Star Wars: 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Kylo Ren

The latest trilogy in the Star Wars saga has proved to be quite the controversial subject matter for dedicated fans of the series.

Whether you were a fan of either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, or whether one (or both) of these movies wasn't exactly your cup of tea, it's been virtually impossible to wander anywhere among fan spaces on the internet without encountering tons of think pieces about the future of the franchise and its newest characters.

Arguably the most polarizing of this set of new characters has been Adam Driver's Kylo Ren, also known as Ben Solo.

As the son of galactic legends Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben fell to the dark side at a young age, becoming known as the villainous Kylo Ren, as he was recruited by the predatory Supreme Leader Snoke to join the ranks of the First Order.

In The Force Awakens, Kylo was framed in many ways as the primary antagonist, along with Snoke.

During The Last Jedi, however, perspectives began to shift, with our protagonist, Rey, developing an intimate, sympathetic bond with the former master of the Knights of Ren.

Since the narrative for this character has changed so much over the course of the trilogy's first two movies, it's understandable that fans find themselves confused as to how they feel about Kylo Ren.

What isn't understandable, however, is how many of these fans frequently make basic, unforgivable factual errors in their many discussions.

With that said, here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Kylo Ren.

20 He isn't a Sith

We’ve lost track of how many times we’ve seen people call Kylo Ren a Sith. Belated breaking news, people: the Sith aren’t a thing anymore in the universe of Star Wars.

Following the fall from power of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, the Sith movement was all but squandered.

Instead, they were forced to lurk in the shadows in the forms of antiquities traders and sympathizers who hadn’t been wiped out en masse.

Over time, the First Order rose from the ashes of the fallen Sith empire, paving the way for the future conflict that would develop with the new face of the Rebellion, now known as the Resistance.

So, Kylo isn’t a Sith. He’s a member of the First Order. Maybe it’s not as easy and succinct an answer, but it's the truth.

19 He hasn't gone completely over to the dark side

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rey and Kylo Snoke Throne Room battle (photo: Disney Lucasfilm)

So many people want to simplify Kylo into a cartoonish villain, whose motivations and emotions are meaningless – or concealed behind a mask, as they once were.

While Vader may have been (for better or worse) a one dimensional villain in the original trilogy, it’s clear that this was never the path Kylo was meant to take.

In both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, there are people who believe Ben Solo isn’t lost – and even further, that he could return and provide the Resistance with the advantage they need over the First Order.

Snoke himself chastises Kylo for his weakness, noting that he has “too much of his father’s heart” and even referring to him as “young Solo.

Kylo Ren is clearly a character meant to be understood in terms of both dark and light.

The Last Jedi’s move toward referring to him as Ben Solo, rather than Kylo Ren, only further reaffirms this.

18 He hesitated before Taking Han's life

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren Ben Solo and Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars The Force Awakens

Another fact related to the conflict within Kylo that people often overlook is his participation in Han Solo’s demise. While he was, in the end, the one responsible for it, it’s clear that the action was never one that was entirely destined or enacted without hesitation.

Visually, The Force Awakens frames this in a quite clear way.

As father and son stand together, Kylo is bathed in equal parts darkness and light, and for a moment, it seems as though he may be turning back toward the light.

However, soon, he’s bathed in the dark red that embodies the violent action he is about to commit.

Even after, Kylo remains affected and weakened by it all. Snoke observes that “the deed split your spirit to the bone.”

Instead of moving forward with renewed conviction, unburdened by his past, Kylo has only become further mired within the life he tried to leave behind.

17 He didn't seek out the dark when he was younger

Adam Driver as Ben Solo in Star Wars The Last Jedi

As eager as Kylo Ren has been to attempt to leave the world of his family behind, a young Ben Solo was hardly ever the same way. The darkness wasn’t something that Ben ever sought out on his own.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Multiple new novels within the new Expanded Universe – including the Aftermath franchise by Chuck Wendig, Claudia Gray’s Bloodline, and The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster – have revealed that Ben Solo was targeted by Supreme Leader Snoke as a potential wielder of the dark side of the Force since he was in Leia’s womb.

