What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?

REYLO

It’s a term that’s been around since December 2015, when The Force Awakens hit the theaters. The onscreen chemistry between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) ignited two years of impassioned discussion among fans. Reylo (Rey + Kylo) is a thing. A thing. This post is likely to contain major spoilers. You’ve been warned.

This week, Jessica Lauren Draewell announced she’d won Disney and Lucasfilm’s The Last Jedi fan art contest with this image, which will be officially adopted into promotional material for the film. Yesterday, the new tv spot was released showing Rey wielding Kylo’s lightsaber (against Snoke, I hope). Say it with me: REY-LO.

I started supporting Reylo on Twitter a month after I joined in February 2016 to analyze, defend, and role-play Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. It’s been a bumpy ride. The amount of hate tweets thrown my way after I shipped Reylo was amazing. But enduring that social unpleasantry has come with rewards. Constantly defending my position has made me a better writer, given me confidence, and led to some lasting friendships with like-minded fans from around the world. And I’ve learned to chuckle when someone unfollows me when I tweet something Reylo. About half of my 1,000+ followers are Reylo shippers – people who believe in the power of love. Love against all odds.

Why do I think Reylo’s a thing? Simple. Love conquers all. It’s the human salve that heals all wounds. George Lucas set a precedence for featuring the power of love in his Star Wars sagas. In A New Hope, it was Han’s love for Leia that brought the selfish smuggler out of his looking-out-for-number-one attitude and awoke a sense of altruism in him, which led to the destruction of the Death Star. In the prequel series, Anakin Skywalker was denied love…and look what happened. Both Kylo and Rey weren’t loved enough as children. Both were abandoned — emotionally and physically. One of them found the strength to pull through on her own and the other did not. In the end, it’s her strength that’ll save the other, whether it’s romantic love or simple human compassion. Unconditional love.

And then there’s Adam Driver’s performance. In The Force Awakens, J. J. Abrams was in complete control of directing the delivery — facial expression, intonations, body language — of the actors. He was responsible for setting the mood of every scene. If he wasn’t happy with a performance, he would have asked an actor to do a scene over and over until he captured the delivery he wanted. So, if Abrams didn’t want Kylo Ren to be enamored with Rey, he would have looked for a different type of performance from Adam Driver.

Rey’s Abduction by Erik Maell

The first sign Kylo is taken with Rey is obvious before we even see his face. The scene comes at the end of their first confrontation, when he captures her in the forest of Takodona. What does he do? Instead of overpowering her with violent means — he doesn’t beat her up, cut off her blaster hand, or Force-choke her — he painlessly immobilizes her and, rendering her unconscious, he bridal-carries her to his shuttle. If his interest in her was solely as a prisoner, he would have just slunger her unconscious body over his shoulder and hauled her — unceremoniously — away. Or he would have left her for a stormtrooper to carry. But Kylo Ren picks Rey up like a lover.

Next, there’s the interrogation scene. Oh boy. Why Rey is still unconscious, we see him crouching in a corner, watching her. He’s already put her on a pedestal, making himself look smaller and less intimidating to her when she awakes. He didn’t do that with Poe. And he does little things to make her feel less threatened. He loosens her restraints and takes off his helmet so she can see he’s human. When he pushes into her mind, he goes gently (gee, like a considerate bridegroom on a wedding night!) whereas he just ripped into Poe’s mind. He instantly tunes into her feelings and respects them. “You’re so lonely. So afraid to leave.” He identifies with her, because he feels the same way. He’s alone, incredibly lonely, and wants desperately to go home, although he won’t admit it to himself. Then when she manages to turn the tables and gets inside his mind, he’s genuinely hurt. He’s taken aback and feels betrayed.

Fast forward to their next and last encounter, to the fight on Starkiller, where he doesn’t kill her but offers to train her. But let’s back up to the beginning of the scene where he confronts Rey and Finn as they try to escape. I don’t think he meant to slam Rey into a tree. He’s wounded, bleeding, enraged, in shock, in pain, and exhausted. His ability to control the Force is diminished to be sure. He can’t Force-summon the Skywalker lightsaber and it flies to Rey instead. But Ren is still a force to be reckoned with (pun intended). He could cut Finn to pieces, but he doesn’t. If he does, he’d never stand a chance with Rey. Once Finn is down, he could still kill Rey since she hasn’t tapped into the Force yet, but he doesn’t. He’s fascinated by her. Adam Driver puts it this way: “He has been aware of this ability in himself from such a young age, and I don’t think there’s a lot of people around him who are on the same level. I think there is something familiar there [in Rey], as well as something to be feared, or something…that he can’t quite place.” (Entertainment Weekly).

He’ll Never Be as Strong as Darth Vader

Do we have a suggestion from Driver that Ben and Rey knew each other in the past? I’m still hanging onto that theory, which is only made stronger in the novelization where Kylo murmurs, “It IS you,” when the lightsaber goes flying into Rey’s hand. The narrative continues in the novel: “His words unsettled her: Not for the first time, he seemed to know more about her than she did about herself.” (Foster, 2015, p. 250-251). After seeing the tv spot yesterday with the massive spoiler (Kylo’s lightsaber in Rey’s hand), I’m wondering if Kylo hasn’t had a Force-forward vision of this moment. She’s either going to overpower him again or partner with him in The Last Jedi or both. As EW suggests, the danger isn’t in Kylo Ren and Rey becoming enemies, it’s becoming allies — a danger for Snoke, or a danger that they’ll both fall into the dark side and overpower the galaxy together. Snoke has it coming though. 🙂

Another piece of evidence for Reylo is that every image in Rey’s Force-vision in The Force Awakens is that has something seemingly  to do with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren:

  • Darth Vader battles Luke on Bespin. (Ben wants to be as strong as Darth Vader and overpower/overshadow his Jedi uncle)
  • The boy at the end of the hall. (Many fans think the little boy is Ben).
  • The Knights of Ren in the rain. (Kylo kills one to spare Rey).
  • Luke and R2-D2 before the burning temple/academy. (Kylo destroys it).
  • “I’ll come back for you, sweetheart! I promise!” (This scene doesn’t appear in the film but in the novelization — a voice calls out to her from the woods and she’s desperate to find the person. A Force-forward vision of separation from Kylo-Ben in the future…or in the past? Since Rey was left on Jakku at about age 5, Ben would have been about 15. “Sweetheart” isn’t a word a teenage boy would typically use, even if he had a soft spot for one of Luke’s padawans. But Padawan Ben Solo may have been connected to whoever abandoned Rey. I explored this idea in a series of stories in my fanfic.)
  • Kylo Ren igniting his fiery lightsaber  in the woods of Takodana, where he captures Rey and the two become aware of each other again.

