More obsessed with Darth Vader than even the most rabid of fanboys, Kylo Ren was an intriguing facet of #TheForceAwakens, and after his defeat at the end of Rey's lightsaber we're all excited to discover what Star Wars Episode VIII has in store for the saga's new villain.
There have been multiple rumors that Kylo Ren will pursue Rey to Luke Skywalker's island of Ahch-To, but as this will take place at the beginning of the movie, it's safe to say that Kylo Ren will live to fight another day — probably so he can battle the Jedi later on, in the film's climax.
Survival, But At What Cost?
When interviewed on Larry King Now, Adam Driver was questioned about whether #KyloRen will be alive at the end of Star Wars Episode 8. This was his response:
"Depends on what your idea of living is…"
While Driver carefully didn't reveal any details, this answer implies that by the film's end Kylo Ren will have a lifetime of suffering ahead of him — likely because of injuries sustained in battle.
We know that Kylo Ren willl ultimately survive because one of the "key scenes" from Star Wars Episode IX was a reunion with his mother, General Leia Organa — though in the wake of Carrie Fisher's death, all bets are off as to how Lucasfilm are going to go ahead with their original plan. However, it's safe to assume that whatever state he's in, Kylo Ren will survive. So what is this "idea of living"?
Considering the narrative symmetry that Star Wars is suffused with, it seems highly likely that Kylo Ren will find himself injured to the point of needing some kind of support just to live — perhaps a suit in the style of #DarthVader? He's already got the fake respirator helmet, might as well complete the look with a complete life-support system and prosthetic limbs.
From a narrative standpoint, Kylo Ren sustaining substantial injuries is both dramatic irony and poetic justice, that someone so obsessed with a crippled idol would become as much a shell of a man as Vader was. It's the classic be-careful-what-you-wish-for trope, and it would be oh so satisfying to see play out.
There's also the fact that both Adam Driver and J.J. Abrams have talked about how the Sequel Trilogy is not only the origin story of a Jedi hero (Rey), but also that of a villain — the Kylo Ren we meet in Star Wars 7 is only a shade of things to come.
"Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain. And not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process."
With that in mind, Driver's recent hint about how Kylo Ren will survive Star Wars Episode 8 — but only barely — does play into the plan for his character's evolution throughout the new trilogy. Even if his comment doesn't pertain to Ren suffering injuries, even becoming more immersed in the dark side fo the Force could be considered by some not to be living at all. Either way, this is going to be deliciously dark, and I for one will relish Ren's descent into villainy — and Rey thoroughly kicking his butt for it.