Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kylo Ren, and the Theme of Redemption in Star Wars

One compliant many have about The Force Awakens, particularly among my fellow Prequel fans, is they see Kylo Ren killing Han Solo as a rejection of the theme of redemption Star Wars always had that reaches it's culmination in Return of The Jedi when Luke goes against what Obi-Won and Yoda insisted and saves his father.

I'm not willing to jump the gun on that off only the first film of the trilogy.  But I understand their concern.

As a Christian, and indeed now an Evangelical Universalist Christian, the idea that anyone can be saved is important to me.  It's part of why I like Magical Girl Anime, and it's part of what I like about Star Wars.

Kylo Ren is different from Anakin Skywalker.  Being a Jedi, a warrior of Light, was always what Anakin truly wanted to be, his fall was ultimately his own decision but it came about by a manipulation of his character flaws, and in how the Jedi order no longer lived up to it's ideals.

Kylo Ren is the opposite.  Being a Knight of the Dark Side is what he wants, it's the path he's chosen for himself, and to him it's the Light that is a seductive force that could ruin his dreams.  His parents want to believe Snoke manipulated him like Palpatine manipulated Anakin, but that's not what we've been shown so far.

For that reason Kylo Ren being redeemed in the same way we're used to redemption working in a Star Wars film would not fit his character.  However there is a third option.

Many people have been hoping for this new Trilogy to de-simply the Lightside/Darkside dichotomy.  To make The Force more nuanced.

In that context Kylo Ren can be redeemed by suggesting that Dark is Not Evil, That the Darkside can be used for good, and also the Lightside for evil.  After all Batman is Dark but doesn't Kill.

The Jedi view the Darkside as Evil because as Palpatine said their view of The Force is Dogmatic and Narrow minded.  But his view is dogmatic in it's own way teaching Anakin he had to kill innocent children to grow stronger.

So maybe Kylo Ren could turn on the First Order, but still be a Knight of Ren and still use his favorite Red Lightsaber.  The Hero the Galaxy deserves, but not the one it Needs right now.

So that's an idea, we'll see where the films go.

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