Actor Adam Driver has always claimed that the character of Kylo Ren isn't a proper villain, and now he's doubling down on that idea as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker approaches. Driver, 35, isn't alone in his belief that the main antagonist of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, who spurned multiple offers of redemption in both films, still has some good in him.
Fans all across the world maintain that Kylo is destined to return to the light, similar to his grandfather and idol, Darth Vader. A recent issue of Marvel's Age of Resistance, set during the time of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, added fuel to that theory when it depicted Kylo destroying a well-known font of dark side power. But even without looking beyond the films themselves, Driver has always played the character as juvenile, conflicted, and out of his depth - more akin to a scared and confused kid than the galactic tyrant he now technically is.
According to Driver, the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia was raised by "religious zealots," a fact he thinks explains why the young man was driven to the dark side. Speaking to The New Yorker, Driver explains where he feels that conflict stems from. "[Kylo is] the son of these two religious zealots," he says, who "can be conceived as being committed to this religion above all else, above family." The actor mentions his Star Wars role among several others, including the character of Father Garupe in the film Silence, a Catholic priest filled with his own doubts and inner conflicts. The analogy most likely refers to Han and Leia's absolute commitment to the cause of the Rebellion - and later the New Republic - rather than any actual religion. Driver has commented that Ben Solo never identified with that cause, and felt isolated as a child because of it. That isolation, and the resulting uncertainty about his place in the world, might have made him an easier target for Supreme Leader Snoke to manipulate.
This doubt, Driver says, is something he deeply empathizes with. “Doubt is part of being committed to something, I think. They’re very hand in hand, and that seemed more human to me." Regarding the doubtful nature of Father Garupe and the cynical anger of Kylo Ren, he adds "I feel that with religion. I feel that with acting. I feel that with marriage. I feel that with being a parent. I’m constantly filled with doubt, regardless of what I’ve accomplished. It doesn’t mean anything. You still don’t know how to do anything, really.”
The fact that Kylo Ren is a character defined by his insecurities might be what audiences are picking up on, thanks in large part to Driver's emphatic performance, when they assert that he'll be redeemed in Episode 9, despite the horrible things he's done. Whether or not his path back to the light will be as seamless as Anakin Skywalker's is much harder to determine, but most fans don't seem to be in favor of Ben Solo dying as a villain.
Ben's redemption may even have something to do with the return of Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine, who many have speculated is to be the movie's unquestionable center of evil - a role that the morally conflicted Kylo simply can't fill. Even if his fate is more tragic than some hope, though, Driver's understanding of the character is sure to leave audiences with a powerful final scene for the son of Han and Leia.
Source: The New Yorker
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019