REN DAYS :3
A lot of the complaints about Kylo Ren as a villain is that he lacks Vader’s larger than life evil, he’s too common, too human to be evil. Traits that are used by his stans to argue why he will/must be redeemed.
I would like to point out that both camps, those who hate Kylo Ren for his humaness and those who use it for his defense, has missed the point JJ and Lawrence were trying to make.
just a not so friendly reminder that both Kylo’s parents are jewish so uh?? maybe consider that idk before you call him a nazi since he’s coded jewish
A not-so-friendly “hey, you’re absolutely wrong, and I’m a Jewish SW fan who calls him a Nazi ABSOLUTELY FOR A REASON AND THAT REASON IS HE’S MEANT TO BE SEEN AS ONE” –
An integral part of Kylo’s entire storyline as a villain is that he is
ethnically Alderaanian (Space Sephardi Jewish, as far as current canon
can be compared to real-life ethnic and cultural groups) and raised by a
mother who both witnessed the genocide of the Alderaanian people AND
had the responsibility of representing their culture on the Galactic
stage so that their presence wouldn’t be forgotten entirely after the (lowercase-h)
But then he, as an adult man, of his own free will, CHOSE
to reject his heritage and join an explicitly neo-Nazi-coded fascist
military/political junta that existed solely to finish the ethnoracial
cleansing the Empire started in the Galaxy and centralize power under
one tyrannical leader who believes that only human beings (all white, in
the films, although there are some Black FO officers in the
novels/comics) is fit to have independent autonomy. The First Order is
literally called The First Order because “the first order of business is begin [the Empire’s reign] again.”
One of the first acts of the FO/final acts of the Empire was to hunt
down and exterminate all surviving Alderaanians, illustrating that it
was NOT solely a political decision on Tarkin’s part – it wasn’t about getting Leia to reveal where the Rebellion HQ was; he was always going to destroy Alderaan because its culture and governing body were antithetical to the Empire’s ideals and goals and Tarkin himself HATED Alderaan and Alderaanians. (In fact, a lot of the antisemitic stereotypes neo-Nazis and antisemites associate with Jews IRL are traits that Tarkin ascribes to Leia, Breha, and Bail, particularly in that he thinks that they’re manipulative wealth-hoarders who have a secret agenda to take over the Galaxy for their own gain [which, of course, is fucking rich coming from a Grand Moff of the Empire, analogous, of course, to a rank of Reich Minister.])
Further, Kylo Ren chooses, as an adult man, of his own free will, to reject his Alderaanian heritage EXPLICITLY BECAUSE HE IS GIVEN A REASON TO BE ABLE TO SHED THAT IDENTITY. He joins the First Order – again, an OVERTLY neo-Nazis-coded illegal fascist junta, in the movie, which IDK if you saw, but is very overtly coded as a neo-Nazi regime – because he finds out that he isn’t actually the biological grandson of Bail Antilles and Breha Organa of Alderaan, but of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. He was not raised as Vader’s OR Anakin’s grandson, but as the grandson of the Organas – he joins the FO very shortly after a statue commemorating the Alderaanian Genocide is erected at the New Republic Senate building (which, btw, Kylo helps to destroy in the FO’s OWN genocide in TFA, because it’s on Hosnian Prime). He violently rejects his Space Jewish identity, and he joins the First Order to prove it.
Honestly, did you watch TFA? Have you read the extended canon materials? I honestly have no idea what the fuck Rian Johnson is doing with his Kylo/FO apologism boner, but Abrams (a Jewish director and writer) and the Kasdans (also Jewish Lucasfilm writers and producers) went out of their way to make the parallels between the First Order/Empire and the Nazis/neo-Nazi movements as nail-on-the-head obvious as they could without literally renaming them. (Someone on here once pointed out that Armitage Hux, the FO’s screamy speechifying figurehead general, even has the initials “A.H.”) Abrams doubled down on making sure that the “Kylo Ren is exulting in being able to disconnect from the Alderaanian genocide” thing by having him KEEP HUMAN ASHES AS A TROPHY, which is OBVIOUSLY rooted in Shoah imagery even if it’s a grandiose departure from reality. (It’s a movie, so of course it is.)
Beyond the fact that their jackbooted stormtroopers are LITERALLY CALLED “stormtroopers,” their film presence as universally White in the upper echelons of power – the dynamics of Rae Sloane, and why she is no longer a part of the FO’s power structure, are something I hope Lucasfilm can explain well, tbh – and Space Racist (their core belief, beyond the radically conservative “central seat of power” form of government they originally advocated for, is that only humans should have power in the Galaxy, as I said above, which is a SUPER common scifi trope for racism), and the fact that Abrams and Kasdan and Lucas have all SAID that they’re meant to be Nazi allegories, there’s the whole “Hux’s FO speech was meant to mirror the Nuremberg Rally, visually and in content” thing, and it succeeds.