The overall narrative is incredibly predatory and disconcerting, reminiscent of grooming and child abuse, shedding an entire new light on the Kylo-Snoke dynamic in the movies.

16 He didn't lie about Rey's parentage

Rey’s parentage was one of the biggest MacGuffins that J.J. Abrams set up in The Force Awakens, with many fans so certain that she would turn out to be the long-lost descendant of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, or any other major Force user we have come to know.

However, as The Last Jedi revealed, Rey’s parents were, in fact, nobodies. Some have tried to twist this, claiming that Kylo Ren was manipulating her with this claim.

However, it’s plain as day in the movie itself: Rey is the one who speaks first, confirming that she has always known her parents were nobodies.

It’s merely Kylo who supplies the audience with more information – that “they were filth junky traders,” even so terrible that they “sold [Rey] off for drinking money.”

After the movie's release, Rian Johnson even confirmed that Kylo is “not lying in that moment.”

15 He's not "emo"

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren Starkiller Base

It was a joke that was all the rage following the release of The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren is the perfect representation of “emo” culture. Popular Twitter accounts and various memes quickly appeared, becoming a viral sensation.

At the end of the day, however, nothing about Kylo is “emo,” unless you stereotype based on his preference for dark clothes and long dark hair.

His life, in fact, is filled with pain and anger, as The Last Jedi revealed in greater detail.

He has presumably struggled since childhood with the influence of Snoke’s voice in his head, being a Force user in a world largely absent of them, being sent away by his parents, and very nearly being assaulted or worse by his crazed uncle in his sleep.

Nothing about Kylo’s life is worthy of parody. If anything, it’s damn near tragic.

14 His lightsaber isn't broken

Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

When the design for Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was first released prior to The Force Awakens’ release in 2015, critical fans everywhere couldn’t get over how rough and potentially dangerous the crossguard on his saber seemed to be.

How could it be functional, never mind safe, with such messy, janky lines of lightsaber flames coming right out beneath the handle?

Some fans even wondered, could Kylo Ren’s lightsaber actually be broken?

Despite its confusing appearance, his lightsaber is neither broken nor a proven safety hazard.

Further, it’s meant to be representative of his character, according to various interviews with the man behind Kylo Ren, Adam Driver. Its unpolished, volatile state represents Kylo’s own internal emotions and struggles.

13 He's not responsible for Luke's demise

One of the most controversial elements of The Last Jedi involved Luke Skywalker’s fate. As the movie shows, Luke sacrifices himself for the greater good, by using the Force to project himself from Ahch-To to Crait – a move that saps all of his remaining Force life energy and causes him to vanish and become one with the Force.

It’s through this Force projection that Luke faces off with his nephew and former student.

Kylo, rightfully filled with rage, wants to fight his uncle. However, Luke, ever the pacifist, is unwilling to engage – which viewers soon learn, of course, is directly connected to his presence being a projection.

It becomes clear, with the reveal, that this decision was entirely Luke’s. He embraced the status of hero that he had shirked for so long, even during Rey’s time with him.

So while it may be tempting to blame the fight with Kylo for leading to Luke’s sudden end, it was Luke’s choice all along – he knew the consequences when he began.

12 He hadn't fully embraced the dark before Luke's betrayal

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars The Last Jedi

As we previously explored, Kylo’s descent into the darkness was not one that was always willing.

Snoke’s presence in his mind throughout his formative years of childhood and adolescence was not something he could escape.

However, he hadn’t officially embraced the dark until his uncle, Luke’s, surprising perceived betrayal.

When a young Ben Solo, still a Jedi in training at the time, awoke in the middle of the night to find his potentially raging uncle standing above him with his lightsaber raised, this was what finally pushed Ben to the dark – by necessity to survive, rather than anything else.

The dark may have been in his mind all along, as Luke feared – but it was Luke’s own fear and snap reaction that pushed Ben past the point of hesitation.

11 His interrogation of Rey wasn't assault


Oftentimes, applying our own world’s politics and social mores to those of the Star Wars galaxy is a fruitless, if not ridiculous effort.