On December 2, 2016, Director Rian Johnson tweeted an image of a red

We Are Parallel Lines by quinndallin

thread to tease the Reylo fans. It’s in reference to The Red Thread of Fate, also referred to as The Red Thread of Marriage. According to Wikipedia, “the two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.” Just like a Force-bond, which is a strong connection in the Force between two Force-sensitive beings. In the novelization, Rey’s seen Kylo in dreams, visions, and nightmares before she’s captured by him. When he encounters her, the layers of the dark side that have shrouded Ben Solo start to peel away like an onion.

Will Kylo and Rey join forces? It may be too soon for them to join up in The Last Jedi. Entertainment Weekly points out, “He hates her. This girl. This garbage picker. This amateur who somehow drew his family lightsaber to her hand [and now his!], overpowering his own bond with the Force. And yet, Adam Driver says Kylo Ren can’t help but harbor an admiration for Daisy Ridley’s Rey. (This probably burns at Kylo too). (p.27) As for Rey, she hates Kylo for murdering the father she never had. All she’s ever wanted is family, so she can’t comprehend why someone would murder his own father. But “when Rey feels rejected by Luke Skywalker, who also sees parallels between the power in her and the abilities of his estranged nephew, he inadvertently pushes them toward each other.” (EW, 2017, p. 27) Rey feels this bond with Kylo that even Luke cannot sense.

Here’s how I think The Last Jedi may play out in regards to Kylo and Rey:

  • Snoke sends out a siren song to Rey, and she comes before him either of her own accord (“Resist it Rey!”), or Kylo manages to capture her again and brings her to his master.
  • Snoke tortures Rey and awakens — again — Kylo’s compassion, and he manages to save her, possibly at his own expense.
  • Either he throws his lightsaber to her, or he’s incapacitated, and she summons it to her and manages to escape.
  • Either they’ll be separated again at the end of Episode VIII (and come together again in Episode IX), or they’ll come together at the last minute in VIII and form Team Reylo on a cliffhanger in the battle against Snoke.
  • The battle will continue in Episode IX and cannot be won until they’re a united team.

Whether romantic or platonic, you can’t deny the truth that is Reylo.

Your Place is Here with Me by Panda Capuccino

@MyKyloRen     8 December 2017

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Foster, A.D. (2015). Star Wars: The Force awakens. New York: Del Rey.

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Up in Snoke

Opulent Leader by John Burns

“When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power, and beyond that something truly special.” Powerful words from the creepy and elusive Supreme Leader Snoke. In the second trailer for The Last Jedi, he says them as images flash by of Kylo Ren leading troops into the Resistance base (the shot parallels Anakin Skywalker leading troops into the Jedi temple), a closeup of Ren’s helmeted head, and another of his hand picking up a refurbished lightsaber. The sentiment — yes sentiment! — is also reflected in this passage from the novelization of The Force Awakens, where Snoke tells Ren:

“I have never had a student with such promise — before you.”

Ren straightened. “It is your teachings that make me strong, Supreme Leader.”

Snoke demurred. “It is far more than that. It is where you are from. What you are made of. The dark side — and the light. The finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials. He must have something pure, something strong, something unbreakable, with which to work. I have — you.” (Foster, 2015, p.139).

Meanwhile on Ahch-To, Luke’s meditation exercise with Rey also takes in the big picture.  We hear him encourage Rey in The Last Jedi teaser trailer:

Luke: Breathe. Just, breathe. Now, reach out. What do you see?

Rey: Light. Darkness. The Balance.

Luke: It’s so much bigger!

Both our protagonist (Luke Skywalker) and our antagonist (Snoke) recognize that the Force is something more than a dichotomy of dark and light. They’ve got the universe figured out. Director Rian Johnson referred to Kylo and Rey as “two halves of our protagonist.” I’ll get into the yin and yang of our facing-off Force-sensitives next time when I do my Reylo post, but Episode VIII is going to be the start of the showdown between Luke and Snoke.

In The Last Jedi tv spot #6 (they’re getting spine-chillingly darker), Rey’s answer to Luke was revised to:

Rey: Light. Darkness… and something else. [helplessly] It’s calling me!

That something else is Snoke.

Luke: [frantically urges] Resist it, Rey!

So, who is Supreme Leader Snoke? When I first saw the character, I thought, “WTF? Who would follow that?” First of all, he’s a hologram of a being who’s somewhere in the Outer Rim Territories, lurking in the shadows, oozing out of black holes (or, that’s my image of Snoke, anyway). Most of his followers have probably never seen him in the flesh, but we will in The Last Jedi. And it’s flesh that’s regenerating through Project Regeneration after having suffered major trauma. Snoke’s legacy of pain and anger manifests and focuses itself on the Resistance. He will make them suffer.

Entertainment Weekly caught up with actor Andy Serkis who does the voice and motion capture for Snoke: “Serkis describes a cruel master, a 9-foot-tall alien humanoid who disparages and dominates his two lieutenants: Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson.) He’s a predator who identifies weakness and exploits it, drawing the young and promising to his side with promises of power, then using and discarding his protégés when they are no longer of use.” Unless Kylo regains his strength (I vote for joining forces with Rey) and his good-standing with his omnipotent master, Supreme Leader will crush him. “His training of Kylo Ren is not yielding what he wants,” Serkis says. “Therefore his anger towards Kylo Ren is intensified because he can’t bear weakness in others. Part of the manipulation is goading him with Hux and playing them off against each other.”

You have compassion for her….It isn’t her strength that is making you fail, but your weakness! (Foster, 2015, p.  207)

As EW and other sources have reported, we won’t get much of Snoke’s backstory in The Last Jedi (gee, I guess that’s an invitation for me to continue to write it!) But it’s been hinted that The First Order is superbly funded by the casino city of Canto Bight. So, that explains why Snoke dresses like Liberace playing Vegas with his long, golden smoking jacket and fat black kyber crystal ring. He can afford the best cryogenic and medical procedures. So, who is he and what in the Force happened to him? Here are some fan theories I think have possibility:

  • Zombie theory: He’s Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious), Darth Plagueis, Vitiate, some other Sith Lord, or an ancient Jedi brought back to life.
  • Clone theory: He’s the clone of Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious), Darth Plagueis, some other Sith Lord, or an ancient Jedi.
  • Force-entity theory: He’s some sort of being born out of a corruption in the Force, a manufactured monster.
  • Shaman theory: He’s a Shaman of the Whills.
  • Essence-transfer theory: He’s a Sith Lord body-snatcher.

