'The Last Jedi' Will Make You Question Everything You Think You Know About Kylo Ren

by Alexandra Svokos

It's mid-December, which really only means one thing: It's Star Wars time. The Last Jedi finally hit theaters, and although opinions were always going to be mixed about the movie, it did give fans a lot to think about until Episode IX comes out in 2019 (so far away!!!). As always, the newest Star Wars dealt with questions of light and dark, and there was a primary focus on the question of if Kylo Ren is actually good or evil. There are spoilers ahead. Beware. You've been warned.

Kylo is arguably the most interesting character in the modern trilogy — thanks in no small part to Adam Driver's excellent work in the role. As we learned in The Force Awakens, Kylo, born Ben Solo, is the son of Han Solo and General Leia Organa, so he's got some pretty epic genes. However, Kylo went to the dark side, joining Supreme Leader Snoke in his quest to take down the Resistance. Then, in The Force Awakens, Kylo killed Han, his father, which is PRETTY MESSED UP.

That said, you'd think it's obvious that Kylo is evil. But, as The Last Jedi explores, that's not necessarily the truth. Kylo's character got even more interesting in the newest installment (Adam Driver! My man!).

The Last Jedi was full of breathtaking moments, but the biggest one for me was the first moment Kylo and Rey, who fought in The Force Awakens, suddenly connected through the force. Rey was able to see Kylo's surroundings from afar, but Kylo could only see Rey herself. Neither of them knew why this was happening (it was later revealed to have been a plot from Snoke). These force bridges happened several more times as Kylo was on a ship and Rey was on Ahch-To with Luke Skywalker.

Every time they had these bridges, Kylo and Rey had quick, but illuminating, conversations. They're coming from two clearly different sides, given that Rey is part of the Resistance, but they find ways to connect as they share stories about their Jedi training. In the most intense bridge conversation, Rey physically reaches out to Kylo, telling him that he still has the opportunity to move to the light side. They touch hands and each see visions of each other. Kylo later tells Rey that he saw her parents. Meanwhile, Rey says she saw Kylo's future, and that it included him being good. She then goes to the First Order ship to meet Kylo in person and try to get him to turn.

Instead, Rey is captured and tortured by Snoke. Snoke orders Kylo to kill her, but instead, Kylo kills Snoke (IT WAS CRAZY). So it appears, in that moment, that Kylo is good. Kylo and Rey team up to defeat the round of guards in Snoke's throne room. Once they're all defeated, it's just Kylo and Rey alone together. They both tell each other that they were hoping to turn each other. Rey wants Kylo to come help the Resistance.

Kylo then makes Rey an offer, and I want to focus on this in particular in the discussion of his morality. His offer is to not join the Resistance or the First Order. They should join together, tear everything down, and start again with a new universe order free from the old divides that led to such violence. (While trying to convince her, he uses a pretty standard abusive boyfriend line: No one cares about you, but I do.) Rey rejected this (and tried to steal his lightsaber).

So with that, the question of good or bad — in terms of the strict Star Wars-ian divide of light versus dark — is muddled. Based on his proposition to Rey, Kylo doesn't particularly want to be on either side. Instead, he wants to build a new universe order. (That said, that new order could very easily just go back to the same pitfalls the Star Wars universe always ends up in whenever anyone decides one person should be in charge of the galaxy.)

By the end of the movie, Kylo in his actions is pretty clearly evil (trying to kill Luke with all of the guns was, uh, a lot). But his intentions don't seem quite as clear.

Anyways, this is all to say I'm in love with Adam Driver? @ me, fanboys.