Adam Driver has confirmed that the title Star Wars: The Force Awakens refers to his character Kylo Ren, as well as Daisy Ridley's Rey. The relationship between those two Force-sensitive characters, who squared off for the first time in the climax of The Force Awakens, is expected to be further explored in the soon-to-be-released Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The child of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Kylo Ren started off on the path to becoming a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker before being tempted over to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke. Inspired by his worship of his dead grandfather Darth Vader, Kylo Ren destroyed Skywalker's new Jedi Order, joining the Knights of Ren and becoming a soldier for the First Order. When audiences meet Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, he was already a powerful figure on his way to becoming a Sith Lord, but still had much to learn about self-discipline and containing his anger.
Speaking to Empire, Adam Driver talked about portraying a character who, unlike Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, is not yet a fully-formed villain, but is still in a place where he could go either way. Driver also revealed that, indeed, the title The Force Awakens doesn't only refer to the movie's hero Rey:
"We find Darth Vader already completely committed; I was curious about starting with someone who was less together, who was starting in a place of self-doubt. The title of The Force Awakens wasn't just referring to the light side, it was the dark side as well."
Though Kylo Ren was clearly the bad guy of The Force Awakens, even killing his own father Han Solo in the film's most tragic moment, it is not yet clear that the character will ultimately wind up becoming a fully-realized agent of evil. One popular theory holds that Star Wars will pull a switcheroo with Kylo and Rey, placing Rey on the path to the Dark Side while Kylo Ren finds himself on the road to redemption. The Last Jedi trailer that burned up the internet a few weeks back teased some kind of truce being struck between Kylo and Rey, further stoking the fires of speculation. However, there are some who believe the trailer is loaded with deliberate misdirects and gives away nothing of substance about what is actually set to go down in future movies.
Though it seems unlikely that Lucasfilm would choose to make Rey into a villain after already establishing her as the central hero of the new trilogy, creating millions of female (and male) Rey fans in the process, from a pure story standpoint it would make a ton of sense for Rey to at least temporarily be tempted over to the Dark Side by Kylo Ren and Snoke (perhaps with a little unintended push by Luke). Having been given a taste of the ways of evil, Rey would then be set up for a huge, triumphant emergence as a true hero in Star Wars: Episode IX.
As for Kylo Ren, it seems the character truly could go either way despite his definitively evil actions in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Maybe he finally does take the last step in The Last Jedi and become fully committed to the Dark Side, or perhaps the door will be left open for him to ultimately return to the side of good, redeeming both himself and the self-exiled failed Jedi master Luke Skywalker in the process. Maybe then the Jedi, as Luke Skywalker hopes, can finally (and mercifully) end.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019