Like, basically, Kylo’s parents both being played by Jewish actors – although Driver is not – and Leia and Han being Jewish-coded characters is PART OF Kylo’s characterization as a neo-Nazi. His internal struggle, the Light versus the Dark, his pain of being torn apart, is an extreme hatred of himself. A big part of his canonical anger at his parents is that they never told him that he was not actually genetically Alderaanian, but was raised that way anyway. It’s… like, it’s very much an intentional choice.
I agree with most of your posts, @jewish-mccoy, but you’re not correct on this hot take. Maybe stick to Star Trek meta?
Pretty sure if Kylo Ren had looked like this…
People wouldn’t say “oh plz protect my poor baby Ben, he’s suffering”, treat him like a 13 year old child even though he is 30, or ship him with Rey after he kidnapped her, tortured her, force pushed her into a tree, killed her father figure, almost killed her close friend, manipulated her, said that she was “nothing, except to him”, tried to convince her to abandon her friends, ordered her to be blown out of the sky, and then threatened to destroy her…because they touched hands…nope.
And if Finn had looked like this.
People would probably think he’s the new Luke Skywalker, shit, even I would. There would be no question that he is the male lead of the trilogy, he wouldn’t be shrunken or removed in posters, removed from trailers entirely, he would have more merchandise, the Finn Skywalker and Force Sensitive Finn theories would be through the roof, Finnrey would be the most popular ship, probably even canon by the end of the first movie.
Finn doesn’t balk at helping out, whether it’s passing tools to Rey in the Falcon or aiding Chewie with his injuries. Finn doesn’t talk over Rey or try to make choices for her. They may disagree and banter, but it’s not barbed, and it’s at an even keel. He looks out for himself, but not at the expense of others – when Finn decides to leave for the Outer Rim, he honestly tells Rey his story and how he feels about her, and asks her to come, and then accepts her refusal gracefully. He respects her decisions, her autonomy, and Rey as a person.
Obviously Finn digs this girl — who wouldn’t, she is undeniably The Coolest — and he does ask if she has a boyfriend early on, but after she says “None of your business,” he lets it go. When he could sulk or tease or be possessive or rude toward her, he doesn’t. He adores her, but is happy just to see Rey safe and well. He’s not preoccupied with romance or feeling “jilted,” where another character might resent her for it. When she hugs him on the Starkiller Base, he doesn’t turn lecherous or try to make a move. She owes him nothing, even when he risked his life to come to her aid, and he gets that! He’s not a White Knight, Friend-Zoned, or a Nice Guy. He never tries to “take” anything he wants when it comes to Rey. He doesn’t view her as a thing to take….
The parallels between Finn and Kylo Ren are the most direct (and stark) in terms of toxic masculinity. Finn seems to reject this toxicity, whereas Kylo Ren is constantly hung up on performing and proving himself strong enough. They are opposites: especially evidenced by the way they treat Rey – how they define themselves against the chief female presence of the movie.
Like Finn, Kylo Ren is also interested in and impressed by Rey. (And he also first meets her when she attacks him.) But instead of treating Rey like a person, Kylo acts out of aggression, objectification, and self-centeredness. He immediately immobilizes her, Force-faints her, and then carries her, bridal-style, to his ship: old-fashioned, exploitative, and gross. His language towards her is incredibly patronizing: “So this is the girl I’ve heard so much about…” He proceeds to insult her friends and threaten and torture her: violating her mind, using her as a tool but also relishing the show of his own power and the taking of something personal by force. “I can take what I want” is simultaneously a threat, a statement of power/entitlement, and a declaration of how Kylo fundamentally views Rey: an object, something controllable to serve his purposes. When the tables turn and Rey reads him, he is incredibly shaken by the subversion of his own authority and control, and when she escapes, he storms around looking for her in a blind rage, pursuing her with a weapon. Even as she’s beating him in the ensuing lightsaber battle, he has the gall to mansplain her own power to her: “YOU NEED A TEACHER!”
I love how this article is in direct contrast with the nonsensical idea that Kylo Ren somehow respects Rey as an equal while because Finn took her goddamn hand, he’s somehow the sexist one.
Kylo Ren had a shitty deadbeat dad who decided to be a smuggler than be there for his kid and a mom who wasn’t a princess or a senator but a general. Kid probably grew up in a war zone. Safe to say his childhood was far from fucking privileged.
Anakin’s reaction to any adversity in his life is to murder every single man woman and child in his path and then blame entire groups of people for his problems. Wife gonna die in childbirth? Good enough reason to fucking murder a bunch of kids.
Kylo has so far on screen killed one person. Had great hesitation to do it. And frankly is an action I’ve thought about a bunch. I think kids of deadbeat dads have all thought about fucking killing your deadbeat dad.
