ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Another day, another Star Wars theory. But if you're sick of questioning who Snoke is (or what he might be looking for), how about we turn our attentions to Kylo Ren?

The dad-murderer formerly known as Ben Solo is not your typical Star Wars villain, and not just because he's a snotty, snivelling brat who got expelled from Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy for being a squib. Sure, I'm mixing my franchises up here, but the Harry Potter connection isn't totally random — it's possible that Star Wars 8 will reveal Kylo Ren is the galaxy far, far away's equivalent of a wizard with no powers to speak of. Kind of. Bear with me...

Sans helmet, what can Kylo really do?
Sans helmet, what can Kylo really do?

Essentially, the theory (as originated by backwardsglove on Reddit) imagines that Kylo Ren's Force powers are frequently limited by a psychological block. In The Force Awakens, we saw him do various things that require skillful use of the Force — such as muscling his way into Poe Dameron's head with shocking ease — but on each occasion he was wearing his helmet. Without his helmet, such as during the final confrontation with Rey in the forest, his powers appear to be severely weakened.

It makes sense that Kylo has not yet mastered the Force, considering he never completed his training with Luke, but he clearly has a great level of skill — when he has his helmet on. The Redditor theorizes that Kylo uses the mask to assume the anonymous guise of Kylo Ren, a First Order commander who clearly considers himself a successor of sorts to Darth Vader, but when forced to operate without it cannot mentally separate his actions from his true identity as Ben Solo.

Kylo really didn't have any reason to kill Han Solo in The Force Awakens — an ageing rogue is no real threat to the First Order. At the time it seemed like vengeance, a big fuck-you for what Kylo perceived as his childhood abandonment. Looking back, though, in the context of this theory, it feels more likely that it was necessary for him to kill his father, feeling nothing, in order to finally remove himself from his birth identity and truly become Kylo Ren.

If that's the case, Kylo might not actually need to use the helmet at all in Star Wars 8 in order to be at one with the Force, the psychological curse having been broken. I see no obvious flaws with this theory, particularly given that Abrams planted a less-than-subtle hint by showing us Kylo handling the remains of Darth Vader's helmet, on which his own was clearly modelled. It seems the troubled commander associates the helmet with the dark side of the Force (again, makes sense considering Vader only removed his in his final moments, during his "redemption", if you can call it that), and has thus far been unable to separate the object from the power.

This is not a healthy relationship. (Disney)
This is not a healthy relationship. (Disney)

So, in a sense, his idolization of Darth Vader is what has been keeping the Force alive and strong within Kylo Ren. Until now. Looking ahead to Star Wars 8, Vader may begin to lose significance as Kylo finally comes of age and breaks free of the chains which have been limiting his Force powers. If that's the case, Rey and the rest of the Resistance could be in for a nasty surprise. Check out the Reddit threat in full for a deeper dive into Kylo's twisted psyche.

Star Wars 8 hits theaters December 15, 2017, and you can see Darth Vader twirl that cape in the galaxy's corridors of power once again in Rogue One, which arrives this year on December 16.

Is Kylo really powerless without his Vader-mimicking helmet, and could that be about to change in Star Wars 8? Share your thoughts below...


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