WARNING: Serious spoilers for 'Star Wars VII' lie ahead
Adam Driver has been criticized for his role as Kylo Ren, partially due to the belief that his portrayal of the villain isn't as strong as is needed in a Star Wars tale. I've recently written that Kylo had to kill his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), in order to become the villain he needed to be; however, the reason Kylo doesn't yet seem like a true Star Wars villain is simple: he isn't. The seventh Star Wars tale seems to depict -- among other things -- Ben Solo's journey to the dark side. Give it time, he'll finish what he started.
Director J. J. Abrams was the driving force behind Kylo becoming the villain of the story, so who better to justify the why of it all than Mr. Lens Flare himself?
In an interview with IGN, Abrams discussed Kylo Ren, including why the son of Solo took the path to the dark side.
As you can see above, Abrams explains that Ben Solo willingly turns to the Dark side, becoming Kylo Ren, due to an intense admiration for his grandfather, Darth Vader, a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker.
"Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker. He idolizes what Vader represents and what Vader was trying to do."
In The Force Awakens we see an alternative side to the story of the Dark vs. the Light, with a wielder of the Dark side tortured by the Light and fighting the conflict within.
"The idea that Vader didn't succeed, if you look at it from Ren's point of view, he was seduced by the enemy and failed because of that seduction. So the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing that Vader started."
So rather than being a poorly-constructed villain, Kylo Ren is a new villain, one who's striving to be an agent of the Dark side despite lingering goodness which he seems to loath.
"The story for him is one of conflict -- not just external conflict, but internal conflict, and it's what makes him, I think, an interesting villain."
Despite the similarities between The Force Awakens and A New Hope, this is not a story we've seen told before. Vader was an experienced Sith Lord and only wavered towards the Light at the end of his story, whereas Kylo is actively pulling towards the Dark at the beginning of his tale.
This gives Kylo Ren the potential to be crueler and darker than his idol, Darth Vader, who is pursuing the Dark side out of loyalty to his ancestor. As Abrams said: this makes him an interesting villain.
Have a look at Kylo Ren in action!
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