Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are ahead!
While The First Order eradicated nearly the entirety of The Resistance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, for Kylo Ren, that victory, as well as his new position as Supreme Commander, was tainted by a personal defeat. With his opportunity to kill Luke Skywalker taken away due to the Jedi Master actually Force projecting himself all the way from Ahch-To, Kylo was left kneeling on the plains of Crait, with the illusion of Han Solo's dice fading away and him "looking out" at Rey almost longingly before she departed with the other surviving Resistance members. As it turns out, when director Rian Johnson was writing Kylo's last scene in The Last Jedi, he was inspired by the moment in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin was transformed into the cybernetic Darth Vader. When recently asked by a fan what Kylo would do or say differently in a do-over of that moment at the end of The Last Jedi, Johnson answered:
...I think that's such a beautiful notion of 'What does he regret in that moment,' the same way I think about in Revenge of the Sith, that mask is coming down, that beautiful shot of Anakin and his eyes right before it goes over and you see that glimpse of 'Is it fear? Is it regret? What is it? What is going through his mind at that moment?' That's that kind of moment for Ben and I don't want to put that moment in your guys' head. I feel like that's a moment that everyone should read into themselves.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw Kylo Ren struggling between fully crossing over to the Dark Side or finding his way back to the light, but once he'd killed his father, Han Solo, it looked like he was content with deciding on the former. The Last Jedi toyed with the idea of if Kylo was capable of being redeemed, though in the end, he decided he would rather rule the galaxy and create a new order separate from what Snoke and Luke Skywalker had created, thus pushing Rey away. Still, he did look somewhat regretful/contemplative in The Last Jedi's final moments, echoing how Anakin Skywalker looked near the end of Revenge of the Sith as the Darth Vader helmet was placed over his face (which was shortly after he'd lost his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar). Like grandfather, like grandson, I suppose. Of course, while Darth/Anakin ultimately found redemption at the end of Return of the Jedi, it remains to be seen if Kylo can follow suit in Episode IX.
Rian Johnson also mentioned during the Collider Q&A following an IMAX screening of The Last Jedi that he turned to the Prequel Trilogy while writing and preparing the latest Star Wars movie. While Johnson knew the original movies and inside and out, he hadn't watched the prequels nearly as much, so to ensure that there would be echoes of those movies in The Last Jedi as well, he occasionally looked at certain scenes to study the "visual language." While Johnson won't be back for Episode IX, director J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio reportedly will also look to the Prequel Trilogy for the next Star Wars installment.
We'll see how this Star Wars trilogy concludes when Episode IX is released on December 20, 2019, but for now, keep it here at CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning the Star Wars franchise.