|“||Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father. So I destroyed him.||„|
|~ Kylo Ren to his father, Han Solo|
Ben Solo, better known as Kylo Ren, is the central antagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He is the main antagonist of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, and the central antagonist-turned-deuteragonist of Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker.
Ben Solo is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, and also Luke Skywalker's nephew. He was trained by his uncle to become a Jedi before falling to the dark side. Ben became a dark warrior called Kylo Ren, and he was a top apprentice of the Supreme Leader Snoke until betraying him to save the Jedi apprentice Rey, who is his love interest and the other half of their dyad in the Force. After his master's death, he becomes the new Supreme Leader of the First Order. He eventually comes back to the light side of the Force, and decides to help Rey to defeat her grandfather before sacrificing everything to save the woman he loves from death.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
He first appeared encountering Lor San Tekka, who he kills, and then he imprisions Poe Dameron, a talented X-wing pilot, to ask him where the map to Luke is. However, he did not know the map was handed to BB-8, who has gone far away on the same planet. He later uses his powers on Poe and discovers that the Resistance has the map. Afterwards, when Poe escapes, he suspects that Finn was the one that helped him, so he discusses this with Hux.
Kylo and General Hux discussed about Finn's betrayal. Kylo stated that he does not trust Hux's soldiers training methods and that an army of clones would be better, but Hux disagreed. Kylo Ren and Hux were later called to Snoke, who questioned Hux about his plans to destroy the Resistance. Hux then stated that the Starkiller Base superweapon is ready for use, and exited the room with Snoke agreeing. Snoke told Kylo Ren that there had been an awakening. Kylo Ren was informed by Snoke that BB-8 is found in the Millennium Falcon, owned by his father Han Solo. As Kylo Ren says "he means nothing to me", Snoke replied that even for him it would be a big challenge, and stated that they would see who's right.
Kylo then talked to Darth Vader's helmet, seeking guidance to not be tempted by the light.
Kylo and Rey
Kylo Ren later went to find the droid with the map in Takodana. However, he meets Rey and realizes that she has seen the map. He gave up following the droid and decided to kidnap Rey. He takes her to the interrogation room and tied her up on the chair. He tried to interrogate her to extract the map from her mind by reading her thoughts. But he tells her he does not wish to harm her and upon sensing her discomfort he even takes off his mask for her. He reads her mind to find the map, and becomes intrigued by it. He discovers Rey's feelings of loneliness and her thoughts about his father, Han Solo. Rey manages to use her own power of the force to read Kylo's mind, sensing his fear of not being stronger as Vader.
Shocked by Rey's resistance, Kylo seeks Snoke and tells him that she has strong force powers, and that he would need his master's guidance to get the map. When Snoke asks for the droid, Hux appears and states that Kylo had gave up looking for the map the moment he decided that the girl was all they needed, so the Resistance may have the droid and the map already. When Kylo came back, he discovered that Rey had escaped, so he searched for her on the ship with some Stormtroopers.
Han later came with Rey and Finn to deactivate the generators in the base, so the base would explode and the First Order would no longer have their superweapon. Han spotted Kylo Ren, and called him by his old name "Ben". Kylo takes off his mask, and is almost convinced to come back to the light by his father. He tells Han that he is torn to pieces, and asks for his father's help to end the conflict within himself. Kylo offers his lightsaber to Han. However, due to corruption of the dark side caused by Snoke and Darth Sidious, he kills Han, as the darkness overtake his heart even more. He thanks his father as he thinks that his death would cause him to fall even further into darkness, ending his conflict. However, Han fondly touches his face, showing love towards his son as he fells off the bridge, and in this moment Kylo immediately feels regret for killing him.
