Kylo Ren has assumed the position of Supreme Leader of the First Order, but his true identity could be used against him in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The son of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Kylo Ren left his true identity behind to pursue galactic conquest. Formerly known as Ben Solo, he was seduced to the dark side by Snoke and turned against his family and the Jedi in the process. After burning down Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Order and killing any padawans who opposed him, Ben Solo was no more, and Kylo Ren was born.
Through the first two films in Disney and Lucasfilm's ongoing Star Wars trilogy, Kylo has been established as a powerful but complex Force user who is fighting the pull of the light side. He killed his father, Han Solo, to try and cement his dark side ways, but then couldn't pull the trigger on his mother. Meanwhile, he has taken a particular interest in Darth Vader's helmet, claiming he'll finish what his grandfather started. His identity and ties to the starring trio of the original trilogy have been a significant part of his character - but it has also been a secret.
While it may not seem like it to viewers, the fact that Kylo Ren is Ben Solo - the son of Han and Leia, the nephew of Luke, and grandson of Anakin - is actually one of the trilogy's biggest in-universe secrets. Kylo has gone as far as to use his now instantly recognizable black suit to conceal his face and change his voice to further this cause. With such an emphasis put on differentiating Kylo Ren from Ben Solo, this information becoming public knowledge could ultimately lead to his downfall in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Who Knows Kylo Ren's Real Identity?
Even though Kylo Ren's real identity is a secret, there are a few notable characters which he wouldn't be able to hide this change from. Han, Leia, and Luke all know about his turn and new persona, as his turn to the dark side hit each of them hard. Han went back to his smuggling ways after the fall of his son, leaving him and Leia apart for years. Meanwhile, Luke felt responsible for pushing his nephew to the dark side and saw himself as a failure. All three of them know because they are family members, but they aren't the only ones who know.
Snoke is well-aware of Kylo's actual name as he was the one who turned Ben Solo to the dark side. Snoke was the one to tell audiences who Kylo's parents are in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but he was pursuing Ben years before that. According to The Force Awakens' Visual Dictionary, though, Snoke wanted to keep this mainly under wraps as it says, "Kylo Ren is an adopted name; his birth name is never spoken, by decree of the First Order's Supreme Leader." This would appear to be an easy decree to keep as not many in the First Order are actually aware of Kylo's heritage.
But, the new Age of Resistance comic for General Hux confirmed that he is one of the few - and possibly only - members of the First Order to know Ben Solo became Kylo Ren. This builds upon a line in The Force Awakens where Hux mentions Kylo's personal interests in wanting to find Luke, which indicated he knew of their familial connection. The Praetorian Guard also are likely aware of Kylo's lineage, as Snoke called him Solo with them present. Outside of the First Order and Ben's family, though, those who know about Kylo's identity is a small group.
Near the very beginning of The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka confirms that he knows who Kylo was before he went by that name, as he was a friend to Luke and met Ben Solo when he was a boy. It is fair to assume that Chewbacca is also aware of Ben becoming Kylo due to his closeness to Han and his role in the most recent films. Additionally, Rey and Finn appear to learn the truth as well during The Force Awakens, as both of them hear Han call Kylo his son when they are all on Starkiller Base. If there was any doubt about Rey's knowledge, it becomes abundantly clear in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that she knows Kylo's past. It is also possible - if not likely - that Poe Dameron and C-3PO know of his turn, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The Power Of Darth Vader's Secret Identity
The immense secrecy surrounding the true identity of Kylo Ren once again mirrors something Star Wars has done before with his grandfather. Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader was a big secret in the galaxy far, far away. At first, only Palpatine knew of the past of his newest weapon. It allowed Vader to rise to power as someone who embodies the dark side and struck fear into those who opposed the Empire. As time went on, Grand Moff Tarkin and Grand Admiral Thrawn came to learn who Vader used to be, but they never said anything. In the comics, Vader has encountered individuals, like Order 66 survivor Master Barr, who knew of his past and killed them.
However, outside of the Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda knew of Anakin's fall to the dark side and clued Bail Organa in as he would now raise Anakin's daughter. Anakin's former apprentice Ahsoka Tano also learned of his corruption through Yoda and later saw his face again during their battle in a Sith temple on Malachor. While none of these characters spread the truth about Anakin's turn, they did provide support to this information when Vader revealed it himself to Luke to turn him as well. This was not successful and began to crack Vader's dedication to the dark side. It weakened him to the point where he turned back to the light side and killed The Emperor - or so we thought.
Even after this heroic end for Vader, his true identity was still not common knowledge for a few years and had ripple effects on Luke and Leia, but mostly the latter. As explored in the Star Wars: Bloodline novel, Leia's political standing was nearly crippled upon people learning that she was the daughter of Vader. At the time, she was in the process of being nominated to be the First Senator of the New Republic. However, many immediately voiced their concerns with the daughter of Darth Vader being given such power. It even led to some questioning Luke's character and relationship with the government. While Leia ultimately was elected to the position, she eventually took a leave of absence before stepping down entirely. If the reveal that her father is evil can change Leia's public perception, then could the same thing happen to Kylo if his real name was revealed?
Could "Ben Solo" Be Used Against Kylo Ren In Star Wars 9?
When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters, Kylo Ren will still be the Supreme Leader of the First Order. He only holds this title after he betrayed and killed Snoke to usurp him, but not everyone may believe that he is fit for this position. The brief time we've seen of Kylo as Supreme Leader saw him lead by emotion and not tactically. This could lead to many doubting his ability to lead the First Order to galactic conquest. If that is the case and someone wants to split the First Order or take Kylo's power away, outing his real name and heritage could do just that.
As far as we know, there are less than a dozen known characters we've met in the Star Wars movies that know of Kylo's true identity, and even fewer of them are still alive. But, Hux is the only one who knows of Kylo's real name, is still alive and part of the First Order, and could benefit from his demise. It has been well established that Hux and Kylo have a bit of a rivalry, and Hux may think that he could do a better job leading than Kylo. Since he already is aware that Kylo is really Ben Solo, he could potentially make this information public to tear him down. It is difficult to imagine that many within the First Order would accept someone from the Skywalker bloodline to lead them. This could give Hux the chance to become Supreme Leader and leave Kylo without his army - possibly pushing him back to the Knights of Ren and in search of Palpatine?
While such a reveal could benefit Hux and maybe even the First Order, it could also once again crack Kylo's psyche. Kylo has always struggled with what side of the Force he should draw from, and all of his actions in the films have been to push himself more towards the darkness. Changing his name, concealing his identity, and doing several terrible things has all been part of him trying to embrace the dark side. He has battled with this throughout the prior two movies in smaller ways, but him being Ben Solo becoming public knowledge could divide him even more. Maybe this could be used as the catalyst for Kylo Ren's redemption. Either way, Kylo's real name could become a big part of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019