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When Kylo Ren first appeared on screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans weren’t quite sure what to expect from the hot-tempered Sith lord. But they would soon be shocked to learn that he was not only a fallen Jedi but also the son of Rebel Alliance leaders Leia Organa and Han Solo – Ben Solo. Although the tidbits fans did get about the Force-user’s backstory were messed up enough, it turns out Adam Driver had a bit more in mind for his character’s tragic history.
The Magicians scribe Lev Grossman, who wrote up Vanity Fair’s big preview of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last year, recently opened up about his feelings on the film. While he mostly enjoyed the capper to the Skywalker Saga, he does wish that more of Kylo Ren’s backstory would’ve made the final cut. He also revealed that Adam Driver had a lot of ideas about Ren’s background:
I think probably the thing that was missing for me was I wanted to see more about Kylo’s childhood. I thought they would go back to show us more about why he turned to the dark side. Adam Driver had a lot of interesting thoughts about Ben Solo’s childhood. But then there wasn’t really that much of it in the movie so I just think we have to assume his childhood sucked.
While speaking with Inverse, Lev Grossman also revealed how Adam Driver envisioned Kylo Ren’s origins, and it puts the character’s story in an even more depressing light:
This is actually something Adam Driver said. He said that both Han Solo and Leia were way too self-absorbed and into this idea of themselves as heroes to really be attentive parents in the way that a young and tender Kylo Ren really needed.
Well, that’s certainly heartbreaking, to say the least. Many Star Wars fans likely see Snoke’s manipulation as the major reason for Ben’s fall to the Dark side of the Force, but one may not have considered how Han and Leia’s upbringing may have contributed to it as well. Comic books and novels have confirmed that the two had busy lives following the events of Return of the Jedi, so it’s entirely possible that they may not have had an ample amount of time for their son.
Star Wars literature has also illuminated Kylo Ren’s history, specifically with the limited comic book series The Rise of Kylo Ren. That series details his training under uncle Luke Skywalker, his early run-ins with Snoke and his eventual fall. Another comic even shows him and Snoke visiting an iconic Star Wars location during the early days of Ben Solo's training in the dark side of the Force.
Kylo Ren’s journey during the Sequel Trilogy was one filled with pain and tragedy, but it did end with him finding redemption and reclaiming his identity as Ben Solo. It would’ve been cool to see more of his backstory play out on the big screen but, at the very least, audiences got a solid sense of who the broken young man was.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now streaming on Disney+.