Kylo vs. Finn and Rey
Kylo then followed Finn and Rey in the forest of the base. He battled and defeated Finn, calling him a traitor. Then, he fought Rey, who was disgusted with him because of Han's death, so she fought him with no mercy. During the battle, the Resistance destroyed the Starkiller's thermal oscillator, causing a huge earthquake in the planet-converted superweapon. In the middle of the battle, Kylo Ren corners Rey in the edge of a rift but instead of pushing her down, he offers to train Rey in the Force, showing that he actually has no intention to kill her. However, Rey uses his moment of hesitation to gather her strength in the Force and is able to retaliate his attacks and defeat him. But Rey does not have time to kill Kylo because a rift opens between them. Kylo Ren is then rescued by Hux and taken to Snoke, so he would finish his training.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Kylo's inner conflict
Kylo Ren is called in by Snoke, who calls him "a child with a mask", and begins to doubt about Ren's capacity, sensing that he is unbalanced since Han's death. Kylo Ren then tries to prove himself. He pilots his TIE silencer and attacks the Resistance's ship, the MC85 Star Cruiser Raddus. He is about to fire it but he stops when he senses that his mother, Leia, is aboard. Conflicted because he still has love for his mother, Kylo decides not to fire the ship, but then other First Order's TIE/sf fighters arrive and fire on it instead, almost killing Leia.
A mysterious connection with Rey
Later, Kylo finds out that he has a connection with Rey through the Force. They are able to see, talk and even touch each other through their Force bond. Rey and Kylo Ren manage to bond with conversations. In one of the connections, Rey asks Ren why he killed Han Solo. He reveals that he didn't hate his father. Kylo Ren states that Rey still sees him as a monster, and Rey angrily replies that she does. However, Rey later hears Ren's side of the night he turned to the dark side, and he explains to her that Luke tried to kill him.
In another connection, Rey is feeling lonely because she did not find answers about her parents, and Kylo tries to comfort her saying that she is not alone. Rey replies that he is also not alone and she offers her hand to him. Rey and Kylo touch hands, and they both have visions of each other. Rey manages to sense Kylo Ren's internal conflict. This moment is interrupted when Luke Skywalker walks in and sees them touching hands. Rey becomes furious and confronts Luke about the truth asking if he tried to murder Ben Solo, "creating" Kylo Ren. Luke confesses to her that he was in fact tempted after sensing the dark side within him but when he regretted it was too late as Ben saw him with the lightsaber ignited above his head. Luke warns Rey that Kylo Ren cannot be changed. However, after sensing his internal conflict, Rey believes he can change, and that she is the one that will bring him back.
Helping Rey against Snoke
Rey enters into a pod to meet Kylo Ren, determined to bring him back to the light and save him from Snoke. The pod enters Snoke's ship, and Kylo Ren himself finds her, and takes her to Snoke. Snoke reveals to both Rey and Kylo Ren that he has manipulated their bond to get to Skywalker. Snoke tortures Rey and then orders Kylo Ren to kill her. However, Kylo had developed strong feelings for Rey during their connections, so he saves her killing Snoke instead. Kylo and Rey then unite to fight Snoke's royal guards together.
Kylo Ren's proposal to Rey
Once the guards are defeated, Rey thinks that Kylo changed sides, and asks him to help her to save the Resistance. However, although he had developed genuine care for her, Kylo doesn't want to help the Resistance. He offers his hand and asks her to join him to rule the galaxy together, and create a new order in universe, letting all the past, including the Jedi, the Sith, the rebels, and all Snoke's and Luke's legacy die. Ren also reveals to Rey that her parents are nobodies who sold her for drinking money, and when he senses that she is hesitating to take his hand, he pleads her to join him, stating that she means something to him. Rey considers his offer but ends up refusing it. She and Kylo both try to reach the Skywalker lightsaber by using their force powers, as the two then are pushed back, and then the lightsaber breaks, knocking them both unconscious with the impact. Rey wakes up first and manages to escape, leaving an unconscious Kylo Ren behind.
Seeking revenge on Skywalker
Hux later enters the throne room, and is shocked when he realizes that Snoke is dead and Kylo Ren is unconscious. He tries to draw his weapon to kill Kylo, but stops when Ren suddenly wakes up. Kylo Ren tells Hux that he is going to "finish this", meaning that he intends to find and attack The Resistence. Hux at first disagrees on receiving orders from Ren, but Kylo Ren Force chokes him. Out of fear Hux accepts Ren as the new Supreme Leader.
