Do we even need to tell you that there are SPOILERS in this story? Read with caution. As you are well aware, Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally made its way into theaters this weekend. And it's a bonafide cultural phenomenon. The sequel arrived with plenty of twists and surprises. But it has us asking just as many questions as it answers. There are still plenty of mysteries locked away in this franchise, which we hope get revealed in Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX, coming over the course of the next four years. At the center of some of this film's biggest mysteries is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. And the biggest question is, how did he get turned onto the Dark side of the Force as one of the Knights of Ren.
Kylo Ren is consumed by the Dark Side. And the Force runs strong in his family. But he started out as a good guy, like most Jedi who turn to the Sith. So what brought him over the edge to become the biggest presence felt on the Dark Side since Darth Vader died thirty years ago? Going into the movie, we knew from trailers and some of the press leading up to the premiere that Kylo Ren is obsessed with Anakin Skywalker's alter ego. He idolizes Darth, and often holds private sessions with the man's helmet. In the movie, he never touches on the fact that Luke Skywalker was able to save Anakin Skywalker and pull him back to the light side of the Force. With that being the case, why is Kylo such a fan? Speaking with IGN, director J.J. Abrams explains that Ren considers Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker two separate entities.
"Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker. He idolizes what Vader represents and what Vader was trying to do. And the idea that Vader didn't succeed, if you look at it from Ren's point of view, he was seduced by the enemy and failed because of that seduction. So the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing that Vader started."
It's not yet quite clear what Kylo Ren is looking to complete. Star Wars lore finds Vader hunting down and killing off the last few remaining Jedi. And he worked alongside the Imperial Army to enforce order in the galaxy. It seems that Kylo is more interested in wiping out the remaining Jedi, and that's one of the reasons he is so obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker (BIG SPOILER), who is his uncle, son of Han and Leia. It sounds like he attempted to kill Luke earlier on, and now he wants to finish the job. Either that, or bring his Uncle over to the Dark Side. As this new trilogy moves forward, we're likely to learn more about Kylo Ren's personal mission, and what motivates him.
Throughout the movie, Kylo Ren, whose birth name is Ben, struggles with crossing over to the light side of the force. We never fully come to understand why he gives himself completely over to the dark side. Supreme Leader Snoke is certainly playing a big role in Ben's path to becoming an agent of evil. J.J. Abrams adds some clarity to the issue, offering this answer as to why Ben turns evil.
"An incredible power, an incredible force, and incredible potential that was, like many young people, sort of misguided and unclear. And the story for him is one of conflict, not just internal conflict but external conflict. And it's what makes him a rather interesting villain."
Kylo Ren is a big part of what makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens work, and he's at the center of some of this movie's biggest spoilers and reveals. Fans are gravitating towards his dark presence, and some call him one of the best villains of the past three decades. Especially since he is so thick, and layered with internal conflict. Kylo Ren is very much a bad person, but there is good in him. And chances are, he'll be turned over to the light side. But will that come with a huge price to pay? Possibly his death? The stage is set for a fascinating character arc. Lets hope the next two movies carry through with the promise.