I’ve based my stories so far on the last one, but I think any of these backstories would be awesome for the character. It would make sense if he were Darth Sidious, Darth Plagueis, or Vitiate, because all of these Sith Lords were obsessed with finding immortality and exploited other life forms and the Force to achieve it. In the end, they failed…or, we think they failed. However, Snoke’s regenerating form doesn’t resemble any of these Siths. And in the November issue of Empire, Andy Serkis states that Snoke is not a Sith, which means the character isn’t following any Sith traditions. Still, he could originally be a Sith lord who’s transferred his/her essence into a new body.

Throughout the history of the Sith, they’ve had this problem that the more powerful their dark-side powers become, the more their physical bodies start to deteriorate (there’s always a price to power). Hence the need to find new bodies. Snoke is obviously having corporeal problems, so I’m sticking to my essence-transfer theory, although he’s now found a way to revive his crushed and decaying body. He’s lived for a very long time that way. In the novelization of The Force Awakens, he tells Kylo Ren: “I watched the Galactic Empire rise, and then fall. The gullible prattle on about the triumph of truth and justice, of individualism and free will. As if such things were solid and real instead of simple subjective judgments.” (p. 139)

One thing that’s hinted at in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig and in Rey’s Survival Guide is that the Empire had a secret research facility on Jakku. Perhaps this facility was dedicated to keeping Palpatine alive and conducting experiments with essence-transfer. Andy Serkis calls Snoke “darker than Palpatine.” That doesn’t surprise me. Palpatine for years had a network of observatories throughout the galaxy, “each one being part of his goal to find out what laid beyond the known galaxy.” I think this is where Snoke comes from — the Unknown Regions of space, from beyond the galaxy. He may have come through one of the observatories and used it like a portal. They were supposed to be destroyed on the Emperor’s death. As told in Battlefront II, Luke Skywalker visited the Pillio Observatory a year before Ben Solo was born and found the Emperor’s compass, which we’ll see in The Last Jedi. Speculation is that it’s that compass which led Luke to the first Jedi temple on Ahch-To.

In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren suggests to General Hux after FN-2187 defects that the First Order may want to consider using a clone army. Kylo is familiar with the merits of clones. So, what if Snoke has his own clone factory in Palpatine’s Jakku observatory, replicating a supply of fresh bodies for him to inhabit? And what happens when the clone bodies are no longer strong enough to handle his powerful essence? Perhaps transferring his essence to a corpse (from which life can’t be drained) might be a better start. I explored those ideas in this story.

So, considering all these possibility, this is the Snoke theory I’ve incorporated into my stories:

The creature known as Supreme Leader Snoke is a powerful being from beyond the known regions of space. He’s had or has more than one student and he possesses strong dark side knowledge. He’s damaged, crippled, and vulnerable, but he’s building up his strength to some day rule the galaxy (or universe). That’s why he needs Kylo — in body and soul — as his enforcer. But he needs access to the light to survive and to become immortal. That’s why he needs Rey. That’s why he needs them both — power and life. “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power (Kylo), and beyond that something truly special (Rey)….Darkness rises and light to meet it.”

Life is power.

Who or whatever Snoke is, he had his eye on baby Ben Solo while Leia was carrying him. Check out this passage from Empire’s End:

“Leia.”

Her name, spoken in the dark.

Luke. She reaches for him but doesn’t find him.

The dark, now lit with stars. One by one, like eyes opening. Comforting at first, then sinister as she worries, Who is out there, who is watching us? Hands reach for her, hands of shadow, lifting her up, reaching for her throat, her wrists, her stomach —

Inside, the child kicks. She feels her baby turning inside, right-side up and upside down, struggling to find his bearings, trying so hard to find his way free of her.” (p. 105)

Creepy, no? Snoke’s on his own jihad against the Resistance, gathering promising young Force-sensitives to him. In the December 2017 issue of GQ, Adam Driver was interviewed: “‘We talked about terrorism a lot,’ Driver says of his early conversation with Abrams and Johnson about his character. ‘You have young and deeply committed people with one-sided education who think in absolutes. That is more dangerous than being evil.’” Like ISIS, Snoke is swaying the young, isolated, and vulnerable to do his bidding and to build his power base.

According to The Art of The Force Awakens, Snoke almost became a female character (p. 212). I think it would be awesome if Snoke’s battered body continued to regenerate to reveal a beautiful woman. Given Ben’s sensitivity and lack of bonding with a father-figure, I think little Ben would have readily responded to a surrogate mother — a replacement for Leia who wasn’t there enough for him. Enter Amanda Snoke in my stories, who looks a lot like Captain Phasma — because they’re a line of Snoke’s clone bodies — one to lure Ben into the First Order and one to keep him there. So far in my fanfic, Snoke is inhabiting the body of the Amanda clone as Dr. Amanda Snoke, a child psychologist who becomes Ben’s court-appointed guardian when he gets into trouble and the Solos lose custody of their son. Dr. Snoke nurtures and guides him as a good guardian should, but when Ben becomes a young man, she seduces him and introduces him to the Acolytes of the Beyond and the Knights of Ren. After the release of The Last Jedi, I’ll continue the storyline.

Role-playing Kylo Ren on Twitter, I used to unplug Snoke’s holoprojector a lot and then throw Hux under the bus. Well, that obviously didn’t stop Supreme Leader. He’s back and he’s pissed. But there’s still hope if we just unplug that regenerating machine.

Quick!

@MyKyloRen  1 December 2017

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Fry, J. (2015). Rey’s survival guide. White Plains, NY: Studio Fun International, Inc.

Foster, A. D. (2015). Star wars: The Force awakens. New York: Del Rey.

Szostak, P. (2015). The art of Star Wars, The Force Awakens. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Wendig, C. (2017). Empire’s end: book three of the Aftermath trilogy. New York: Del Rey.

More Than a Feeling

WHO IS IN CONTROL?

