's lightsaber was cracked, which made the plasma stream unstable, so it had to vent out of the sides to create the crossguard blades, or quillons.

Kylo Ren cleverly added shielding over the base of the vents to make sure he did not cut his own hands off when wielding the weapon, but the legendary Sith warriors of the past would not have been impressed with his amateur construction. Hidalgo also says of the lightsaber, "It's crude appearance suggests construction by an inexperienced hand."

Kylo Ren destroyed the Dark Side Cave at Dagobah

Decades after Jedi master Yoda trained Luke Skywalker on the swampy surface of Dagobah, Supreme Leader Snoke brought Kylo Ren to the planet as part of his own training in the dark side of the Force. In "Age of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke" #1, the apprentice is led to the same mysterious cave Luke entered, and is then ordered by Snoke to face whatever he encounters within.

Kylo is first approached by a vision of Luke who states that he does not want to fight, but the dark apprentice slays the apparition anyway. On the other hand, when visions of his parents, Han and Leia, appear before him, he can't bring himself to attack them. To hide this weakness from his master, Kylo destroys the revered cave. Snoke is pleased that his disciple can cause so much damage with the Force, but also complains that he can no longer train others at the crucial site that had existed for thousands of years. To that, Kylo responds bluntly, "You won't need other apprentices."

Kylo Ren would have tried to save his mother

Regardless of the anger and resentment that has been boiling inside Kylo Ren, he still loves his mother. So when the First Order fleet is chasing the Resistance ships in "The Last Jedi," the dark side warrior was extremely conflicted when he sensed Leia's presence on one of them. As seen in the film, Kylo almost makes the attack himself, but hesitates; one of his pilots ends up firing on the bridge and sending Leia flying into the vacuum of space. What's not shown, though, is the immediate regret Kylo feels for not preventing the strike.

The novelization of "The Last Jedi" explains what was going on in Kylo's mind at the moment: "If he had known, he could have stopped the torpedo — freezing it in space with a thought. But he had been surprised. Now he couldn't sense his mother — the shock had shattered his focus, leaving him breathing hard behind his fighter's control yoke."

Kylo Ren was never a Sith

Kylo Ren was a both a formidable dark side warrior and, after killing Snoke, the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, even using Sith alchemy to repair his fractured helmet. However, no matter how powerful he became, Kylo was never considered one of the Sith. Pablo Hidalgo explictly states in his book, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary," that Darth Vader and Darth Sidious were the last of the Sith lords.

Kylo was able to command the dark side marauders known as the Knights of Ren, but these men were only Force-sensitive — their leader's abilities far surpassed their own. Kylo also learned a significant amount about the dark side from Snoke, but even he was just a creation of Darth Sidious as revealed in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." It was not until Kylo encountered the resurrected Emperor Palpatine that he finally interacted with a Sith lord for the first time, and he never became one himself.

The Knights of Ren were defeated by Luke Skywalker

Years before Ben Solo would change his name and become their leader, the Knights of Ren confronted him and Luke Skywalker when Ben was still the Jedi master's Padowan. In "The Rise of Kylo Ren" #2, the pair travel with the explorer Lor San Tekka to seek artifacts at a Jedi outpost on Elphrona, where they are surrounded by the seven Knights, including their warlord chief, Ren.

Even though he's outnumbered, Luke battles them all by himself and easily overcomes the Knights through his superior use of the Force. A stalemate is then reached when Ren activates a self-destruct function on his lightsaber that will explode if the Jedi master attempts to disarm him. Ren also senses the darkness within Ben Solo and takes the opportunity to try to recruit the Padawan. Ben rejects the offer, yet even Ren knew then that it was only a matter a time before the young Jedi would make the shift to the other side.

Ben Solo replaced the old leader of the Knights of Ren

While under the command of Ren, the Knights of Ren acted the same as they had for hundreds of years, terrorizing the various settlements along the borders of the Unknown Regions. Although not as powerful as the Sith, the ancient clan used their Force powers to become deadly pirates. However, Snoke knew that they had greater potential under the leadership of someone far more powerful, so the Supreme Leader made sure that Ben would gain the loyalty of the brutal gang as he made the dark transformation into Kylo Ren.

Snoke did not make Kylo's ascension easy — he forced the new dark side warrior to endure a torturous trial, according to Pablo Hidalgo in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary." After emerging victorious, Kylo became the new chief of the band, forming them into his own version of the Imperial Inquisitors.

The mask wasn't just to emulate Darth Vader

As the mightiest warrior of the dark side, Kylo Ren had enormous shoes to fill, given that he inherited the position from the impressive Darth Vader. Once it's revealed that the Sith lord is Kylo's grandfather in "The Force Awakens," it becomes clear that Kylo is trying to take on a similarly imposing image as the dark side enforcer of the First Order. But Kylo Ren doesn't wear his mask just to be like Darth Vader.

When Star Wars News Net covered "The Last Jedi" exhibition at the New York Comic Con, a section about Kylo Ren's helmet revealed he also wore the iconic headgear because he wanted to hide his own identity. The description claimed that, "His helmet was crafted to mask his visage and voice, concealing his identity as he delves further into the power of the dark side of the Force."

Adam Driver was hesitant at first to take on the role

Before it was announced that Adam Driver would play Kylo Ren in "The Force Awakens," rumors claimed that both he and Joaquin Phoenix had been approached for the role of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," which eventually went to Jesse Eisenberg. While Phoenix supposedly turned the part down, Driver had an unknown conflict, which many have assumed to be "Star Wars."

However, Driver probably wasn't immediately on board for either role. He later told GQ, "I'm leery of big movies — a lot of them sacrifice character for spectacle. When they're bad, it pisses me off — you can just tell it's made by a bunch of executives somewhere." Driver was hesitant to join the "Star Wars" franchise, but the complexity of Kylo Ren won him over in the end. "I remember the initial conversations about having things 'skinned,' peeling away layers to evolve into other people, and the person Kylo's pretending to be on the outside is not who he is. He's a vulnerable kid who doesn't know where to put his energy, but when he puts his mask on, suddenly, he's playing a role. JJ [Abrams] had that idea initially and I think Rian [Johnson] took it to the next level."

Rian Johnson is responsible for moving the facial scar

Viewers who have seen both "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi" might have noticed a strange discrepancy between the two films concerning Kylo Ren's face. The epic lightsaber duel he fights with Rey at the end of the first movie concludes with her dealing him a brutal strike above his nose, which leaves a nasty scar. However, in "The Last Jedi," the position of the scar has oddly been changed to more closely resemble the battle wound on the face of his grandfather, Darth Vader.

A fan was quick to point out the continuity error and reached out to Rian Johnson on Twitter for an explanation. Shortly after, the director responded by saying he just didn't like the look of the original scar. "It was my decision to slightly adjust it, and that was my justification. It honestly looked goofy running straight up the bridge of his nose" (via IBT).

Kylo Ren claimed he was immune to the light

By the end of the latest "Star Wars" trilogy, it became apparent that Ben Solo was not quite as terrible as he first appeared to be in "The Force Awakens," and instead was a rather conflicted individual. But with that said, he sure did try to make himself appear remorselessly evil as much as possible once he became Kylo Ren.

In the novelization of the first film by Alan Dean Foster, a conversation between Snoke and his apprentice reveals that both were well aware of what had gone down between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine on the Death Star at the end of "Return of the Jedi." The Supreme Leader said Darth Vader made a grave error by allowing Luke Skywalker to live, to which Kylo Ren replied that he would not have made such a mistake. He also coldly added, "I am immune to the light. By the grace of your training, I will not be seduced."