Heading into the theater to see the long-awaited The Last Jedi movie, Star Wars fans only know a few things about Kylo Ren for sure: 1. He is General Leia Organa and Han Solo's son. 2. His real name is Ben Solo. 3. He transferred to the Dark Side and trained with Supreme Leader Snoke, aiming to destroy the Resistance. 4. He has the same temperament as a brooding teenager who slams his door and screams "I HATE YOU, DAD! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME!" whenever he doesn't like what's for dinner. What fans still don't know is where Ben Solo got the name Kylo Ren and why he chose it as his new identity. The rest of this post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
So, do we get our answer in The Last Jedi? Do we learn exactly why Ben was changed to Kylo and Solo turned to Ren? In short, no. However, we are able to theorize a bit more with the new information we have.
First, a quick rewind: In A Force Awakens, fans learned many parts of Kylo's past, including who his parents are and that his birth name is an ode to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan Kenobi, as long-time fans of the franchise are aware of and consequently "awwww" over, was responsible for bringing Luke, Han Solo, and Leia together to stop the Death Star. It seems clear Leia and Han named their son Ben after him in the hopes he would grow up and be similar to his namesake, who was a light master of the Force. However, as we witnessed in A Force Awakens two years ago, Ben Solo is far from that.
In his younger years, Ben was trained by his uncle Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi. But as opposed to following in Uncle Luke's footsteps, Ben Solo was drawn to the Dark Side the same way his grandfather, Darth Vader, was. After joining the Dark Side, Ben Solo became Kylo Ren and killed Han Solo.
Although killing his own father is typically deemed as a "bad thing," many fans are still convinced Kylo could turn out to be good in the end. In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kylo ends up having a "good" moment with Rey that has fans questioning which side he really falls on.
Kylo saves Rey from Snoke and kills his Supreme Leader in the process. Seems like a good deed to me, but I'm not sure it totally outweighs the whole fathering-killing villain thing.
This scene in The Last Jedi does, however, back up another popular theory about the origin of Kylo Ren's name that proves he could end up being on the light side. While the name Ren is due to Kylo joining the Knights of Ren under Supreme Ruler Snoke, the name Kylo has fans hopeful for his "good" side.
This theory suggests that although Ben Solo desperately wanted to shed his entire upbringing and reinvent himself, he renamed himself a combination of the two "good" men in his life – a combination of Skywalker and Solo: sKYwalker + soLO = KYLO.
This concept was born in 2015 after Star Wars: A Force Awakens hit theaters, but it holds even more relevance now. As we see in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren still has a strong connection to the Force and the promise of his light side isn't totally gone.
We'll just have to wait for Star Wars: Episode IX to hopefully just get a casual throw away line about why he chose the name – à la the story of Rey's parents.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now in theaters.