Since The Force Awakens, certain factions of anti-Kylo Ren fans have used a skewed perception of gender dynamics to attack his character.

When it comes to the interrogation scene between Rey and Kylo Ren in the first movie, some fans try to claim that he was emotionally or mentally abusive to her – as though there were a pre-existing relationship in which such abuse could take place.

This, of course, is not at all the case. The two are engaged on opposite sides of a war, a war in which mind tricks and mind probes are fairly common.

Rey even flips the tables on Kylo, as she is able to probe his mind for the truth right back, arguably “winning” that conflict singlehandedly.

10 He didn't always know that Vader was his grandfather

At one point, worship of Darth Vader was one of the defining traits of Kylo Ren’s character. Before we got to know the man behind the mask, it was easy to believe that he was seeking to emulate the imposing villain who came before him.

Once we learned who Kylo Ren truly was, namely the son of Han and Leia and therefore a blood descendant of Vader himself, it became much clearer why he was so determined to finish what his grandfather started.

However, it’s Claudia Gray’s Leia centric novel Bloodline that reveals something particularly surprsing, and further explains Ben’s contentious relationship with his past.

Han and Leia never told Ben that Vader was his grandfather.

Instead, he was forced to learn the truth when the information was used in a public smear campaign against Leia’s political career.

9 Han and Leia weren't the best parents

Star Wars - Leia and Han hugging

Which brings us to our next point. Based on this and this alone, it goes without saying that, despite all their merited heraldry and status, Han Solo and Leia Organa really were not the best of parents.

Their marriage fell into disarray following Ben’s descent into the darkness, but it’s clear that before that, neither of them were especially engaged parents.

Leia had her political ambitions, and eventually the budding Resistance to deal with. And Han, being Han, was never able to settle down in one place for very long, always jet setting around on smuggling jobs or teaching the next generation of pilots.

So Ben was often handed off to droids for care, which certainly didn’t help at all with the isolation he presumably felt, being a Force user – and one with a corrupting influence in his mind the entire time as well.

8 He's older than his behavior suggests

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi

Part of what led so many fans to denigrate Kylo as a whiny, pathetic, “emo” character was the way in which he lashed out and displayed tantrum-like behavior in The Force Awakens.

It was easy to assume that the character was an adolescent based on his behaviors.

However, supporting materials for the franchise have confirmed that Kylo is, in fact, 29 years old at the time of The Force Awakens, making him much older than his emotionally stunted behaviors would suggest.

Perhaps this is the point of his character, after all. During his adolescence, the already tormented Ben Solo underwent considerable trauma stemming from his family, and therefore, he hasn’t really aged much past that.

7 He's not just a Vader wannabe

Kylo’s worship of his grandfather’s legacy has been conflated, by some fans, with a desire to become the new version of Vader.

Snoke himself says that, through the strength of Kylo’s lineage, he imaged him to be just the same.

However, it’s clear that this was never Kylo’s goal. Kylo is a character who is struggling to determine who he wants to be, just on a much grander, space soap operatic scale.

At the start of The Last Jedi, he demolishes his own mask, destroying the visual connection that he had to his grandfather’s legacy.

By the end of the movie, he has assumed for himself the title of Supreme Leader, showing that he has the potential to become a real, threatening leader.

However, his internal conflicts and emotions are inherently different from anything Vader was allowed to have, making him already a much more complex character.

6 He won't be an incompetent Supreme Leader

While there’s no real way of knowing how Kylo will be as Supreme Leader of the First Order, since Episode IX is still a long way’s away, some fans are clearly already convinced that he will be essentially a walking human disaster.

However, this directly contradicts what The Last Jedi has shown us. While Snoke may not have been a successful leader in the end, Kylo has already clearly begun to learn from his example.

Snoke’s pride got the better of him in the end, as he thought that he was able to predict Kylo’s loyalty.

Kylo learned how to use Snoke’s arrogance to his benefit, quickly and brutally dispatching the monstrous leader while playing the leader’s own scheme back against him.

