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Adam Driver Casts Doubt on Kylo Ren Redemption … From a Certain Point of View

No redemption for old Ren?

Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is only two weeks away, and it still seems like we know essentially nothing about this movie (unless you believe some of the “leaks” out there). That’s not too surprising, considering director J.J. Abrams is known for being pretty secretive as it is, and this movie has been billed as the culmination of and finale for several decades of Star Wars movies, but among our many questions about the movie is “Will Kylo Ren get a Darth Vader-style ‘redemption’?”

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Of course, no one is going to give away a detail that huge at this point, but Adam Driver raised an important point in the process of mostly dodging a question about it: What does Kylo Ren, in his own mind, need to be redeemed for? That’s almost exactly what he said when Entertainment Weekly asked him about the subject:

“What does he have to be redeemed for?” Driver shot back.

“[Kylo Ren] has a different identity, a different definition of what redemption is,” Driver says. “He’s already been redeemed in his story. I don’t think there is a thought of redemption. He doesn’t have an outside lens of the events, you know — you know what I mean? That’s more of an outsider’s view of his world.”

Um … maybe he should feel just a little remorseful about, you know, murdering his dad just so he could “let the past die,” but overall, the entire world—galaxy, rather—of Star Wars is at war. If, from Kylo’s point of view (Star Wars loves a good point of view difference), he’s on the Good Guy team, why would he feel any worse about anything he’s done than Rey and co. do? A big point in The Last Jedi was making it clear that, from Kylo’s perspective, he was the one who had been wronged.

However, that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t get what onlookers may consider a redemption, much like the grandfather he so seeks to emulate. It’s hard to make a case, from the movies alone, that Darth Vader had some major realization about the error of his ways. He was injured and beaten, and he had the choice of saving his own son or siding with his Sith master, who had just been egging his son on to kill and replace him.

Whether or not that’s as redeeming as anyone wants to believe it is, importantly, it makes sense not just from an outsider’s perspective—as Driver put it—but Luke’s cries for help directly appeal to Vader on a more tangible level than some idea of redemption in the grand scheme of things. So, while I’m sure Driver is right that Kylo doesn’t think he’s done anything that needs a redemption, that certainly doesn’t rule out that someone he cares about within the context of the story will convince him to do something that the rest of us might see as just that.

Now as for whether that’s something we want … your mileage may vary, but it’s hard to say it hasn’t already been hinted at, with his hesitance to kill Leia. Personally, I’d rather not see too much of a turnaround afforded to a character who has represented the kind of behavior Kylo has, with his entitlement, fits of rage, and negging, but if it’s done in a way that acknowledges that and says something satisfying about it, I could see it working, too.

We’ll find out on December 20!

(via Jedi News, image: Lucasfilm)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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