Petulant. Volatile. Childish. Moody. Emo. Conflicted. These adjectives are frequently used to describe Kylo Ren. Adam Driver called the character he plays “adolescent.” Under Snoke’s ever-present shadow, Ben Solo’s emotional development stopped in adolescence. Director Rian Johnson explains to Empire, “Writing Kylo Ren is just so much fun. Star Wars boils down to the transition from adolescence to adulthood.” We followed Luke’s transition in the original series. In the prequels, Anakin Skywalker struggled to make the transition and only did so moments before his death in Episode IV. In Episode VIII, it’s Kylo, Rey, and Finn’s turn.

“We can all relate to Kylo,” Johnson continues, “to that anger of being in the turmoil of adolescence and figuring out who he’s going to be as a man; dealing with anger and wanting to separate from his family. He’s not Vader — at least, he’s not Vader yet — and that’s something I really wanted to get into.”

In these series of posts, I’ve been taking a look at Kylo’s conflicts — everything he’ll need to overcome if he’s to survive. And if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, Kylo is Kylo’s own worst enemy. Even Snoke, in one of his action-figure lines, tells his pupil, “Your emotions have made you weak.”

It’s Too Late by Missstreelight

Emotions will be the fuel for Kylo’s character arc. He’s going to have to master them. And that task is overwhelming for anyone who is highly sensitive. People with a high level of sensitivity have delicate nervous systems, register more nuances in color, sound, taste, smell, and touch. They can easily become over-stimulated and feel the need to frequently withdraw, but they are also capable to deep happiness in serene surroundings where they can control the level of sensory input.

I imagined in this story teenage Ben Solo becoming overwhelmed with the world. Although his parents never told him Vader was his grandfather, legends of the Sith Lord — with his iconic helmet — became a source of strength for him. If the sensitive teen wanted to shut out the world, one thing he might do is start wearing a helmet to dull his senses. As a youngster who was bullied for being sensitive, it’s not difficult to see Ben spending hours secretly pretending he’s Vader. But…he doesn’t have to pretend he can Force-choke those who annoy him.

Ok. So, why do I think Kylo Ren is highly sensitive and not your typical dark side baddie? Let’s look at the evidence. First of all, actor Adam Driver is highly sensitive. He’s naturally aloof and doesn’t like to be hugged. In Vanity Fair, Mark Hamill confirms that Driver is “moody and intense.” He’s not comfortable giving interviews and having to speak off the cuff. He’s a true introvert, and like all actors, he brings his own personal traits to the characters he portrays. He’s made a career out of turning “naked vulnerability into unconventional stardom…by challenging the usual ideas of both heroes and villains,” says The Verge. Driver divulged in the same Vanity Fair article, “There’s big personal things that I find about every character…that you have to make as personal as possible.” About becoming Kylo Ren, he said, “The things about that character that I find painful, I kind of prefer to keep to myself.” I suspect some of those things have to do with Adam’s relationship with his biological father (who is divorced from his mother) or stepfather.

And his father is something Kylo’s going to be focused on in The Last Jedi. Han Solo may not be appearing as a Force Ghost (he’s not a Force-user and lacks the training), but he’ll be haunting his son nonetheless. Will Kylo commit matricide, offering a viable explanation for Carrie Fisher’s absence in Episode IX? Assuming these shots go together, my hunch is no. Remember, Rian Johnson said Kylo isn’t Vader (yet). I don’t think he has the fortitude to kill his mother. I’m also encouraged by the helmet-smashing scene and interpreting it as a “f*ck this!” moment. If it is, this might be the moment were Ben Solo awakens and stakes his first steps to sever his ties with Snoke (if that’s possible). Of course, the scene could be an “I’ll show you!” moment, where Kylo decides he doesn’t need to hide behind the mask anymore: “I don’t need this f*ckin’ thing to be a badass!” Either way, expect tear-filled eyes, hard swallows, and lip-biting onscreen from Adam Driver throughout The Last Jedi.

Where the character ends up at the end of Episode VIII depends on who is in control — Kylo Ren or Ben Solo.

 

@MyKyloRen   24 November 2017

All You Need is Love

THE EMPATH

Ben Solo felt like he never fit in. He couldn’t understand why his parents were so unlike him. When he was little, he’d look up at the stars and wonder where he came from and where his real parents were. “They’ll be back,” he told himself, “one day.” But instead, Snoke came. Snoke came to prey upon the boy’s link to the Force, the undying life-energy the alien needed to maintain his immortality and his power.

That’s what narcissists do — they prey on empaths. And without a doubt, every emperor throughout history — on Earth and in a galaxy far, far away — was a narcissist. Narcissists are energy vampires. They use false empathy to get what they want. They’re incapable of real empathy or love, and they’re very persuasive charmers who know how to seduce those who are sensitive and attentive to the feelings of others. Anything they give always comes with strings attached. And for Ben Solo, the strings Snoke has attached to him are far-reaching and unbreakable…up until now.

In this series of posts, I’ll take a closer look at what makes Ben Solo Kylo Ren, what got him into the mess he’s in. If he’s going to escape Snoke’s clutches — and he does want to; the “Supreme Leader is wise” line is false bravado — Kylo will need to face his vulnerabilities and adopt strong, enduring protection strategies. These vulnerabilities aren’t weaknesses per se. With the right training, he can use them to his advantage and to the advantage of the galaxy. But at the beginning of The Last Jedi, he’s standing at a crossroads. He’s facing the worst dilemma he’s ever faced. Does he push further into the darkness, or turn back?

A couple paragraphs ago, I suggested that Kylo Ren is an empath. Huh? How can that be? He’s killed people in cold blood! He killed his own father! All true, but — and this is what doesn’t make him a psychopath — he regrets it. He feels remorse and he feels, intensely, the emotions of others — particularly Snoke’s.

Let’s back up. What’s an empath? Empaths are highly sensitive individuals who recognize, relate to, and physically feel in their own bodies the emotions and pain of others. As an interrogator, that’s what makes Kylo Ren so effective. He can instantly tell when someone’s lying or withholding information. Kylo is extremely intuitive and can sense energy around him. Emotions are energy. And he can do this without tapping into the Force. Why? Because he has an intensely reactive neurological system and he lacks the normal filters most people have to block stimulation. He’s a human radar for any type of sensory input. To him, the world is supercharged with fascinating — and overwhelming — details. It’s like he has 50 fingers on each hand, 10 pairs of eyes, 20 pairs of ears, 8 noses, and 12 tongues. And within his brain, he has a hyperresponsive mirror neuron system.

