It’s probably understandable that Kylo Ren is not going to be a happy bunny when Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins. Not only did he lose a duel to someone who’d barely touched a lightsaber before (a real blow to his dark side credibility), but his actions were partly responsible for the First Order losing their prize weapon. And, y’know, he impaled his dad. Committing patricide would ruin anyone’s day, but Ren’s father was Han Solo aka the coolest guy in the universe! That’s gotta sting.
So, it’s no surprise that, according to Rian Johnson, Ren opens the film brooding on the past, with the director noting that “his external scar is probably as much an internal one,” with the character apparently undergoing intense psychological trauma. Given the nervousness with which Stormtroopers treated him before he went bananas and killed his dad, it’s safe to assume he’s not going to be the life of the First Order Christmas party.
His difficulty processing his actions gives credibility to the theory that this new trilogy will ultimately be about Ren’s redemption and return to the light side of the Force. The thinking goes that Luke and Rey will formulate a new approach to Jedi training and philosophy, with which they can successfully appeal to Ren and allow him to process the guilt, rage and shame that’s so clearly bubbling up inside him.
If this were true, it’d make a neat little inversion of Anakin’s life, with Ren starting his story as a villainous masked nightmare and ending it cleansed and optimistic about the future. But all this remains conjecture until we actually get to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hits cinemas December 15th.