Can Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?

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In only a year and a half, The Force Awakens has deeply ingrained itself into the Star Wars canon and changed what we thought we knew.  Every time I watch the movie I find myself asking new questions and thinking about what lead to this point and what is coming in the rest of the trilogy.  One of those questions is about the future of Kylo Ren.

Star Wars is a story of family and redemption.  Episodes 1-3 were all about the fall of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and the rise of the Sith and the Empire.  In Episodes 4-6, Anakin is redeemed from his evil acts as Darth Vader by the love of his son Luke.  Will we see a similar redemption story for Kylo Ren in Episodes 7-9?

Can Kylo Ren be redeemed?  Should he be redeemed?

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We don’t know much about Kylo Ren, except that he was born Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa.  He trained with his uncle, Luke Skywalker, to become a Jedi but at some point was seduced by Supreme Leader Snoke to the dark side and the First Order.    We don’t know his motivations or what Snoke used to turn him against the light and his family.  It’s a safe assumption that more of this will be revealed in The Last Jedi and Episode IX.  This time around I’m not concerned about where he came from, but rather where is he headed.  What does the future hold for the Master of the Knights of Ren?

Some point to Kylo Ren’s actions as a reason that he is beyond redemption.  He killed his father in cold blood, in addition to the countless implied actions of torture and murder.  However, Darth Vader committed many atrocities that were far beyond anything that we have seen or implied with Kylo Ren.  Is the sin of killing our favorite smuggler worse than killing countless Jedi?  I’m sure that Kylo Ren will be responsible for more atrocities in the next two films, but I still wonder if he will do anything that is on par with the infamous Dark Lord of the Sith.

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Some will argue that it’s lazy writing to have Kylo be redeemed.  That it’s simply a repeat of the Anakin story and doesn’t add anything new to the mythos.  But, isn’t Star Wars based on a series of repeating themes?  Each generation faces their own struggles against the darkness.  To paraphrase Maz Kanata, it’s the same fight against the dark side, the Sith, the Empire, and now the First Order.  Star Wars is cyclical, and this is just another turn of the wheel.

It’s clear that Kylo Ren’s acts of villainy are not finished.  It took Anakin sacrificing his life to pull himself back from the dark side.  It’s hard to see Kylo Ren pulling himself back to the light without some form of major sacrifice.  Depending on what horrible acts he does in The Last Jedi and beyond, I’m not sure anything short of giving his life will properly balance the scales.  Can the fans handle losing a character like Kylo Ren so quickly?  Can the Skywalker family handle another major loss?  Will there be any Skywalkers left after Episode IX?

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I’m open to the idea of Kylo Ren being redeemed and the return of Ben Solo.  Personally, I do not think that anything Kylo has done is worse than what Vader had done at this same point in their respective story arcs.  Yes, Kylo’s patricide hit us all much harder emotionally than Vader’s killing of his former master, but it’s still minor compared to the death toll that Vader has accumulated.  I don’t see any story being told where Kylo Ren is not redeemed.  Taking into account the talk of Kylo’s pull to the light in The Force Awakens.  It doesn’t make sense to me in any way that they would tell this story and leave the child of our heroes as an unrepentant evil.  Of course, I’m not a screenwriter either.

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