Dr. Judith Orloff states, “Researchers have discovered a specialized group of brain cells that are responsible for compassion. These cells enable everyone to mirror another person’s pain, fear, or joy….In contrast, psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists are thought to have what science calls ‘empathy deficit disorders.’” (2017, p. 9-10).

What did Snoke reprimand his pupil for in regards to the girl? “You have compassion for her….I perceive the problem. It isn’t her strength that is making you fail. It’s your weakness!” (Foster, 2015, p. 207-208).

Spoken like a true psychopath. But Supreme Leader is right. Compassion for the enemy is a bit of a problem for the First Order.

And yes, Kylo has compassion for Rey — a lot of compassion. He senses her loneliness, her feelings of abandonment, her longing for family, and he deeply resonates those feelings. She’s an orphan with incredible resilience and he’s totally fascinated by and enamored with her. What’s more…he knows her from somewhere in the past, but he can’t quite put his finger on it. More about that plot possibility when I post my predictions for Reylo just prior to the release of The Last Jedi.

Kylo also displays his empathic abilities when he hones in on the distraught FN-2187 (Finn), the stormtrooper who can’t bring himself to fire on the helpless villagers. Kylo stops and slowly turns to stare at the him on the way back to his shuttle. If you look carefully at that scene, you’ll notice Kylo doesn’t actually see FN-2187 commit treason. He can’t at that angle with the range of vision his helmet provides. Trust me, I cosplay in a replica of the bloody thing. Plus, his peripheral vision is also blocked by the hood. Kylo has to actually turn his head to see the trooper just standing there — long after the villagers were gunned down. First Ren senses something’s wrong through the Force, so he stops. What makes him turn towards Finn (as opposed to somewhere else) is his ability to sense the trooper’s anguish. It gives the dark lord pause, but he doesn’t do anything about the fact that FN-2187 is disobeying orders. If the trooper had been facing Darth Vader, Vader would have Force-choked him. So, why doesn’t Kylo act as Vader would? After all, he wants to be the new Vader, right?

I think Kylo doesn’t punish FN-2187 because he feels what the trooper feels — that he doesn’t belong in the First Order and he secretly wants to leave. That’s why Lor San Tekka makes him so angry when he says, “The First Order rose from the dark side. You did not.” San Tekka is like a parent telling a teenage child, “You’re better than this. You don’t belong with this gang.” Kylo knows it’s true, but he’s in too deep. It’s too late. He’s stuck. All he can do is scream, “I’ll show you the dark side!”

Maybe Kylo reports FN-2187 to Captain Phasma later, but I can’t believe Phasma didn’t notice FN-2187’s problem herself. That’s her job. She gave the firing squad the order. She confronts the trooper not long after the execution of the villagers, but we don’t know if it’s because Phasma knew about the issue herself, or FN-2187’s unit or Kylo ratted on him. Interestingly, it’s Kylo Ren who identifies FN-2187 as the traitor who stole a TIE and helped Poe Dameron escape before General Hux and Phasma do. Ren does this because he’s an empath. He senses the turmoil in Finn…and he has a certain amount of compassion for him because he understands that turmoil. He doesn’t even kill Finn in the final skirmish. He just incapacitates him. If he wanted to ensure Finn was dead, he would have run him through or cut off his head.

So, how can Ren have compassion for Rey and Finn and not the villagers? Simple. He can’t get away with letting the villagers live. He had to make an example of them. But he can let one nonfunctioning trooper slip through his fingers. As for Rey, he’s found a kindred spirit. It’s written large all over his face — before she slashes it, that is.

But there are bacta tanks and badass bandaids for that.

 

@MyKyloRen   17 November 2017

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Foster, A. D. (2015). Star wars: The Force awakens. New York: Del Rey.

Orloff, J. (2017). The empath’s survival guide: life strategies for sensitive people. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

Luke, I’m Your Nephew

“His Jedi training with Luke Skywalker ended in tragedy when, seduced by the dark side, he betrayed the other students and became responsible for their destruction.” That’s the official wording in Star Wars: Galactic Maps (p. 15). Other licensed sources day the same thing. Ben Solo “destroyed” Luke’s Jedi academy. And Kylo Ren “destroyed” Ben Solo. It does not say Ben killed his fellow students. True, he might have slain them. It doesn’t say he didn’t, but logically it doesn’t make sense. We don’t know how many students made up the academy or their ages and abilities. Statistically speaking, some students were probably older than he was, some were likely younger. With a range of ages, or if the students were all about the same age, they could have ganged up on Ben and defeated him. The only way he could have single-handedly slaughtered them all is if they were younglings — like Vader did — who didn’t stand a chance. Or if he had help, say from the Knights of Ren or Snoke. Instead, all the official wording places the students’ destruction on Ben’s shoulders. And Kylo Ren, as a fully-formed character, is never referred to as “Jedi Killer.”

And where was Luke Skywalker when this destruction went down? Until I saw the second trailer for The Last Jedi, where we catch a glimpse of Luke’s mechanical hand thrusting out of the fiery rubble, I’d always thought he was absent when Ben betrayed the students, that he returned with R2-D2 to find the temple/academy up in flames, as we see in Rey’s Force vision. Of course, the two scenes might not go together. But the cinematography fits. But after hearing Luke say in the second trailer, “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now,” I don’t think he wasn’t able to stop his young nephew, or…he was unwilling to.

So, it’s a given Ben destroyed the academy — reduced it to ashes — but I think he betrayed the students by leading them astray, turning them against Luke, and the teachings of the Jedi. He became a pied piper, turned them to the dark side, and recruited them for Snoke’s evil purposes. In this story, Ben’s discovered the writings of Darth Plagueis — the Sith who groomed Palpatine (Darth Sidious), who in turn seduced Anakin Skywalker to the dark side. There’s great knowledge in Plagueis’ journals, from heinous experiments to arcane arts — things deliberately kept from public knowledge and from Luke’s students. It’s all too tempting and Padawan Ben Solo can’t wait to share it.

But Ben and Luke weren’t always at odds. Luke was probably enthusiastic to train his nephew in the beginning. Luke, after all, possesses a great deal of compassion and understanding. He saw tremendous potential in his nephew. But what he failed to comprehend was the depth of Ben’s powers, and the hurt that fueled them, not to mention the influence of Snoke.

