Kylo Ren's Real Name In 'Star Wars' Has A Lot Of History Behind It

Ad failed to load

Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought in $2 billion at the box office when all was said and done, with fans lining up to see it multiple times in the theater. But despite those numbers, parts of the story were clunky in their telling, such as the reveal that Kylo Ren was the son of Han Solo and Leia Skywalker Organa. Still, fans gasped when Kylo Ren's real name in Star Wars was finally revealed, and Han called out to him: "Ben!"

For those who were never that big into the Star Wars expanded universe novels and comics, the discovery that Han and Leia named their son Ben probably elicited an aww or three, as audiences realized they named him after good old Obi-Wan Kenobi. But the name "Ben Skywalker" is one that was already part of the original Star Wars canon. That is, he was a part of the expanded universe canon that was approved by Lucasfilm, back before it was bought by Disney, and the last thirty years of novels that covered the story of Episodes VII, VIII and IX were invalidated.

Not that Disney didn't have a good reason for wiping the slate clean. Since they were now going to make Episodes VII, VIII and IX themselves, having sanctioned novels that contradicted the new versions would never do. But fans hoped at least a few of the characters they loved might survive to appear on screen.

Ad failed to load

So, who was Ben Skywalker, before he was refashioned to become Ben Skywalker-Solo? He was the son of Luke and Luke's wife, Mara Jade. Leia wasn't the one who would name her son after Obi-Wan — she and Han barely knew the guy. Luke, on the other hand, would totally name his kid after his first mentor.

Ben was born to Luke and Mara Jade during the Yuuzhan Vong War, which both his parents fought in. (Mara Jade was also a Jedi.) Since they were both gone for long stretches, he spent many of his formative years living with Han and Leia. He was strong in the Force from the very beginning, and by the age of 8 was taken under the wing of his cousin, Jacen Solo, who informally trained him. During the Second Galactic Civil War, Ben, now 13, joined the Galactic Alliance Guard, which Jacen was the head of, in order to fight.

Ad failed to load

Unfortunately, Jacen had secretly turned to the dark side, and revealed himself as Darth Caedus, but not before murdering Mara Jade and taking over the Galactic empire. Devastated, Ben followed his father into exile.


One of the first things Disney did upon rewriting the Star Wars future was cut Mara Jade. Lucasfilm had been resistant to her from the beginning (Jedi are not supposed to marry), but gave in when novelist Timothy Zahn kept pushing for her.

Ad failed to load

With Luke having no longer married (at least as far as we know), Ben Skywalker now became the child of Han and Leia, instead of their nephew. Note though, the original Ben Skywalker was a good kid who had his heart broken when the older cousin he adored turned to the Dark Side. Now, it's Ben himself who is doing the turning.

In fact, what fans who read the novels have noticed is that Ben Skywalker-Solo hits many of the same notes as Jacen Solo. The storyline is completely different, of course, but the over-arching plot points — including taking over what remains of the Empire, betraying Luke and killing those he loved, followed by Luke going into exile — are the same.

That's why some believe that Rey will turn out to be a Skywalker as well. Though Ben Solo seems to have been an only child, Jacen was a twin. His sister, Jaina, was a superbly gifted Jedi who took to the lightsaber like a duck to water, and an ace pilot as well. Sounds a lot like a certain girl from Jakku that we know.

Ad failed to load

How many small details will the final trilogy in the Skywalker saga continue to pull from the dozens of now-defunct novels? Only time will tell.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters everywhere on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Luckily, It's All Good Things

Pat yourself on the back because you survived not only one but two major eclipses. The last few weeks have been one obstacle after another but you made it. You dealt with the pain, held it together, and prevailed. Now, your February 19, 2018 weekly h…
By Roya Backlund

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas

7 Subtle Red Flags About The Way The Person You're Dating Treats Other People

You've done it. Against all odds, you've found the seemingly perfect person. All of your dates have been amazing, filled with endless hours of deep conversation and sweet affections. And how is it possible that you have, like, everything in common? T…
By Lily Rouff

Opal Hair Is The Latest Color Trend & It's So 'Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century'

If you were a fan of the unicorn highlighters or mermaid hair hues that took over 2017, then you’re in for a treat. A new beauty trend has arisen and it's as fantastical as it gets. These photos of opal hair color prove that too much rainbow is never…
By Ariana Marsh