They command an attack on the Resistance, under Hux's strategy to break into the cave where the Resistance are hiding. The First Order is about to break through the cave where the Resistance is, but as the troops and the AT-M6 and AT-AT walkers march forward, Luke Skywalker suddenly appears. Kylo Ren orders the troops to stop where they are. Under Ren's command, the troops start firing all of their munitions at Skywalker, but are quickly ordered by Hux to stop wasting their munitions. Kylo Ren then Force pushes Hux, leaving him unconscious. Ren exits his command shuttle and faces Skywalker alone. He then tells Luke that by killing him, he will end the Jedi. Luke however explains to him that he will not be the last Jedi, and that the Resistance will be reborn to eventually defeat him and the First Order. Kylo that is surprised to realize that Luke is actually projecting himself from the Ahch-To and that he came in order to sacrifice himself to delay the First Order's attack, and allow what remained of the Resistance to escape.
The First Order then enters the base that was abandoned by the Resistance and Kylo finds his father's dice on the ground. Meanwhile, Rey is helping the members of the Resistance aboard the Falcon. The Forces connects Kylo and Rey again and he stares her through their bond. However, Rey is frustated and disappointed with him, so she closes the Falcon's door, leaving a depressed Kylo Ren on the other side.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Kylo's deal with Sidious
Sometime after taking the position of the Supreme Leader, Kylo finds Vader's wayfinder that leads to Exegol. When he arrives there, a figure speaks to him from the shadows. It is no other than Darth Sidious. Kylo threats to kill the Sith Lord. However, Sidious seemingly offers him the command of the Sith Eternal's fleet, the Final Order, and the throne of the Sith in exchange of him killing Rey, but he is actually just using Kylo to get Rey. Kylo pretends to accept Sidious’ offer, but he has other plans in mind and has no wish to kill Rey.
Kylo summons his knights and rebuilds his old helmet. He then pursues Rey, making it seem to Hux, Pryde, and others in the First Order that he is following his deal with Sidious. However, as soon he is connected with Rey again, he warns her about Sidious wanting her dead and then asks why she rejected him in the throne room. Kylo is actually attempting to convince Rey to join him again, so they can kill Sidious and take the throne of the Sith together.
Dyad in the Force
In one of his encounters with her, when Rey enters Kylo's mothership and he tracks her through their bond, and reveals his true intentions to her, offering his hand again. He also tells Rey about her parents and her lineage, and that their Force bond is actually a dyad (a powerful unique connection not seen in generations, meaning that they are one in the Force). As Kylo and Rey are a Skywalker and a Palpatine respectively, by creating a bond between them the Force has made a powerful union able to defeat Sidious.
Rey is surprised by all the revelations, and very shaken upon discovering the truth about her Palpatine lineage. Rey feels tempted to join Kylo but then the Falcon appears and rescues her. Kylo Ren is then contacted by Sidious who suspects his betrayal and reminds him to kill Rey. As Kylo does not want to kill her, he replies to the Sith Lord that he will make sure that she will not become a Jedi, as he still cares for her and longs to have her by his side.
The last duel
Kylo follows Rey and finds her on the ruins of the second Death Star. Rey had just found the wayfinder that would lead her and her group to Exegol, but then she drops it, and is surprised to turn around and see Kylo Ren holding it. Kylo is determined not to let Rey go to face Sidious by herself, so he destroys the wayfinder, stating that the only way to go to Exegol is with him. Rey becomes furious and is forced to protect himself from Rey's wrath as he did other times in which they previously encountered.
