Kylo Ren is one of the most perplexing characters in the Sequel Trilogy. Born as Ben Solo, he embraced the dark side and sought to become the galaxy’s Supreme Leader.
Knowing the dark cloud that surrounds Kylo Ren, you may wonder what prompted him to fall to the dark side. One primary issue laid with three people: His parents and Luke Skywalker.
Growing up, Ren faced insecurities like abandonment and the feeling his family kept a dark secret from him. The reason he hated his parents stemmed from voices in his head. This exploited the insecurities he felt toward his parents and swayed him to the dark side.
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Who Are Kylo Ren’s Parents?
Kylo Ren’s parents were the heroes of the Original Trilogy, Leia Organa Skywalker and Han Solo. Leia played a key role in the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War while Han was an accomplished pilot who doubled as a smuggler.
Han’s life took a turn when he met Luke Skywlaker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in 0 BBY, accepting a job to transport the duo and their droids to Alderaan. This kicked off a chain of events where he crossed paths with Leia and ended up fighting for the Rebels.
Leia and Han’s relationship started off rocky, with Leia having little patience for the smuggler. They eventually grew closer to one another, and Han proposed to Leia shortly after the Battle of Endor. One year later in 5 ABY, they had a son named Ben Solo.
Was Kylo Ren Angry at His Parents?
The primary reason Kylo Ren was angry at his parents was because they withheld a dark truth that he descended from a Sith Lord. But many times in fiction, parents, or parental figures, withhold truths from younger characters.
In the Harry Potter Series, Albus Dumbledore spent years concealing the truth of why Lord Voldemort wanted to kill Harry. But Harry never betrayed the Order of the Phoenix.
There is a book series called World of the Gateway, where the protagonist’s aunt hides several dark secrets. The main character, Jess Ballard, did not fly off the handle when she slowly discovered these truths.
You can find examples all over film and literature, so what made Kylo Ren so angry with his parents that he showed signs of slipping to the dark side? Ren had a catalyst, who we later found out to be Snoke, to help push him over the edge.
Ren Heard Voices
Years before he became Kylo Ren, Ben Solo’s Force-sensitivity emerged at a young age, and he had a tough time controlling it. When angry, he used the Force to break objects.
Not long after, he overheard his parents having a worried conversation over his inability to control his Force-sensitivity. It was around this time that Darth Sidious intervened, unbeknownst to Ben, and began coercing the boy into embracing the dark side.
Given the busy lives Ben’s parents led and his subsequent feeling of abandonment, juxtaposed by their concerns over his lack of control, Ben unwittingly gave Sidious an arsenal of negative emotions to work with.
Sidious further exploited these insecurities, and convinced Ben that he could not live without listening to the voices, such as Snoke, in his head. While initially frightened, Ben came to trust the voices, and this further allowed Sidious to break into Ben’s mind via the Force.
Though angry, it wasn’t that Ben hated his parents because of their concealing the truth from him. It was more that Sidious managed to use Solo’s parents’ actions as a way to further sway the boy from the light, and into embracing the dark side.
Why Did Leia Want to Conceal the Truth?
It wasn’t that Leia didn’t want to tell her son the truth about his Sith heritage. She didn’t wish to let him in on the secret until she felt he was ready not only to handle it, but to understand that, although Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side, he also redeemed himself before dying.
Had Darth Sidious not spent years using Snoke as a proxy to exploit the insecurities Ben felt toward Leia and Han, chances are, he would not have fallen to the dark side. Leia only wanted what all parents want, and that is what is best for her son.
Unfortunately for Leia, the outside influence from Darth Sidious via Snoke had already grasped hold of Ben. And this turned him against both her and Han.
Darth Sidious Needed Kylo Ren to Hate His Parents
To embrace the dark side, one must embrace negative emotions of anger and hate. In 19 BBY, Darth Sidious used similar tactics to turn Anakin Skywalker against the Jedi, claiming the ancient Order was seeking to overthrow the Senate.
He also claimed the dark side was the only way for Anakin’s wife Padme to survive childbirth. Darth Sidious played on Anakin’s insecurities.
So when the time came to pull Kylo Ren to the dark side, Sidious played on Kylo Ren’s insecurities, allowing him to embrace those same emotions of anger and hate. Since those insecurities stemmed from Kylo Ren’s family, it was natural to turn the boy against them.
What Made Kylo Ren Hate Luke?
For Ben to fully resent his family, Darth Sidious also needed to turn him against Luke Skywalker. This meant waiting for the opportune moment, and Luke played into Sidious’ hands when he contemplated killing Ben.
Luke felt the dark side in his nephew, and when he saw Ben through the Force, he saw the boy as a figure shrouded in darkness. One major characteristic Luke possessed is that he trusted his instincts via insights above all else.
We saw several examples of this occurring in The Original Trilogy, when his insight ended with him refusing to kill his father, Darth Vader. Instead, he successfully redeemed Vader to his former identity as Anakin Skywalker.
Before redeeming Vader, Luke further put faith in his insights when he dueled Vader at the expense of his Jedi training in Empire Strikes Back. Though this appeared to be a bad decision initially, it led Luke to the truth that Vader was his father.
Luke’s Instincts Failed Him Once
Luke’s instincts never failed him until they became clouded and urged him to kill his nephew. This led him to Ben’s sleeping quarters, with the intent to kill the boy in his sleep.
However, Luke realized his instincts were not 100% accurate here. But when he realized this, Ben caught the hint of what his uncle initially intended to do, and it caused the boy to fully embrace the dark side, eventually shedding his Ben Solo identity for Kylo Ren.
This spurred Kylo Ren’s irreparable hatred for his uncle. Ren subsequently burned Luke’s Jedi Temple, became a master in the Knights of Ren, and aligned himself with Snoke. Luke, realizing his mistake, went into exile.
Ren Did Not Care For Luke Beforehand
Ben Solo had a lot of Anakin Skywalker in him. Like Anakin, Ben also felt the Jedi’s rules held him back. And since Luke led the Jedi Order during Ben’s time, Ben pinned much of the blame onto his uncle long before he fell to the dark side.
Darth Sidious continued to use Snoke and the other voices to sway Ben to the dark side. They led Ben to believe that the Empire benefited the galaxy and that Luke was fully responsible for its destruction.
It prompted Ben to look at Luke as a man who weakened Darth Vader to turn the Sith Lord back to the light. As Sidious continued to brainwash Ben, he led the boy to believe he could become as powerful, if not more so, than Darth Vader.
But since Luke and the rest of the Jedi Order did not approve of that mentality, Ben believed they, in turn, further held him back.
Following Ren’s destruction of Luke’s Jedi Temple, his hatred for his uncle became so severe, he constantly sought to hunt down and kill the exiled Jedi Master even though Luke was no longer a threat.
Kylo Ren hated his parents and Luke Skywalker because of his insecurities regarding abandonment and the feeling they kept something dark from him. These feelings served as a catalyst for Darth Sidious to coerce the boy toward the dark side.
Such concealments are common tropes you see throughout the entertainment industry. But what separated Kylo Ren from many others is the fact he heard voices in his head playing on his insecurities, which drove him further from the light, and closer to the dark side.
When Luke contemplated killing him at the Jedi Temple, it was the final straw for Ren. Not only did he feel abandoned, but he also woke up to his uncle standing over him while wielding a lightsaber. This seemed to confirm Ren’s insecurities, and it ended with him embracing the dark side.