This could be a HUGE thing for the new trilogy. Lots of really big potential spoilers.
In case you missed it in the title or the subtitle, this article is going to deal with some MASSIVE potential spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I say “potential” because it’s unconfirmed, but the source seems pretty credible.
Go no further unless you’re ok with learning some things about The Force Awakens that JJ Abrams might prefer you didn’t yet, but know that if you’re game, this could have a big impact on everything to come in the rest of the new trilogy.
Ok. Let’s talk about villains a little bit.
One of the big complaints about the prequel trilogy was that there was never a villain that audiences could get emotionally invested with. Darth Maul was cool, but we barely saw any of him before he died. Count Dooku was just some fallen Jedi who was wholly unsympathetic and barely lasted any longer before he, too, bit the dust. And let’s not even get started on General Grievous.
The new trilogy of Star Wars movies has the unenviable task of trying to create a villain as iconic as Darth Vader himself. Vader was cold, unforgiving, eminently powerful. And yet, he was also fallible, relatable, and had an agenda all his own. That’s what the new movies are aiming for.
And like Vader, it seems that Kylo Ren has a family connection to some of the heroes.
That’s an old rumor, of course, but with a new piece of evidence that not only seems to confirm the rumor, but offer new details as to exactly how it’s true.
Kylo Ren is the child of…
Fan site millenniumfalcon.com has been a source for numerous leaked Star Wars set photos, script notes, and more. And if you believe forum poster darthpsychotic, they now have a rundown every scene in The Force Awakens, too. At 346 often code-named entries long, it’s a lot to go through. Thankfully, we already have, and here’s some key tidbits:
EXT DAY – 198 – ACADEMY • Leia and Han Solo hand over Young Kylo Ren to his Uncle for training
EXT DAWN – 200 – ACADEMY • Young Kylo Ren being trained by his Uncle
INT NIGHT – 202 – ACADEMY • Bodies left behind – Young Kylo Ren is gone
EXT DAY – 203 – JAGGED TERRAIN/PALACE • Kylo Ren joins The Knights Of Ren
EXT DUSK – 204 – ACADEMY • R2-D2 upset as his master leaves
EXT NIGHT – 205 – JAGGED TERRAIN/PALACE • Kylo Ren joins The Knights Of Ren
That would seem to confirm that Kylo Ren is actually the son of Han and Leia (and the grandson of Darth Vader), and that early in his life he was sent to live and train in the ways of the Force with Luke. Then something happened – either a young Kylo runs away, or (more likely) is kidnapped by some unknown agents. Then he’s either transported to be raised by the Knights of Ren or else joins them later in life.
Why It Matters
Ok, so that’s kind of cool that Kylo Ren is related to the heroes, but why does it matter? The Vader twist in Empire Strikes Back was one of the all-time great movie reveals, but Vader was still an incredible villain in the original Star Wars, back before we knew he was anything but Obi-Wan’s former pupil who killed Luke’s farther.
But that’s just it – he was still connected. Even before we knew Darth Vader was Luke and Leia’s father, Luke still had a personal stake in taking Vader down – Vader was the man who killed first his father, then his mentor.
It’s thematically significant.
The reveal that Kylo is Han and Leia’s son, Luke’s nephew, and potentially Rey’s cousin or brother adds personal stakes where there weren’t any before. And no, this isn’t necessary to make a good villain. But as big as the Star Wars galaxy is, it’s always been a place about personal relationships. You could even see it in the prequels, though the execution didn’t match the vision. The relationships between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, Anakin and Obi-Wan, Anakin and Palpatine, Anakin and Padme. One of the remarkable things about the Star Wars movies is that they’re about one family’s moment at the tipping point of history. Even though the events are influenced by many, many different people, there’s a unity to the overarching story without (ok, we’re ignoring large parts of the prequels again) forcing in the horribly overused “the One” narrative trope.
If Kylo Ren is really Kylo (or whatever his name was) Solo, we’re almost getting a picture of what would have happened to Luke if he’d fallen to the dark side. It also lets the movie meaningfully address a lot of things like the ever-popular nature vs. nurture debate, philosophy on whether man is inherently good with bad parts or the other way around, and the emotional and psychological damage of persistent hate.
The plot points!
But maybe you say that’s thematic chicanery. What you want are the definitive plot moments that Kylo Ren’s parentage will affect!
Here’s the REALLY big one:
INT EVE – 317 – STARKILLER BASE – RAMPARTS • Han Solo hides, then decides to reveal himself to Kylo Ren.
INT EVE – 318 – STARKILLER BASE – RAMPARTS – UPPER LEVELS • Finn and Rey and Chewbacca stop to watch what’s happening below
INT EVE – 319 – STARKILLER BASE – RAMPARTS • The conversation comes to a sudden end
That always suggests Han is trying to stall for time so Finn, Rey, and Chewbacca can finish their task and escape undetected, but it’d even bigger now that Han is Kylo Ren’s father. The “sudden end” to the conversation suggests Kylo doesn’t just kill someone in his way, but knowingly commits patricide. Even if Kylo’s spent nearly his whole life away from his parents, that’s a big deal psychologically, and will almost certainly be a major point for later in trilogy.
So there’s that. But here’s another pretty big one, and one that will tell us a lot about both Kylo and Rey as characters:
EXT DAY – 223 – WOODS – NEAR THE CASTLE • Kylo Ren catches Rey. Wants to know more
EXT DAY – 225 – WOODS – NEAR THE CASTLE • Kylo Ren uses special skills to find out more
This is basically in the trailer when Kylo Ren tracks down Rey in the woods and then holds his lightsaber at her shoulder. It sounds a lot like he’s using the Dark Side to forcibly extract information he wants from Rey, which wouldn’t be the first time he does this – we’ve already seen him in the trailers with his hand over Poe’s head, apparently doing the same thing.
But with Rey, who is presumably still the daughter either of Luke or of Han and Leia, it isn’t just some random person whose mind Kylo is invading – it’s his cousin or sister’s. Just like killing a parent has to have psychological and Force-related repercussions, you have to figure that forcibly digging through the mind of a close relative exposes Kylo Ren’s subconscious to a morality he’s been taught to repress.
Continuing to work backwards, Kylo Ren’s true origins also suggest why Luke seems to be missing. Think about it: If Kylo is Luke’s nephew and was once his student, Luke’s probably devastated by his kidnapping. And Luke would have a strong connection to him through the Force. If rumors of a new uber-powerful Dark Side user reached Luke, there’s good reason for him to suspect that was Kylo, and therefore a good chance that Luke’s chasing after Kylo as much as Kylo might be chasing after him.
Whatever the impact ends up being, it’s clear that Kylo Ren’s true origins and his blood relation to much of the rest of the main cast is going to be a big deal in the new Star Wars trilogy.