– by Joseph Jammer Medina

On paper, Kylo Ren really shouldn’t work. Sure, he has all the characteristics of a sympathetic villain, but at the end of the day, he’s a bit whiny, and he very much resembles Anakin — which was something of a failed experiment on George Lucas’ part. Yet despite the latter falling flat on his face, Kylo Ren is a pretty solid character. He’s both a villain, and someone we’re holding out hope for (at least those still not heartbroken over Han’s death).

But what will Kylo Ren’s role be in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Star Wars Episode 9? Is he being set up to be the Darth Vader of this trilogy, or do they have a different path in mind for him? Speaking with Empire, The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson discussed the joy of writing Kylo Ren, and how he’s not quite the “scary other” that is Darth Vader.

“Writing Kylo Ren is just so much fun. Star Wars boils down to the transition from adolescence into adulthood. That’s the heart of these films and Rey is most obviously the one that hangs on. But it’s also Kylo. In the originals you project entirely onto Luke, while Vader is the scary other — he’s the minotaur. The fascinating thing about Kylo and Rey is that they’re two sides of something. We can all relate to Kylo: 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.”

Kylo Ren is an especially interesting character because I have no idea where they’re taking him. Did his killing of his father represent him crossing over to the point of no return, or is there still hope for him to redeem himself in some way? Rather than go full Dark Side on us, it sounds like he may still be in the process of figuring out where he stands in terms of his allegiances.

I can see this going either way. Either Kylo Ren is able to turn to the Light before he goes full Dark Side — which will be slightly different from Vader — or he will die as a full-on Sith. This would also be a different arc from Vader, who was able to redeem himself at the last minute. This has a real potential for tragedy, and we can’t wait to see what direction he leans in by the closing credits of The Last Jedi.

What do you think? Do you think Kylo Ren will go full dark on us? Let us know down below!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.

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SOURCE: Empire

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.