Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, arguably the most controversial Star Wars film of all time (yes, I’m including The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and The Last Jedi) is the final entry into the sequel trilogy and the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga. The characters in the sequel trilogy were unfortunately not as developed as well as I would have liked them to be (but that’s beside the point.) Kylo Ren was actually one of the few major characters that I felt had some pretty substantial character development in the trilogy. Unfortunately, quite a huge chunk of his backstory is entirely left out of the three films. Luckily, we got a 4-issue comic run known as “The Rise of Kylo Ren” that gave us some more details regarding Kylo Ren, or more specifically Ben Solo, and his origin story. However if you haven’t yet read this comic run, you’re missing out on a big portion of Kylo Ren and his story. So what exactly have you missed out on? Here’s 5 things you might not know about Kylo Ren if you only watched the movies:
5. He sought out the Knights of Ren
Though you might not know it if you only watched the movies, the Knights of Ren weren’t always led by Kylo Ren himself. He took his name after the first known leader of the Knights of Ren, a man known only as “Ren.”After the Jedi temple was destroyed, Ben Solo sought out the Knights of Ren in an old Jedi outpost. He knew how to find the outpost and how he would be able to commune with the Knights of Ren because he had encountered them as a child. While on a mission to find the Jedi outpost on the Outer Rim planet, Elphrona, Luke Skywalker, Lor San Tekka, as well as Ben Solo encountered the Knights of Ren within the outpost. While Luke drew his lightsaber and defended the trio against the Knights, Ren himself came out of the shadows to speak directly to Ben Solo.
Hey, kid. You sure this is life for you? You do know there are other paths right? You ever want to try something a little different, learn more about your shadow…come look us up.”
Ren drops his helmet on the ground where it is left untouched until many years later, Ben Solo – on the run from the few surviving Jedi – retreats to the Jedi outpost on Elphrona and picks up Ren’s helmet.
Hey kid, was wondering if we’d ever hear from you again….Snoke, huh? Yeah, okay. Come to Vanrak in the Mid Rim. We’ll be there for a bit.”
I feel like this is a pretty important detail that was just completely ignored and left out of the sequel trilogy in which Kylo Ren was introduced. The origin of his name, how he began his journey as Kylo Ren, it seems like a pretty crucial character moment that would have shown his manipulation at a young age.
4. He didn’t kill every Jedi student
In the first issue of The Rise of Kylo Ren, Ben Solo is seen looking at the destroyed Jedi academy as a ship lands on the ground nearby. It turns out that the ship is being piloted by three of Ben’s fellow padawan learners – and friends – who were off-planet when the temple had been destroyed. As they approach Ben, he tells them that Luke had attempted to murder him, so he killed their master and destroyed the temple. Two of the padawans draw and ignite their lightsabers and prepare for a fight as Ben attempts to leave, resulting in one being injured and Ben Solo successfully escaping from the temple.
I think this would have definitely been a big thing to mention in the movies and was just left out of the trilogy completely. This shows that Ben Solo still had at the very least a shred of compassion left for his friends.
3. He had an “Obi-Wan vs. Anakin” style duel with his best friend
In the fourth and final issue of the comic run, The Rise of Kylo Ren, Ben Solo is forced to go toe-to-toe with his best friend, Tai, in a lightsaber duel that is very reminiscent of the classic Obi-Wan vs. Anakin fight from Revenge of the Sith. They battle on a bridge made of rock, surrounded by nothing but fire and rocky formations. Ben is now completely engulfed by the Dark Side, just as Anakin (his grandfather) was when he fought Obi-Wan.
This should have absolutely been in the movies as even just a flashback. In order to truly be able to relate Kylo Ren and Ben Solo to Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker, we really needed to see the similar ways they were corrupted by the Dark Side and manipulated by those he trusted most. Plus, it would have been a perfect opportunity to give us a super badass lightsaber duel!
2. He killed Ren
After dueling together, Ben disarms Tai and is about to kill him when he tries one last time to reach out to Ben and turn him back to the Light. Unfortunately, just as Ben looks as though he’s about to turn back to the Light, Ren uses the Force – or “The Shadow” as he calls it – to snap Tai’s neck, instantly killing him. Ben swells with rage as he embraces the Shadow and lunges at Ren.
Here we see the people closest to Ben feel his descent into darkness including Snoke, Leia, Rey, and Palpatine as they sense that Ben Solo is finally gone and what remains is Kylo Ren.
1. He didn’t blow up Luke’s Jedi temple
Perhaps the most important piece of information that is missing from the sequel trilogy movies is the fact that Ben Solo did not blow up the Jedi temple where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was training the next batch of younglings. In fact, it was Snoke who used the Force to destroy the temple.
To this day, I still don’t understand why this wasn’t included in the movies. According to the films, Ben Solo became Kylo Ren when he destroyed the temple and killed the padawan learners studying alongside him. Then it’s revealed outside of the movies that the previously established turning point for Ben becoming Kylo Ren wasn’t even him to begin with? I was glad when I saw it wasn’t him, though I still firmly believe this should have 100% been included in The Rise of Skywalker to truly complete his redemption arc.