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New Rise of Skywalker Clip Sheds Light on Kylo Ren

He's still a jerk tho!

This time a week from now, the first audiences will be seeing The Rise of Skywalker and getting the answer to one of the biggest and most controversial questions in the Star Wars universe: Will Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo) follow in his grandfather’s steps and find redemption?

A spoiler warning here if you haven’t watched the clip!

The latest clip, posted on the Star Wars facebook, from the highly anticipated film shows Kylo Ren stopping by an ice planet (because remember Star Wars planets only have one ecosystem) that might be the Sith temple, and hearing the voice of Emperor Palpatine telling him that every voice he’s ever heard in his head, which in this case literally includes Snoke and Darth Vader – was actually Palpatine.

Does this change things for Kylo? Despite being manipulated, he still, you know…killed his dad, blew up some planets and tried to kill his mom and…well, you get the idea. He’s not good. The idea that every evil in the Star Wars universe traces back to Palpatine is a tempting mythological idea but, it also seems like too easy a way to excuse actions.

I don’t mean to sound like The Good Place‘s Chidi Anagonye here, but Kylo – and Anakin – are still responsible for their own actions and villainy no matter how they were manipulated. Whether Kylo thought he was hearing voices from the beyond that belonged to his evil granddad or a giant floating Andy Serkis or whoever doesn’t excuse what he chose to do. Even a Sith lord doesn’t get to say “the devil Dark Side made me do it.”

It still also remains to be seen how Rey will figure into all of this. Is she connected to Palpatine too? If Palpatine is the grandmaster on the Dark Side, who is his equivalent on the Light? Qui Gon Jin? Yoda? Luke Skywalker? Is the titular rise of Skywalker the rise of Luke or Anakin or someone to a godlike status? Doesn’t that sort of go against all that “the Force is for everyone” ethos of The Last Jedi if this conflict comes down to a fight between to veritable god?

We’ll know soon enough, but if we’re looking for a real savior for the Light, I think we know who it is…

baby yoda sips soup

(via: Entertainment Weekly; Image: Disney/LucasFilm)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.