Did Star Wars’ Rian Johnson Know About Kylo Ren’s Fate In The Rise Of Skywalker?

Ben and Han speaking in The Rise of Skywalker

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It's no secret that Star Wars is massively popular. The galaxy far, far away has entertained audiences for decades, and is showing no signs of slowing down. J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker completed the nine-film Skywalker, opening the door for new narrative possibilities. But there's still much discussion about that blockbuster's contents, including the fate of Adam Driver's Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. So did The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson know that Ben was going to kick the bucket?

Rian Johnson made a splash in the Star Wars community with The Last Jedi, purposefully subverting expectations and the various theories that had brewed on the internet since The Force Awakens. Johnson recently confirmed that he did indeed view Rey and Kylo Ren's relationship as a romantic one at its core. Johnson was also asked if he knew that Ben Solo would die in The Rise of Skywalker, and it turns out that he did not.

This information comes to us from the Twitter of journalist Sariah Wilson. She recently had a long conversation with Rian Johnson about his career, including a deep dive about his first adventure behind the camera for Star Wars. Eventually the subject turned to Ben Solo's fate in The Rise of Skywalker, and Johnson confirmed this wasn't a long running plan for the character.

Despite the bold narrative choices Rian Johnson made in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he wasn't involved in The Rise of Skywalker in any capacity. Instead, the power was passed off from director to director. There weren't any overarching plans across the trilogy, and this extends to the controversial death of Adam Driver's signature character.

Star Wars fans can re-watch the Skywalker Saga on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Kylo Ren's humanity was a plot point in all three of the trilogy movies, finally coming to a head with The Rise of Skywalker. After a (dream?) conversation with Han Solo, Ben abandons the Dark Side and joins Rey in the epic final battle against Palpatine. Lightsaber duels occur, and Ben ultimately sacrifices himself to revive Rey, with the two sharing a kiss before he passes.

Ben's death is one of the more controversial elements of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as fans were hoping his redemption would have been able to last a bit longer. Then again, Kylo Ren massacred countless people while working for the First Order, so maybe he didn't deserve a happy ending. Regardless, it's a conversation that will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

As for Rian Johnson, he's expected to return to the Star Wars franchise with another movie. The timeline of that project is unclear, but anticipation for the project has been building-- especially following Johnson's Oscar nomination for Knives Out. Unfortunately it seems he may be working on a whodunnit sequel first.

The Star Wars franchise continue to grow thanks to shows on Disney+, as well as Patty Jenkins' developing Rogue Squadron movie. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.