Post-Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it feels like Disney’s Sequel Trilogy is destined to go down in history as a missed opportunity. One of the biggest failures was that they never properly got under the skin of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, which feels like an oversight when you’re working with an actor as talented as Adam Driver.
Violating the rule of show don’t tell, we never really got to see his turn to the dark side that caused so much drama in the films. But now, courtesy of comic series The Rise of Kylo Ren, we do. The series bills itself as fleshing out the Knights of Ren, showing us more of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Order and how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren.
Issue 2 has just been released and it delves into Snoke’s seduction of Ben and his adoption of the name Kylo Ren. In a nutshell, Ben Solo was vulnerable to temptation as he felt crushed under the weight of expectations of his family lineage.
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After all, he’s named after Obi-Wan Kenobi, is the son of Rebellion heroes Han Solo and Leia Organa and the nephew of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (and, of course, also the grandson of Anakin Skywalker). Being expected to follow in their luminous footsteps is one hell of a burden, so when Snoke explains that embracing the dark side allows a person to fully realize themselves as an individual and to let the past go, the new figure of Kylo Ren is born.
It seems that the comic is making the argument that neither Han, Leia or Luke were able to let Ben Solo be his own person, with each of them expecting him to follow in their footsteps (or the footsteps of their own heroes). Snoke smartly realized that he could exploit this, manipulating him by offering him what seems like freedom to be his own man. However, as we see in the Star Wars movies, this freedom came at a terrible price.