Star Wars 9 Can Imagine What Would Happen If Darth Vader Didn't Turn Good

Star Wars Episode IX will end the Skywalker Saga, and through Kylo Ren can show what Darth Vader would’ve done next had Luke not been able to save him. Anakin Skywalker was redeemed by the end of the Original Trilogy, but the story and legacy of Vader lives on through Kylo.

J.J. Abrams needs to do something a bit different in Episode IX, having already delivered a relatively safe Star Wars movie with Episode VII. And with it closing out both the Saga as a whole and the Sequel Trilogy, he also needs to drastically up the ante in terms of threat. Some of that may well be a new danger from "The Beyond," but it should also come through Kylo Ren, now the Supreme Leader of the First Order.

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With Anakin redeemed by his son, we didn't get to see what he was truly capable of. Disney has gone even further than that, with a rebranding exercise painting Vader as something more akin to an antihero. Episode IX, then, can go the other way, and give us a great idea of what would've happened had Darth Vader still killed Emperor Palpatine, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Last Jedi Was A Reverse Of Return of the Jedi

While The Force Awakens echoed many of the themes and events of A New Hope, The Last Jedi didn’t quite follow the same rhyming structure. Sure, it borrowed some elements from The Empire Strikes Back, but it also looked closely at Return of the Jedi - and then flipped it on its head. Episode VI ended with Luke managing to resist the temptation of the Dark Side, and help redeem his father, Anakin. Darth Vader turned against his master, reverting back to the Light Side in his final moments.

The Last Jedi has a similar sequence of events aboard the Supremacy. Supreme Leader Snoke takes on the part of Palpatine, Kylo Ren is the Vader figure, and Rey the Light Side hero a la Luke. Kylo Ren turns against his master and strikes him down after his torture of Rey, mirroring Vader’s turn after the Emperor’s torture of Luke. And that’s where the key difference comes in.

In Return of the Jedi, that brought Anakin back to the Light. In Episode VIII, it only serves to highlight how conflicted Kylo is, and ultimately push him further into the darkness. He doesn’t go with Rey to the Resistance or reclaim the name Ben Solo; he asks her to join him in ruling the galaxy, now that the person above them is out of the way. This isn’t a grand moment of redemption, it’s one of realization: that he doesn’t need a master, and can control his own destiny. Snoke was, if anything, holding him back and keeping him down. Free of that, he can be whatever he wants. It’s a canny subversion of the Vader/Palpatine dynamic and leaves Kylo in a fascinating position heading into Episode IX.

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Kylo Ren Is Now An Extension Of Vader

Ever since we first met him, Kylo Ren has been obsessed with his grandfather. It’s even apparent in the trailers for The Force Awakens. He’s gone as far as retrieving the twisted remains of Vader’s helmet, worshipping it like a shrine and promising to finish what he started. And that’s the path he’s now firmly chosen.

To Kylo Ren, Darth Vader is not a hero who turned to the Light at the very end and helped save the day. He’s an extremely powerful Sith, who’d let nothing and nobody stand in his way, and was responsible for years of Imperial rule across the galaxy. By killing Snoke, wanting Rey to rule with him, and installing himself as Supreme Leader of the First Order, that’s now what Kylo can see himself as too. He mimics Vader’s dress sense, fashioned himself a red lightsaber, and has slain his master.

He is, for all intents and purposes, the second coming of Vader, or like an extension of him. The spirit of Vader - the villainous Sith, not the fallen Jedi - lives on through Kylo Ren. He may say “let the past die”, but more than ever he’s looked to continue his grandfather’s legacy. That goes into what we know of Episode IX. Kylo will have fashioned himself a new helmet, but he’ll also have Vader’s helmet again too, and he’s not only going to finish what he started; he’s going to do what Vader couldn’t.

Page 2 of 2: Will Star Wars 9 Give Kylo Ren Redemption Or Punishment?

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