Young Ben initially got along well with his uncle — someone who wasn’t his parents and who had a great interest in him and could teach him many exciting things. Luke and Ben crossed the galaxy together, looking for Jedi artifacts. But as time went on, Ben became less enamored with the Jedi tradition. It was incomplete. It wasn’t the whole story. He wanted to know more. He wanted to know how the Force worked. His hunger for knowledge is insatiable. Knowledge is power.

In the canon novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which follows the life of Senator Leia Organa during the year ABY 31, three years before the events of The Force Awakens, Luke and Ben are on a journey and out of comm range. Perhaps they’re seeking the first Jedi temple together. Ben was born in ABY 5, so his betrayal of Luke didn’t occur before Ben was 26 (before ABY 31). With Snoke’s prodding from the shadows, Ben was skilled at keeping dark side knowledge he’d gained a secret and, with it, his true motives hidden from Luke. Now that we’ve heard Luke’s astonishing declaration, “It’s time for the Jedi to end,” it makes sense that Luke wanted to return to the original teachings of the Jedi. Perhaps he felt Jedi teachings and practices had been corrupted by galactic politics.

Luke’s had the wind knocked out of him while trying to reign in and guide his volatile nephew. Has the Jedi Master turned to the dark side? Hell no. He already faced and survived the biggest showdown with the dark side, so he’s not going to be tempted now. According to Disney Rewards Insider, Mark Hamill revealed, “In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him. But it’s still an incarnation of the character I never expected. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It’s a real challenge.” (www.syfy.com)

So, does Luke mean it’s time for the Jedi — as we know them — to end? That’s the most likely interpretation, but I think it’s bigger than that. I’ll get into my theory about the upcoming drama in my post on the Force — what it is, and what shocking things might be revealed to our heroes and villains who tinker with it. After all, what you don’t know might hurt you!

In one my stories, I imagined Luke wanting to destroy the Jedi teachings he felt were dangerous, misleading, or misguided. Kylo Ren, on the other hand, wants to devour that knowledge — right or wrong. He believes it contains secret power, and while he was a Padawan, he went with his uncle to secretly collect and preserve it. All this time, Ben has been acting as an agent and spy for Snoke, whether he realizes it or not.

In the end, things come to a head between Ben — now taking the name Kylo Ren — and the Jedi Master. They argue over ideals, morals, and personal convictions, as in this story. But interestingly, there’s been no suggestion from official sources that there was a showdown between them. No dramatic duel that sent Luke into hiding. Instead, Luke’s retreat into the hermit life seems to be self-inflicted. Current speculation is that he’s taken the Barash Vow, which is “an oath taken by Jedi who completely refrained from all activities related to their order as a form of penitence, disengaging from anything but the Force itself,” according to Wookieepedia. In the Darth Vader Marvel comics series, Vader is hunting down Jedi who escaped execution during Order 66, like those who had taken the Barash Vow and were in seclusion. The idea that Luke went into seclusion over his perceived failure in starting the New Jedi Order makes complete sense. And when Rey arrives on the scene, hoping to bring him back into the fight between good and evil, he does not give her a warm welcome. He does not want that responsibility again.

Does Luke recognize Rey? Watching Mark Hamill’s facial expressions during that scene, I believe he does. The look he give her isn’t, “Who the hell are you, kid?” rather it’s simply, “Oh, shit.” He starts to shake his head as if he’s about to say, “Oh, no. You’re not going to lay that burden on me again, Rey.” So, is she his lost daughter? Absolutely not. First of all, Luke — as a devout Jedi — would have been too busy starting the new Order, teaching, and traveling the galaxy to start a family. The Expanded Universe (EU) stories where he does have one have been dropped, although not completely abandoned. Secondly, if he did have a daughter, he wouldn’t abandon her. That’s not in his character. And, most important of all, Leia would have recognized Rey through the Force as her niece, even if she’d never met her before. That didn’t happen in The Force Awakens.

Ok, so Rey isn’t Luke’s daughter, but he recognizes her. Who is she? I’m still thinking she was an orphaned youngling under his care and instruction at the academy. He might have been responsible for killing her parents. They could have been dark-side users. Whoever Rey’s parents were, she obviously is very strong in the Force and probably displayed incredible Force-abilities at an early age, like Ben Solo. “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before….” It’s entirely possible he’s talking about Rey as a lost little girl. She may have survived the destruction of the academy. I still think he’s responsible for abandoning Rey on Jakku — partly out of fear that she’ll develop incredible powers, and partly as a means to hide her from Project Harvester. He never meant for her to wind up in the hands of Unkar Plutt but left her instead in the care of Lor San Tekka. Luke had lost his way. He needed time, he needed guidance, and he sought it on Ahch-to.

There’s a lot of fan speculation about how the upcoming showdown between Kylo and Luke will end. It has to happen. There’s no avoiding it. Will Kylo kill Luke? Will Luke kill Kylo? No, not in The Last Jedi. Both characters are too important to the plot. I think Luke, Kylo, and Rey are going to have to join forces to defeat Snoke in Episode IX.

One thing’s certain when it comes to Kylo hunting Luke: Luke has something Kylo wants — a shard of red kyber crystal.

 

Oh, and Rey.

We’re not done yet.

 

@MyKyloRen   7 November 2017

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Fortune, E. (2016). Star Wars galactic maps : an illustrated atlas of the Star Wars universe. Los Angeles, CA : Disney Lucasfilm Press.

It’s a Family Affair

Lor San Tekka might have reached through the darkness to touch the Ben Solo he once knew if he hadn’t said the word family. Family is a sore spot for Kylo/Ben, and the word proved to be fatal for the old man. We find out early on in The Force Awakens that Kylo is the grandson of Darth Vader when we catch a glimpse of the shrine to the iconic Sith in Ren’s quarters. It isn’t until Snoke tells his apprentice, “The droid we seek is aboard the Millennium Falcon, in the hands of your father, Han Solo,” that we get confirmation Kylo Ren is the son of Han and Leia. Snoke goes on to challenge, “Even you, Master of the Knights of Ren, have never faced such a test.” There’s a moment’s hesitation before Ren replies, “He means nothing to me.”

The pause is significant. It suggests Ren — or rather the Ben Solo that is buried beneath the heavy black shroud — does have feelings for his father. They’re conflicted and they overwhelm him when he finally faces Han Solo on the catwalk in the oscillator shaft. Although Kylo addresses him as Han Solo instead of father, he lets down his guard and exposes his vulnerability. “I’m being torn apart,” he confesses, lip trembling. “I want to be free of this pain. And I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?”

