WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens picks up around 30 years after Return of the Jedi, where fans find heroes like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa in very different places than when we last saw them. While the movie does its best to fill in three decades of galactic history, it had so much on its plate, that there are a number of questions left unanswered (hopefully to be explored in the coming sequels). One of the biggest mysteries of The Force Awakens is why Ben Solo – son of Han and Leia – turned to the Dark Side of the Force and became Kylo Ren.
Kylo will almost definitely be fleshed out further as the sequel trilogy progresses, and viewers will learn more about his motivations. As we await Lucasfilm to give Ben an official backstory, one Star Wars 7 fan has taken it upon himself to chronicle the hypothetical relationship between Ben and Han’s loyal pal Chewbacca.
Tumblr user tysonmurphy has drawn a comic strip titled “Ben,” detailing how the dynamic between the two characters may have changed as time went on, beginning with Ben’s birth to his fateful encounter with Han Solo on Starkiller base:
It’s a cute and touching comic that, while not Star Wars canon, will still resonate with moviegoers. It’s easy to picture a young Ben being great friends with Chewie, a variation of the old “boy and his dog” trope. The two obviously made a lot of fond memories together, as the Wookie is heartbroken when Ben leaves (presumably to follow Supreme Leader Snoke) and can’t bring himself to avenge Han’s death by killing Kylo Ren. The last few panels are certainly the most emotional, picturing Chewbacca as someone torn between murdering in pure rage while still having feelings for the person he watched grow up.
That conflict may be mutual. Throughout the film, Kylo says he feels the pull of the Light Side and tries desperately to consume himself in the darkness. He believed killing his father would guide him down that path, but the Force Awakens script claims that Ren was “weakened” and “horrified” by his actions. Snoke mentions at the end of the movie that he still has to complete Kylo’s training, so fans who enjoyed watching Driver’s emotionally complex portrayal in Episode VII should be in for a treat when they settle in for Episode VIII. Ben may want to become more powerful than his grandfather, but he also spent a lot of time with Han and Chewie.
The artist seems to be exploring the idea of Ben Solo’s redemption. In the panel after killing Han, Kylo appears to have a look of remorse on his face, as if he’s contemplating what he’s just done. Whether or not Kylo follows the footsteps of Darth Vader and returns to the Light remains to be seen, but for the time being, it’s apparent Chewbacca hopes Ben can come around, even after he ended Han’s life.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han SoloStar Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.