In Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren fixates on Darth Vader. He sees Vader as his inspiration for leading the First Order and even calls him grandfather.
Why Does Kylo Ren Call Darth Vader grandfather? Well, Vader is by family lineage Ren’s grandfather. However, this information was concealed from Ren and only obliquely referenced in the sequel movies.
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How Does Kylo Ren Find Out Darth Vader Is His Grandfather?
Star Wars fans may have readily pieced together that Darth Vader was Kylo Ren’s grandfather.
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was Luke and Leia’s father, and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren is Leia and Han Solo’s son. So, that makes Vader his grandfather by birth.
Yet, most people in the Star Wars universe, including Ben, did not know about this family lineage. And, the sequel movies only obliquely address it.
We get the real story about how Kylo Ren comes to refer to Vader as grandfather through the book Bloodline.
Published in 2016, Bloodline is known as a canon novel written by Claudia Gray. The book focuses on Kylo Ren’s mother Princess Leia Organa while she is a member of the Galactic Senate for the New Republic.
Events in this book occur about six years before the happenings in The Force Awakens.
The story focuses on how Princess Leia kept the family connection to Darth Vader a secret. She did not even let her son Ben Solo know.
As Leia moves up the ranks of the New Republic, she wishes to distance herself from the shameful connection to Vader.
She does not want anything to do with the evil Empire, or to be reminded of the torture that her own father inflicted upon her in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
But then one of Leia’s political opponents reveals her family heritage through a broadcast message, and this is how Ben finds out. This enrages him to the effect of driving him to identify with Darth Vader.
The book Skywalker: A Family at War from 2021 by Kristin Baver emphasizes the betrayal Ben Solo felt at not being told his relationship to Darth Vader by his mother and father.
This Youtube video captures a brief narrative about Leia’s attempt to conceal the family lineage and how her attempt to send a message to Ben after it became public knowledge was too little, too late.
Ben feels that Han and Leia put their own objectives ahead of the welfare of their son. This fragment in trust pushed him away from his parents and toward Vader.
This loss of trust may have also pushed Ben away from Luke Skywalker and toward the Dark Side. It could help partially explain Ben’s destructive attack on Luke’s Jedi Temple.
Altogether, the concealment of his family lineage and the public revelation of it pushed Ren closer to Vader.
Why Is Kylo Ren Obsessed With Darth Vader?
Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader because of how he found out about this familial relationship. Ben discovered his true relationship to Vader not through his mother and father, but from outside sources.
He found out when it became public knowledge, not beforehand. So, Ben felt not only a sense of betrayal, but an emotional distance from his family that pushed him to seek out a family connection.
In addition, Ben is similar to his grandfather Darth Vader in temperament. By the time he has become Kylo Ren, Ben displays strong emotional outbursts, losing his temper easily.
This hot-tempered dispossession is quite similar to Darth Vader. Ren and Vader are both quick to take action through anger.
This emotional connection drives them together. The rage of Ren and Vader is central to them and their bond with the Dark Side.
Like Vader, Ben also views the Rebels and Jedi as the true instigators of chaos in the galaxy. In turn, both thought the Empire would have brought order and stability.
This shared outlook drives Ren’s obsession with Vader.
Kylo Ren and Darth Vader
The sense of betrayal that Ben felt about not being told about his true grandfather fuels Kylo Ren’s anger and paranoia.
The Dark Side of the Force also drives him away from the Light Side and his parents.
Calling Darth Vader grandfather and emulating his standards could be seen as a way for Ren to deal with this trauma and, ironically, form a family connection.
Kylo Ren claims his heritage, but also eventually moves away from the Dark Side. Like his grandfather, Ben turns back to the Light Side.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.