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Here’s Why Kylo Ren Isn’t a ‘Darth’

Are you more of a Darth or a Ren?

Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

An iconic and unforgettable villain like Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker leaves big shoes to fill for any new baddie trying to take over the galaxy. Vader’s all-black facade (complete with dramatic cape), blank mask, and respirator voice made him an intimidating figure. Plus, his rage-filled control of the Force meant he was always ready to Force-choke someone if they stepped out of line.

Logically, only someone more unhinged and dramatic could take Vader’s place as the terror of the galaxy (and the villain of our hearts). Vader’s own grandson, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, would follow in his grandfather’s dark side footsteps to make the dark side supreme. However, Kylo Ren never took on the name of Darth, even though he worshipped everything about the Sith that came before him. So, why didn’t he?

What is a “Darth”? A Darth in Star Wars, Explained

What is a “Darth” in Star Wars? The title of “Darth” belongs only to members of the Sith order. The Sith have a code, an inverse of the Jedi code, that they adhere to. They use the dark side of the Force in order to gain power over the galaxy and battle their eternal Jedi enemies. All Sith strictly follow the Rule of Two, which signifies that only two Sith ever exist at one timeā€”the master and their apprentice.

When Darth Sidious and Darth Vader died after the attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, it technically ended the Sith line. Although the Sith teachings and artifacts still existed, there were no more Darths left to train newcomers to the dark side.

Enter: The Knights of Ren, Explained

Without the Sith dominating the dark side, a power vacuum occurred. This opening led to the rise of The Knights of Ren. A mysterious figure named Ren created a sort of Force-sensitive motorcycle gang based on the reverence of lightsabers. All members must be Force-sensitive, but they are not formally trained in the Force as Sith are. They also have no real code of conduct other than causing chaos, doing what you want, and wearing all-black outfits with weird masks.

After becoming a disillusioned Jedi, Ben Solo joined the Knights of Ren under his chosen evil name of Kylo. During a duel, Kylo killed Ren and became the Master of the order. He also took the deceased leader’s name as his new last name (probably for street cred). Even though Kylo Ren uses a red lightsaber, harnesses the dark side of the Force, and wears a cape, he is not a Sith. Because of that, he can never hold the title of Darth. Instead, he was just a chaotic mess of the dark side (until he eventually found his way back to the light).

(feature image: Lucasfilm/Disney)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.