Likewise, in the movie's final act, he shows that he has an authoritative presence, leading the troops and choking the insolent Hux when he dares speak out to contradict him.

5 He's not responsible for Leia's demise

Kylo Ren and Leia Organa

Just as Kylo bears no direct responsibility for Luke’s demise, he shares no blame for Leia’s as well.

In fact, in The Last Jedi, we see that Kylo is still moved by his affections for his mother in a way that wasn’t strong enough versus his father in The Force Awakens.

When he has the shot, he could take in orders to bring down Leia’s ship, he doesn’t take it.

While Carrie Fisher’s tragic real life passing in 2016 leaves the doors open for a potential sad end for Leia’s character in Episode IX, the reveal that they will be using previously unused footage of Leia to construct her narrative in the movie gives hope that Kylo won’t falter in his compassion for this last remaining familial link.

4 He's not subservient to Hux

General Hux and Kylo Ren in Star Wars The Force Awakens

Kylo’s back and forth snarky banter with Hux has been a prominent feature in the few scenes that these characters share.

It’s clear that the arrogant Hux thinks himself superior to Kylo Ren, particularly as he sees no value in Kylo’s Force abilities and prefers his own militaristic perspectives and strengths.

However, it’s also clear that the movies don’t view Hux kindly at all. Beyond the obvious unflattering fascistic fervor with which he delivers many of his lines of dialogue, he is constantly humiliated, by Snoke and Kylo Ren alike.

There is no credible threat posed by Hux that would feel believable in Episode IX, even with the brief moment in The Last Jedi when he appears to consider shooting an unconscious Kylo.

Kylo quickly establishes himself as the dominant one in this dynamic – and we couldn’t believe anything else.

3 His tantrums serve a purpose

First Order Kylo Ren Starkiller Base

While Kylo’s various tantrum type behaviors are hardly becoming of his character’s maturity in years, further analysis shows that these moments are actually significant and telling of his internal state.

In The Force Awakens, his tantrums primarily occur in moments of shame or self-loathing, as a result of being humiliated by Snoke or Rey’s escape.

In the fight in the woods, he begins to physically beat his own wounds, self-harming for the sake of gaining more power from his own anger and hardship as a dark side Force user is wont to do.

So while they may seem ridiculous and uncomfortable, upon a first viewing, subsequent consideration of these moments reveals the troubling truth about Kylo’s own mental and emotional fragility.

2 He wasn't involved in using Starkiller Base to destroy Hosnian Prime

Kylo Ren watches the Starkiller fire in Star Wars The Force Awakens

It’s a key moment early on in The Force Awakens: the First Order uses its weapon of mass destruction Starkiller Base, which is impossibly larger than any of the Death Stars ever were, to destroy Hosnian Prime, the home of the capitol of the New Republic.

It’s a brief, but utterly devastating moment, as lives are glimpsed upon the planet gazing up in horror at the impending laser beam, only to be washed away in a blast of red.

What is significant about this moment, however, is the lack of involvement Kylo Ren displays within its scheme.

This instant genocide is unforgivable, brutal, and absolutely horrifying – and it’s led all the way by the foaming at the mouth Hux.

Kylo, meanwhile, stands by himself, watching the beam blast through the sky as a detached observer.

1 Yes, his shirtless scene did have a plot purpose

Just as Emo Kylo Ren became a viral sensation after the release of The Force Awakens, Shirtless Kylo Ren did after The Last Jedi arrived in theatres.

Fan reactions to this moment between Rey and Kylo Ren varied, from those who were thrilled to have such an intimate moment between them, to those who found it gross or distracting.

Most of all, people seemed to be really confused as to why his pants were so damn high around his waist.

As it turns out, there’s a setting-based and plot-based reason for the decision to have Kylo in such period-atypical clothing.

According to costume designer Michael Kaplan, "The world of Star Wars is not our world…Kylo Ren is not some hipster in hip-hugging jeans. Think Errol Flynn swashbuckling coolness as a point of departure. Hide that navel!”


What do you think people need to stop getting wrong about Star Wars' Kylo Ren? Let us know in the comments!

More in Lists