(WARNING: The following contains plot SPOILERS for 'Star Wars" Episode VII - The Force Awakens,' as well as some light theoretical discussion of the future of the sequel saga. Proceed with whatever level of caution your innate sense of SPOILER-aversion suggests is wise...)
Now, if there's one thing we can pretty much all agree on after watching Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, it's that Kylo Ren is an a-hole. Sure, he's certainly got his defenders — and it's not impossible that there could yet be some good in him — but were any of us to meet him in a cantina, it sure would be difficult not to, at the very least, give him a wedgie. After all, he's a...
(Those aforementioned SPOILERS kick in right now, incidentally.)
...Luke-betraying, Leia-disappointing, Rey-kidnapping, Han-murdering (grand)son of a Sith, with anger issues, blood on his hands, and an inferiority complex the size of Starkiller Base. As it turns out, though, one of those elements might not be the case. Y'see...
It Turns Out That Kylo Ren ISN'T a Sith
Sure, he might have a sinister black outfit and a throbbing red lightsaber, but as Episode VII director J.J. Abrams revealed last year to Empire magazine:
"Kylo Ren is not a Sith. He works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force."
Which, coming from about the most canonical of sources possible, sure does seem to be conclusive. Here's the thing, though.
If Kylo Ren Isn't A Sith, What Is He?
Well, that's the question that intrepid Redditor Obversa recently set out to answer, arguing that, rather than being a Sith, Kylo Ren is, in actual fact, a Jedi.
Just like his (grand)father before him.
But here's the thing, though...
Kylo Ren Isn't Just a Regular Jedi — He's A Dark Jedi
Which, as Obversa points out, is a concept that not only has a whole lot of precedent in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (and, most likely, in the canonical history of the Jedi), but seems to describe Kylo Ren pretty darned perfectly:
A Dark Jedi is one who has abandoned the path of the Light by abandoning the Jedi Code and using the Force for his own selfish ends.
Ren, after all, is far from the cold, calculating, galactic-conquest-obsessed archetype of a Sith lord. What's more, he doesn't seem privy to the secrets — or training — typically bestowed upon the Sith, with his abilities instead seeming much more rough and partly self-taught, right down to his lightsaber's erratic beam.
A possible reason for that?
Kylo Ren Has Embraced The Dark Side — But Hasn't Become A Sith
After all, barring a reveal that Snoke is a Sith lord himself, it's entirely possible that the order died out with Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. Which, as Obversa notes, quoting another intrepid Redditor, Lovecraftian666, could explain Kylo not being a Sith:
All sith are dark jedi, but not all dark jedi are sith ... The Sith, therefore, have had many differing incarnations ... but are all unified by vastly similar secrets, rituals and end goal of galactic domination. It is very much a club, that not just any Darkside user can join, but must be inducted by a member into.
With no real evidence as of yet to suggest the Sith survived the fall of Palpatine in a recognizable form, it's entirely possible that Kylo couldn't become a Sith, even if he wanted to, as there might be no other members of the club to grant him entry. What's more, it's conceivable that Kylo is in fact not interested in becoming a Sith at all, and is instead simply attempting to live up to his grandfather's embrace of the Dark Side, while also acknowledging Vader's ultimate rejection of Palpatine — and the Sith.
In other words?
Snoke And Kylo Ren Could Be Trying To Change The Nature Of The Force Entirely
It is, after all, entirely possible that Episode VIII could see Snoke begin Kylo Ren's training, only to reveal that their ultimate goal has nothing to do with the reestablishment of the Sith order. Instead, Snoke may simply — in the selfish fashion of a Dark Jedi — be seeking to utilize the Dark Side of the Force for his own ends. Emperor Palpatine's legacy could, in the end, have fewer lessons to pass on about the Sith than it does about achieving galaxy-wide power.
If so, though, then what would that mean for the Light Side of the Force — and for the notion of balance? Could Snoke's plan perhaps be less about destroying the Jedi and more about bringing balance to the force by eliminating the ideological extremes of both the Jedi and the Sith? Could this new saga be less a fight between good and evil, than one between the ideological optimism of Luke and Rey, and the pragmatic cynicism of Snoke and Kylo?
That very much remains to be seen. But either way, nicely played, Obversa. Nicely played indeed.
What do you reckon, though?
Just what is Kylo Ren?