A Missed Redemption: Kylo Ren’s Pivotal Moment in The Rise of Skywalker

by Barbara

The redemption arc of Kylo Ren, a central character in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, reached its climax in “The Rise of Skywalker.” However, the hindsight lens reveals a missed opportunity—the moment when Kylo Ren could have been redeemed was delayed, potentially impacting the trajectory of the entire trilogy. The notion that Kylo’s redemption should have occurred earlier, possibly in “The Last Jedi,” raises intriguing questions about character dynamics, narrative depth, and the overall thematic richness of the Star Wars saga.

I. Timing is Everything: Kylo’s Redemption in The Last Jedi

“The Rise of Skywalker” was a pivotal installment for Kylo Ren, marking his ultimate redemption from the dark side. However, some argue that the narrative could have benefited from an earlier redemption, specifically in “The Last Jedi.” Kylo’s complex internal struggle and evident conflict between the light and dark sides of the Force presented a ripe moment for redemption after the death of Supreme Leader Snoke. This pivotal juncture could have altered the course of the trilogy, injecting fresh dynamics into the narrative and reshaping the fate of key characters.


Kylo’s redemption in “The Last Jedi” would not only have been a surprising twist but also a narrative masterstroke, setting the stage for a more nuanced exploration of the themes of balance and redemption that are integral to the Star Wars mythology. The missed opportunity in “The Last Jedi” meant that Kylo’s redemption in “The Rise of Skywalker” felt somewhat rushed, leaving audiences yearning for a more developed and impactful transformation.


II. Supreme Leader Shuffle: Hux as the Better Leader

Kylo Ren’s redemption not only influences his character arc but also has implications for the broader dynamics within the First Order. One intriguing possibility that emerges from the idea of an earlier redemption is the ascension of General Hux as the Supreme Leader. Hux, portrayed by Domhnall Gleeson, showcased his ruthless ambition and loyalty to the First Order. An earlier Kylo redemption could have paved the way for Hux to assume leadership, introducing a new layer of complexity to the antagonistic forces in the Star Wars galaxy.


Hux as Supreme Leader adds a different flavor to the power dynamics, potentially making the First Order an even more formidable adversary. His character, often overshadowed by Kylo Ren, would have had the opportunity to step into the spotlight and leave a lasting impact on the trilogy’s narrative. The ripple effects of such a leadership shift could have resonated throughout “The Rise of Skywalker” and beyond, shaping the destinies of characters on both sides of the conflict.

III. Rey and Ben Solo: More Screen Time, More Depth

One of the missed opportunities resulting from the delayed redemption is the limited screen time between Rey and Ben Solo. The Force dyad, a powerful connection between Rey and Kylo, was a central theme in the sequel trilogy. An earlier redemption would have allowed for more exploration of this unique and compelling dynamic. The chemistry between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren was a highlight of the trilogy, and a prolonged alliance between them could have provided a deeper exploration of the Force, the dark and light sides, and the very essence of balance.

The potential for Rey and Ben Solo to team up earlier in the trilogy opens the door to a myriad of storytelling possibilities. The richness of their connection, both emotionally and through the Force, could have been further mined for narrative gold. More shared screen time could have delved into their shared struggles, hopes, and the complexities of navigating the fine line between the light and dark sides of the Force.

IV. Elevating the Stakes: The Rise of Skywalker’s Missed Potential

“The Rise of Skywalker” carried the weight of concluding the Skywalker saga, and an earlier Kylo Ren redemption could have elevated the stakes to unprecedented heights. The film’s central themes of balance in the Force, the legacy of the Jedi, and the eternal struggle between darkness and light would have been more pronounced with a redeemed Ben Solo playing a pivotal role from an earlier point in the trilogy.

The missed potential lies in the delayed redemption, which left “The Rise of Skywalker” with less time to explore the aftermath of Kylo’s transformation and the implications for the galaxy. A more extended exploration of Ben Solo’s redemption could have provided a more satisfying and emotionally resonant conclusion to the Skywalker saga. The impact of the trilogy’s resolution hinges on the decisions made in each installment, and an earlier redemption would have allowed for a more intricate tapestry of storytelling.

Conclusion: Rethinking Kylo Ren’s Redemption for a Deeper Star Wars Saga

In the galaxy far, far away, decisions shape destinies, and the redemption of Kylo Ren stands as a pivotal moment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The contemplation of an earlier redemption, particularly in “The Last Jedi,” opens the door to a multitude of narrative possibilities. From the dynamics of leadership within the First Order to the exploration of the Force dyad and the overarching themes of balance, an alternative trajectory for Kylo Ren could have transformed the Star Wars saga into an even more intricate and emotionally resonant masterpiece.

While “The Rise of Skywalker” served as the culmination of the Skywalker saga, the hindsight perspective invites fans and critics alike to ponder what could have been. The notion of Kylo Ren’s redemption occurring earlier challenges our perceptions and expectations, urging us to reconsider the paths not taken in a galaxy where the Force weaves together the destinies of heroes and villains alike.


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