Be warned: SPOILERS LURK WITHIN.
Ah, Kylo Ren. Has there ever been a villain so polarizing as the floppy haired, Darth Vader fanboy and conflicted young First Order Knight that we were introduced to in [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158)?
Love him or hate him, you can't deny him. Especially after he spoilered that spoiler. Ah screw it, it's been more than a month now, we can say it....
Especially after he killed his father in a scene that will stay with us for a long while; as we witnessed the shocking death of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) at the hands of his conflicted son, torn between the light and the dark.
It's All Snoke's Fault
The motivations of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) - formerly Ben Solo - were always a little murky, clearly there's a lot of backstory still to be revealed for his character. But we've learned a lot about him from the novelisation and from looking at the script itself.
For example, did you know that Ben Solo was actually taken over to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) at a very young age? And that as a result he likely suffers from a form of PTSD, which affects his fits of anger and tantrums? And that Snoke manipulated him into killing his father by making him believe he could live up to the legacy of his grandfather, Darth Vader?
Snoke, whomever you are, you're one sneaky, creepy old bastard.
What's The End Game?
So some of Kylo's backstory we learned from looking at the screenplay (which was released recently to Writers Guild of America but not yet available for public consumption). Looking at the screenplay is handy because the words on the page reveal the motivation behind the actions we see on screen, something which is often lost in translation.
Descriptive passages often reveal a lot more than what gets translated over onto the screen, including character's emotions, reactions and other little things which may have been lost somewhere between page and screen. The devil is in the details after all, and these details come courtesy of Slash Film who managed to get a look at the official script.
Dark Side Rey?
It's the central struggle throughout not just the Star Wars films but in all classical narratives: good vs evil, dark vs light. Anakin Skywalker struggled with it; Luke Skywalker struggled with it (Leia Organa didn't struggle with it though cause she's a boss bitch) and now Ben Solo struggles with it.
And as it turns out, Rey (Daisy Ridley) was supposed to struggle with it too as her power awoke inside of her. During the climactic battle - once Rey channels the force and starts fighting back against Kylo - she strikes him down and suddenly he is "a fearful man, a large burn scar slashed across his face".
As Rey stands over him the screenplay gives us an insight into her mental state at the time as she realises: "she could kill him — right now, with ONE VICIOUS STRIKE! But she stops. Realizing she stands on a greater edge than even the cliff — the edge of the dark side."
Standing over Kylo Rey feels the pull towards the Dark Side for the first time, and interestingly enough this happens right after Kylo has his own internal Light/Dark struggle when confronted with his father.
Okay, So What?
Wait, there's more! In the official novelization of The Force Awakens (which you should check out if you're interested in getting a more in depth look at the story and characters) when Rey feels this pull to the Dark Side she actually hears a voice inside her head (not a good sign usually).
And what is that voice saying?
In the book the owner of the voice is not clarified, it's described simply as "amorphous, unidentifiable, raw... pure vengeful emotion". But the audio book version seems to reveal that the voice in question belongs to none other than, yep, Supreme Leader Snoke.
Did Snoke Want Rey To Kill Kylo?
But why would Snoke want Rey to kill his apprentice, the Knight he'd spent a lot of time and energy turning towards the Dark Side? Maybe it's because she's innately stronger with the Force than he is? Though Rey initially seems overwhelmed during their battle on Starkiller Base once she begins channeling the Force she is able to fight back; striking Kylo several times and causing him to fall.
It's not like she has no battle experience, as we saw on Jakku she's clearly very handy with a staff as she manages to fight off two attackers, but overcoming Kylo would take a huge amount of Force power and it seems to be suggested that this is what Rey has. Raw and unrefined power for sure, but power nonetheless.
Snoke is clearly aware both of Rey's power and of the potential for both Dark and Light inside of her, as he's the one who asks Kylo:
"There's been an awakening. Have you felt it? The Dark side, and the Light".
Killing Kylo Ren would've been the first step towards the Dark Side for Rey, as he's vulnerable and unarmed at this point. If it is Snoke urging her to kill Kylo could it be that he's willing to sacrifice his current apprentice in order to gain a stronger one?
Snoke certainly doesn't seem like the sentimental type, but there's still a lot of questions about both Kylo Ren and the Supreme Leader himself needing clarified before we'll be any closer to a solid answer on this front.
How long is it till [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868)?
Got a theory about Star Wars VII? Tell us about it in the comments, or write your own post about it!