They duel on the ruins and he manages to dominate the fight mostly defending himself and dodging from her attacks. However, Kylo senses his mother's death and lets his guard down, dropping his saber. In an act of rage, Rey grabs his lightsaber and impales him with it but then she also senses Leia. Rey lets go of her hatred and regrets harming Kylo, so she uses the Force to heal him, saving his life. She confesses her feelings for him, saying that she did want to take his hand, but that she wanted Ben's hand, not Kylo's. Rey then steals Kylo's TIE whisper, leaving him alone on the ruins.
Ben Solo returns
Ren then sees a vision of Han Solo, which is actually his own memory of his father. Han tells him that Kylo Ren is dead and encourages him to cut ties with the dark side. He becomes very emotional upon seeing his father again, and even close to tears as he tries to tell Han how he feels, but Han assures him that he knows. He then decides to throw his red lightsaber away into the ocean and becomes Ben Solo again. As his first action after coming back to the light, Ben decides to run and help Rey that went to face Sidious alone in Exegol.
Trying to save Rey from Sidious
Ben reveals his true colors and all the good within him, when he runs to Exegol determined to save Rey from Sidious. Rey is able to sense his arrival and how much he had changed. She becomes emotional when she realizes that he had come for her and she is inspired to fight Sidious and his Sith guards. She pretends to strike down the Dark Lord, but instead, she transfers the Skywalker lightsaber to Ben through their bond. Wielding his grandfather's lightsaber, Ben defeats the Knights of Ren and reunites with Rey in the throne room. However, upon seeing them together Sidious soon realizes that they are a dyad and decides to steal the energy of their connection to rejuvenate his body, causing Rey and Ben both to fall on the ground weakened and unconscious. Ben then wakes up and tries to stand again but Sidious uses the Force to throw him in a pit.
When Ben comes back from the pit, he finds a lifeless Rey on the ground. After Ben's fall, Rey had faced Sidious alone and used the last of her energy to defeat the Sith Emperor, but this act also killed her. Ben is heavily injured from the fall but he crawls towards Rey and holds her close to him. Ben hugs Rey and looks devasted by her death, but then he decides to revive her using his own life force. Ben puts his hand on Rey's belly and pours his energy into her and when she wakes up, she finally holds his hand. Upon waking up and seeing Ben, Rey smiles and Ben is close to tears to see her alive again. Ben and Rey give into their feelings for each other, sharing a passionate kiss, and then smile happily at each other. Right after, while still in her arms, Ben vanishes into the Force, giving and sacrificing his whole self to save the woman he loves.
As one side of him tries to fight darkness and is acceptable of his love for his family, he is influenced by dark side. The darkness overtakes him by it in the moment he kills and betrays his father Han Solo, although he still loved him. In spite of his conflict, he still serves the dark side and is unable to come back to his family because of the come back to his family because of his mind's corruption caused by Snoke and Palpatine. However, after killing Han, his inner turmoil only gets worse and he is overtaken by regret. Snoke humiliates him because of his feelings, calling a "child in a mask" for being sentimental. Because of this, he starts to feel disgust for his master, probably finally realizing how he is abusive towards him.
His Force bond with Rey also helps to reveal a more vulnerable side of him during their interactions. He is compassionate and understanding about her feelings of abandonment that seems to mirror a lot of his own. His feelings for her grow stronger as she reciprocates showing compassion to him. He eventually falls in love with her, which heavily influences his future decisions. He starts wishing to bring her to his side as a way to end his solitude. Later, her love is an very important encouragement for him to leave the dark side.
Rey along with his regret for Han's death, is what encourages him to kill Snoke. Afterwards, when his mother dies trying to reach him, Rey saves him and confesses that she did want him as Ben Solo, and his father's vision shows affection for him and encourages him to leave the dark side, Kylo finally feels forgiven and cared by the ones he loves the most. He decides to hear his loved ones and come back to the light, redeeming himself.
Kylo's actor, Adam Driver, states that Kylo Ren is not a true villain because he acts believing that what he is doing is right. In other words, Kylo is a determined yet obsessive character with a very tragic story.
- He is inspired by Jacen Solo, who is also a child of Han Solo and he is also dark.