Ben Solo desperately wants to go home, to have the cozy family life he knows others have. But he never got it. Both his parents, although they loved him, were absent for a good portion of his childhood. Neither one has a nurturing personality and neither can sit still for long. As a result, baby Ben never bonded with his parents. He was left in the care of others — maybe Chewbacca, C-3PO, or nanny droids — while Leia was engaged for long hours in senatorial matters and Han refereed piloting contests and ran his shipping company. Ben Solo shows the classic signs of reactive attachment disorder (RAD).

Growing up with RAD, he formed closer bonds with strangers and trusted them more than he did his parents. Enter Snoke — the elusive corpse-like leader of the First Order. I’ll leave my Snoke theory for another post, but Leia confirms Snoke turned Ben to the dark side when Han concedes, “We’ve lost our son forever.” “It was Snoke,” she consoles him, and in the novelization, she goes on to reveal, “He knew our child would be strong with the Force.” This is news to Han. “You knew this from the beginning? Why didn’t you tell me?”

HAN SOLO

Leia’s main reason for leaving Han out of the equation is the personality conflict between father and son. Han leans toward the anti-social/narcissistic end of the spectrum while Ben leans towards the highly sensitive/empathic/maybe-even-autistic end. Polar opposites. I’ll explain why I think Ben is an empath when we take a closer look at his abilities. Leia tells Han, “You had — you have — wonderful qualities, Han, but patience and understanding were never among them. I was afraid that your reactions would only drive him farther to the dark side.” (Foster, 2015, p. 196)

Han not only didn’t understand his highly Force-sensitive son, he also feared him. The little boy — his own flesh and blood — had powers that were terrifying, especially when they were unchecked. Ben’s Force-abilities got him into trouble on a regular basis, as in this story. Not knowing what else to do, Leia enlisted the help of the only known living soul trained in the ways of the Force, her brother and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Luke was the obvious choice to help Ben Solo control his Force-abilities, as well as his emotions, but Luke was also the one who could best protect his young nephew. One of the drawbacks of having Han Solo as a father is a galaxy of pissed-off lenders, dealers, and pirates. Jabba the Hutt wasn’t the only one to send a bounty hunter after the notorious smuggler and there were others who were out for revenge. When Han married Leia, he started to live an honest life, but can one ever make a clean break from the criminal underground? Young Ben Solo may have been a target for retaliation against Han, as in this story.

LEIA ORGANA

And Leia herself was a target (as all royalty is) for her involvement in the Rebel Alliance, her wealth and political connections, and her lineage — although it’s unknown how many people knew she was Vader’s daughter before it tragically became public in ABY 31. Leia, through her adopted parents Bail and Breha Organa, was not only princess of Alderaan — a civilization that continued to some degree after the planet was blown up by the Death Star — she was also in line for the governorship of the planet Birren through the Elder Houses. When Ben was a young man, traveling the galaxy with his uncle, she passed up this right, focusing instead on her senatorial career. With his mother a political target, it’s not hard to imagine that Ben as a child may have been kidnapped for ransom or a leverage to influence Leia’s vote or stand on an issue, as in this story.

November 19, 2017 update: Talking to Entertainment Weekly, “Driver says Kylo began turning against his mother and father, Leia Organa and Han Solo, because he felt they cared more about the Rebellion and rebuilding after the fall of the Empire than they cared about him. That created a bitterness that ultimately consumed him. ‘I think the idea of someone whose parents are very much devoted to the cause, that’s something a lot of people could relate to, whether it be religion or politics or a business,’ Driver says. ‘Not identifying with [that cause] yourself, I think can give someone a complex.’”

So, Ben didn’t bond with either of his parents. Of the two, he was probably closer to Leia. Han undoubtedly taught his son piloting skills and swaggering street sense — and some gambling smarts, no doubt — but it was Leia Ben lived with the most. Her career as a senator required putting down roots on Hosnian Prime, and that’s probably where Ben grew up.

From Leia, Ben likely learned about the function (or dysfunction) of the Galactic Senate, witnessed his mother’s frustration from an early age. As a teenager, I imagine mother and son had some lively political debates as Ben formulated his own ideology, always lured and encouraged from the shadows by Snoke. Leia and Ben’s discussions grew more heated until the day when Ben walked out and never looked back. The scene may have gone something like this.

As for his father, Ben turned his back on Han as a teen. Han excelled in hiding his true feelings behind sarcasm and wit. He was embarrassed by his son’s sensitivity and extreme emotions. Han teased his son about things he himself couldn’t relate to — things Ben held dear but Han thought were silly. Teasing and making jokes was a way to deal with Ben’s outbursts. It backfired.

YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME

Ben Solo broke all contact with his family by the age of 26 and gave himself fully to the First Order. From there, it was a strait slide into the dark side. But the darkness wasn’t complete. Leia despaired but never gave up on her only son. As a Skywalker, she too was Force-sensitive and shared a special bond with Ben. When her son kills his father, it’s not Han’s death Leia is sensing with shock and horror across the depths of space (she’s doesn’t share a Force-bond with Han, after all) but Ben’s reaction to what he’s done. Kylo Ren had believed that the murder of the man he could not bring himself to call “father” would strengthen his dark-side powers. Instead, the heinous act weakened him. Why? Because once the anger passed, he took no pleasure in committing patricide. Because Ben Solo is highly sensitive, he could feel his father’s agony at the moment of death and felt compassion for him. Because Ben Solo knows right from wrong. In the preview for The Last Jedi, we see him hesitate to kill his mother. The light is still pulling at him.

For me, the encounter between Han and Ben in the novelization was unsatisfactory. It was the climax of the film, but Alan Dean Foster glossed over it. So, I watched the scene about 50 times, analyzing the body language of both men, got inside Ben’s head and wrote it out, blow by blow here. Naturally, or unnaturally, like everything in Ben Solo’s tragic life, Snoke is pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Next time, what’s up with Luke Skywalker?

 

@MyKyloRen    26 October 2017

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Foster, A. D. (2015). The Force Awakens. New York: Del Rey.

That Lightsaber, It Belongs to Me

With the release of The Last Jedi fast approaching, I thought I’d recap what we know about Kylo Ren so far — from The Force Awakens and leaks from The Last Jedi, interviews with cast and crew, fan theories, and fan art. As theories are confirmed or dropped, I’ll be revising my own thinking, along with this series of posts, which reveal some of the inspiration and theories behind the fan fiction on this site. Kylo has a lot of enemies he’s facing and he’ll need to defeat every one if he’s to survive, so let’s get started.

