By George Bate & Josh Reilly B.
Despite the divisive reaction to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo) remains one of the most beloved characters from a galaxy far, far away. After largely taking a backseat for the press tour of The Rise of Skywalker, actor Adam Driver has stayed silent about his Star Wars for the past several years. However, now, while promoting his new film Ferrari on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Driver revealed details about the original plan for Kylo Ren’s trajectory across the sequel trilogy.
Driver continued, “[The Rise of Skywalker] changed into being, you know, about them and the dyad, and things like that. And evolving into Ben Solo. That was never a part of it. He was Ben Solo from the beginning, but there was never a version where we’d see Ben Solo when I first signed up for it.”
As detailed by Driver, it was not originally planned for Kylo Ren to come back to the light side and be redeemed as Ben Solo. “I had an overall arc that in mind that [JJ Abrams] wanted to do,” Driver said. “His idea was that [Kylo’s] journey was the opposite journey of Vader, where Vader starts the most confident and the most committed to the dark side. And then by the last movie, he’s the most vulnerable and weak. He wanted to start with the opposite. This character was the most confused and vulnerable, and by the end of the three movies, he would be the most committed to the dark side. I tried to keep that arc in mind, regardless if that wound up not being the journey anyway, because it changed while shooting. But I was still focused on that.”
Driver’s comments shed some interesting light on Kylo Ren and the sequel trilogy. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo feels the pull to the light side throughout and concludes the film by murdering his own father Han Solo. The murder of a member of the family like this was an act of evil not even Darth Vader could commit, as it was his resilience to killing his son Luke in Return of the Jedi that led to Vader’s redemption. In this sense, Driver’s comments about Kylo Ren becoming more and more evil as an inverse of Vader’s character makes sense.
With Star Wars: The Last Jedi, things change a bit. With Rian Johnson taking over as director and writer, Kylo Ren’s journey seemingly changed. Ultimately, this seems to be for the better as Kylo Ren’s best role is in The Last Jedi, as is Driver’s best performance in a Star Wars film. Johnson decided that Kylo would truly “let the past die,” killing Snoke but also killing any connection he has to his family. In revealing that Rey is not related to anyone of importance, however, Johnson created a situation in which the Skywalker Saga could have came to an end with the Skywalker bloodline ending in darkness. In other terms, if Rey is indeed nobody, then this leaves Kylo Ren / Ben Solo as the last remaining individual of the Skywalker bloodline. To carry out this plot in Episode IX and have Kylo Ren remain evil, it would mean the journey of the Skywalker family would end in ultimate darkness. As such, JJ Abrams’ decision to redeem Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker makes sense (even if it wasn’t the original plan).
Kylo Ren’s redemption in The Rise of Skywalker also allowed for one of the saga’s best scenes in which Kylo converses with a vision of his lost father Han Solo, who encourages him to come back to the light in a manner that parallels their fateful conversation in The Force Awakens.
Much is often made about the sequel trilogy not being planned ahead and, while the trilogy certainly isn’t as cohesive across its three films as it could be, it nonetheless is not dissimilar from George Lucas’ work on the original six Star Wars films. Lucas did not have everything road-mapped ahead of time and yet still delivered six of the most impactful movies of all time.
Hopefully, as the years go by from the release of The Rise of Skywalker, more cast members and filmmakers like Adam Driver are willing to speak about the film. Without deleted scenes or a director commentary, much mystery still clouds what The Rise of Skywalker might have been and could have been.
Check out the full interview with Adam Driver on “The Rich Eisen Show” below: