Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow. Who out there hasn’t seen it yet? Really?
If you’ve watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and as it made north of $2 billion at the global box office, there aren’t many of you who haven’t, then you’re well aware that Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is a rather angry young man. The exact reasons are a bit vague—like there’s a tad too much of dear old granddad Darth Vader in him—but the well adjusted among us are not out there lightsabering our own fathers through the heart. At least I hope not. A new video released ahead of the digital and Blu-ray versions of The Force Awakens digs into the underlying reasons behind this deep-seated anger.
This new video gives us a quick glimpse into the psyche of Kylo Ren, specifically how his ancestry, as well as the involvement, or lack thereof, of his parents played into him starting down a path to the Dark Side of the Force.
Kylo Ren’s parents, Han Solo and now-General Leia, were busy running around after Return of the Jedi, crushing the remnants of the Empire following the Battle of Endor, establishing the New Republic, and all that fun, high-ideal kind of stuff. At the same time, however, while they were involved in all these fantastic endeavors, they kind of ignored their child, Ben Solo, who, of course, became Kylo Ren. As Adam Driver says, that’s part of why he is so angry, he felt abandoned. They did pull the deep space equivalent of shipping him off to boarding school, sending him to hang out with Uncle Luke at his new Jedi academy. That, as we know, didn’t end particularly well for anyone involved.
One thing I quite enjoyed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that they took one element from the original trilogy (okay, they took a lot of elements from the original trilogy) and turned it on its head. While Luke Skywalker spent three movies tangling with the pull of the Dark Side of the Force, for Kylo Ren it’s the opposite situation. He feels the pull of the Light Side, the lure of being good, and he has to struggle against that.
As writer and director J.J. Abrams adds later in the video, Kylo Ren’s descent into evil was more than just being related to Darth Vader or feeling dissed by his parents. From birth, he essentially had a target on his back. Supreme Leader Snoke knew he would be hugely powerful, and wanted to claim that power for his own. To be fair to Han and Leia, that’s probably part of why they sent him to Luke Skywalker’s Jedi School for Jedi; they knew there would be people after Ben and hoped his uncle could help him resist. Oops. I’m sure it sounded like a good idea at the time.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available digitally starting today (what a way to kick off your weekend), and it hits Blu-ray starting next week on April 5. We'll see more from Adam Driver and Kylo Ren when Star Wars: Episode VIII hits theaters on December 15, 2017.