JEDI KILLER

Jedi Killer concepts by Christian Alzmann

The mysterious First Order warrior is introduced in The Force Awakens as a commander of a strike force, striding down the ramp of his bat-like command shuttle. He’s intent on seizing the map that will show the whereabouts of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. We don’t know what the dark warrior’s motives are, but we assume it’s to kill Skywalker. We assume he’s hunting down any surviving Jedi, and Luke poses a special threat to the First Order. In the preliminary concept art, Kylo Ren was originally dubbed the Jedi Killer and looked more machine than human — a black plastoid grim reaper. But as time when on and the character was given a name, he was more refined and clearly human. From what’s been leaked about The Last Jedi, I believe Kylo’s hunting Luke not to kill him but to stop him — from doing what, I have a couple of theories — but I think Ren’s main objective is to acquire ancient artifacts and through them power, not to control the galaxy but the universe. Could it be that Luke’s intent on destroying these artifacts? More about that later.

A NEW DARK-SIDE USER

Kylo Ren’s heavy black garments cover him from head to toe, concealing every inch of him, concealing his identity, along with the helmet that distorts his voice. For a closer look at Ren’s garments, click here for that story. He’s a faceless menace whose humanity has been smothered. He’s a monster, and his monk-like robes suggest he belongs to an order outside of the military. That order, we learn, is the Knights of Ren. For my take on who the Knights are, click here. Many people are tempted to call him a Sith due to his powerful Force abilities and allegiance to the dark side, but according to Pablo Hidalgo in The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, “Kylo Ren is no Jedi, nor is he a Sith. He is the archetype of a new generation of dark side users that have emerged to fill the void left by the Siths’ demise.” (p. 24)

LOR SAN TEKKA

But, despite his dark disguise, Lor San Tekka knows who Kylo Ren is, even though the enforcer’s true name is forbidden to be spoken within the First Order. We only see Ren without his helmet in the presence of Supreme Leader Snoke and General Hux — and later when all hell breaks loose on Starkiller Base. So, it’s likely that no other officers and no troopers know Ren’s true identity, but Lor San Tekka in the Jakku village of Tuanal knows. He’s a member of the Church of the Force who’s traveled far. He knows the man beneath the black shroud. And Ren remembers his captive from long ago, perhaps more than he’s consciously aware. There’s a dark and unfortunate history between them. For that story, click here. “Look at how old you’ve become,” he tells San Tekka in disgust. The old man counters with hope. He remembers under the disguise the youth he knew and perhaps loved and tries reach out to him. “I know where you come from,” he tells the enforcer. “The First Order arose from the dark side. You did not.”

In The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster, the encounter is described as this: “ Ren spoke first, without hesitation, as if he had anticipated this meeting for some time. ‘The great soldier of fortune — captured at last.” (p. 20). When San Tekka continues to evade Ren’s search for the map, Ren says in the novel, “Don’t turn a simple transaction into a tragedy for these people….Hasn’t your presence here done enough for them already?” San Tekka replies, “I made my peace with these folk and this place long ago.” (p. 20-21).

So, San Tekka is not an innocent. He was a mercenary once, selling his services as a warrior. The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary paints the old man as a desert sage, retired from a life of exploration and adventure. He’s a font of obscure information and wears a Chain of Wisdom around his neck. “As the Empire toppled, retreating Imperial officials destroyed records that would have been vital to the New Republic’s attempts at galactic reconstruction. New Republic bureaucrats turned instead to firsthand accounts from well-travelled locals to fill in the gaps.” (p. 14) Hence, this was the most recent role San Tekka played…until Kylo Ren executed him in cold blood.

ACOLYTES OF THE BEYOND

As a follower of the Church of the Force, the old man was a worshiper of Jedi ideals and believed one day the Jedi would return. “In his travels, Lor San Tekka uncovered much of the history of the Jedi Knights that the Galactic Empire had tried so hard to erase. Others now seek him out for his knowledge of Jedi secrets.” And this, I believe, is why Kylo Ren has sought him out — not only for the map to Skywalker (who is another font of esoteric knowledge) — but to harvest the ancient wisdom locked up in San Tekka’s mind. Ren also hopes to recover any Jedi artifacts the old man may have stumbled upon.

What are these artifacts? We don’t know yet, but we know some of them will feature in The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson is all about focusing on the past, digging up relics and showcasing an aspect of the Force we’ve never seen before. One of these relics is Luke’s red kyber crystal shard which he keeps locked in a box and later wears around his neck. It’s said to have belonged to an ancient Jedi. Luke is rumored to keep other relics in his backpack, including an ancient compass, along with a lightning rod — a weapon used by the Jedi of old, possibly like a cattle prod. There are also books of precious Jedi lore kept on the island of Ahch-To, home of the original Jedi Temple and Luke Skywalker’s refuge for many years.

I also suspect Kylo Ren’s been on the hunt for Darth Vader’s effects, specifically his lightsaber. He may believe that the shard of crystal Luke now has belonged to Vader. We know Ren acquired Vader’s melted helmet and enshrined it, feeling its residual dark side power imbued with it. It would make sense for Ben Solo to attach himself to the movement known as the Acolytes of the Beyond, a group of non-Force-sensitives who operated as dark side fanatics worshiping fallen Sith, featured in the Aftermath novels by Chuck Wendig. They purchased Sith artifacts and destroyed them. In doing so, they believed they were returning the objects of power to the dark lords in death. By Kylo Ren’s time, the Acolytes were keeping the artifacts they recovered and using them in uprisings against the New Republic. Ren may have made use of Acolyte cells scattered throughout the galaxy to recover some of Vader’s personal things. Foremost on his list would be Vader’s lightsaber. We assume it was destroyed when the second Death Star exploded, but who knows? Click here for a story involving featuring the Acolytes.

Next time, we’ll continue looking at Kylo’s past and more specifically, his family ties.

@MyKyloRen    29 September 2017

________________________________

Foster, A. D. (2015). The Force Awakens. New York: Del Rey.

Hidalgo, P. (2015). Star Wars: The Force Awakens: the visual dictionary. New York : DK/Penguin Random House.

Szostak, P. (2015). The art of Star Wars, The Force Awakens. New York: Harry N. Abrams.