Star Wars made a big splash at D23 last week, flaunting a brief, but insightful, behind the scenes video for The Last Jedi. Fans will debate for hours on end over what the best piece of footage is (though the correct answer is Laura Dern), but aside from that, there’s not much to do between now and the release date other than to make wild speculations as to what Rian Johnson has in store for the Skywalker saga. Like this one: Will Kylo Ren Change Sides In The Last Jedi?
The Force-wielding agent of the Dark Side, played by Adam Driver, shows up for a couple beats in the behind the scenes featurette. One moment in the video shows Driver in training, sparring against what looks like two combatants. Another brief moment catches Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrays Rey, also in training. In this moment, Ridley fends off three opponents. There are many who expect Rey to square off against the Knights of Ren at some point, and it could be that those are the characters Ridley’s trainers are assuming the roles of. But is there any reason to suspect Kylo Ren will join Rey’s side in the battle? Why else would both of them need to fight off more than one enemy? Aren’t they usually just fighting each other?
As of now, there’s no concrete evidence alluding to which side of the Force Kylo Ren will ultimately land on. All that can be offered in support of this theory are hints at where The Last Jedi, as a whole, might go, as well as context clues from The Force Awakens. In the video alone, Ridley, John Boyega, and Mark Hamill testify Rian Johnson’s unexpected approach to the next Star Wars film. Driver himself admitted as much during an interview a while back. It wouldn’t get more unexpected if the main villain— a clear echo of Darth Vader —turned good, not in the final moments of this new trilogy, but instead in the second volume, deviating towards the light ahead of schedule.
The future is impossible to see, but past glances at The Force Awakens might suggest Kylo Ren’s position at the beginning of The Last Jedi. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren all but cemented his place on the Dark Side, some might argue, by killing Han Solo, his own father. His master, Supreme Leader Snoke, certainly expected as much from his young apprentice and was likely pleased Ren had what it took to carry out the task. However, Ren might have lost himself some points, having allowed Resistance fighters to destroy Starkiller Base and coming out of a lightsaber duel with Rey as the undisputed loser. While none of this is bound to abruptly shove Ren to the Light, it definitely draws his position on the Dark Side as a bit tenuous.
If this ends up being the case, the question becomes less a matter of “will” and more a matter of “how.” How could Kylo Ren, someone who is so entrenched in the Dark Side, possibly make the transition into the light? To start building a case for this argument, one need only look to Leia, Ren’s mother and the only person who believed he still had good in him. How her opinion has changed since Ren killed the love of her life is up in the air, but General Organa is nothing if not steadfast in her beliefs. Perhaps she could convince Rey to see there’s hope yet for the former Ben Solo. Another possibility involving Leia could put Alderaan’s favorite daughter in danger, a situation only Ren could save her from. Perhaps Leia becomes the target of Snoke or somebody else in the First Order. Kylo Ren has lost one parent already, by his own hand no less. Would he be willing to lose the other?
Whether or not any of this comes to be, there are countless benefits to having this character travel back towards the Light. As stated before, Kylo Ren taking an earlier-than-expected turn towards the good side would certainly subvert the last minute redemption of Darth Vader’s arc and leave a wealth of fresh story opportunity for Kylo Ren to straddle that line in Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX. Star Wars fans need something new, and that’s exactly what Rian Johnson has been promising. Also, Adam Driver could act the hell out of Kylo Ren’s struggle between light and dark. Driver, who started as a fan favorite on HBO’s Girls, has become one of the most diversely talented actors working today. In the past few years alone he’s played the bro-ish best friend in a romantic comedy (What If), a soft-spoken bus driver who writes poetry (Paterson), and a Portuguese priest in a Martin Scorcese film (Silence). Driver’s acting resume is proof that if you throw him a curveball, he’ll catch it every time.
Of course, everything listed above should be considered very cautiously. Nobody wants to be the boy who cried “Will Kylo Ren Change Sides in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?” The footage of Driver’s training could just be preparation for a scene where Kylo Ren trains for Snoke, either with another one of the Knights of Ren or just a stormtrooper with a laser-baton, or even just fights Luke and Rey at the same time. The only thing about the The Last Jedi that’s certain right now is how difficult it’ll be to wait for the film, and anticipating what will be the best part (again, the answer is Laura Dern).
What do you think should happen to Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Should he come back to the light side, or should he stay where he is? Let us know in the comments below!
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