All of your Kylo facts is actually fiction. Nothing you say here is supported by fact. Kylo Ben fans are tripping.
He also killed more than one person on screen. We saw him specifically murder Lor San Tekka and Han Solo on screen. Both unarmed old men.
We saw him order the slaughter of a village which had already been subdued. Every death that his troops caused in compliance with that order is on his head.
We saw him lead the invasion of two planets: Jakku and Takodana. The First Order is not a legitimate government of either planet. Any deaths that occurred during that invasion are on him too.
While he didn’t give the order to blow up the Hosnian system, (BILLIONS DEAD) he willingly assisted the people who did. Moreover, he willingly continued to protect the weapon when their victims attempted to prevent further use. Moreover, he knew it was being aimed at his MOTHER at the time.
He abducted a civilian woman and repeatedly assaulted her. He tortured her as well. He tortured an enemy combatant. He assaulted and attempted to murder a young man who had been enslaved by the First Order.
He is complicit in the abduction, indoctrination, abuse and enslavement of Finn and every other Stormtrooper. The movie makes it clear that he knows the nature of the program and does not object except to suggest clones would be more efficient.
Even if Kylo’s childhood was as described (which it was not, as proven by the Aftermath trilogy and Bloodlines) that is not a valid excuse for any of his crimes. And while I am not much of an Anakin sympathizer, the fact remains that, at this point in time, he has been established to have an objectively worse backstory, which is a valid basis to compare and contrast even though it does not excuse his crimes.
And in the end, Anakin still had to die for his crimes. He did not get a forgiven by everyone, happily ever after with his kids ending. The love he got from his son was still with the mournful understanding that the darkness inside of him was terrible and still his responsibility, not excused by his backstory. He wasn’t offered free forgiveness, he was challenged to be better because he’d established on a number of occasions he had a line he wouldn’t cross. “You couldn’t bring yourself to destroy me before.” is what Luke told him.
Kylo crossed that line. Kylo was furthermore offered several chances to at least establish a line by maybe taking Lor San Tekka alive (but he killed him), maybe just leaving the subdued and not a threat village (but he had them kill everyone), maybe ignoring the girl in the woods (but he kidnapped her), maybe turning the other way while Hux tried to identify the runaway stormtrooper (instead he identified him), maybe if not taking Han’s offer to go home just turning around and leaving his father alive (but he killed him) and he didn’t. Vader at least didn’t go out of his way to be more of an asshole than he had to to get the job done, Kylo enthusiastically threw himself into murder and mayhem, volunteering to go that extra step.
Anakin’s backstory isn’t what got him a redemption arc. It was the little moments when Vader was not entirely fucking evil. Not killing extra people, for example. It wasn’t his previous pain, it was that little tiny spark of goodness he very occasionally indulged, that Luke sensed when they connected minds, that saved Anakin in the end. Anakin’s horrible backstory is only there to explain why that little spark of goodness could still exist, because he was once a genuinely good person and he went to Hell on that path of good intentions, but he still had something that he valued enough that he could drag himself out of the Pit to save.
Kylo is specifically designed and presented as NOT valuing that same thing that Anakin valued. He wants to kill his uncle, he didn’t lift a finger to save his mother, he killed his own father. Desire for power had led Anakin down the Road to Hell, but we knew from the confrontations with Luke that that desire for power did not override his desire for family. Kylo has several lines that establish he wants to be as dark as possible so that he can attain and surpass Vader’s power level. In the movie, he kills his own father to achieve that goal. In the backstory of the movie, he’s establish to have destroyed his Uncle’s life to achieve that goal. During the movie he’s supporting the destruction of his mother’s life’s work to achieve that goal.
It’s got nothing to do with having a sob story and everything to do with WHY they want power and WHAT they will do to achieve it. Anakin wanted power to protect his family, and even after 23 years of darkness he was not willing to allow his son to die. Kylo is willing to kill his father and purposefully harm his mother and her brother to achieve power, and by all indications he wants it for his own vanity.
I think a lot of fans don’t realize or remember that when Vader’s arc came about, we didn’t KNOW Anakin Skywalker’s backstory at all.
All Luke (and the audience) knew, even at the end, was that Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi and a pilot, who at some point, for some reason, became a monster.
We didn’t have Revenge of the Sith to explain it until twenty years later.
The roots of Darth Vader’s redemption comes entirely from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Vader was scary in A New Hope, and he hurt Leia and killed Obi-Wan. But at that point in time, he was basically a faceless machine. Cold, terrible, cruel. But not personal or human.
In Empire, Vader is a terrifying monster who knowingly stalks and brutalizes his son while still furthering the Empire’s atrocities. There’s no question about his evil. But there is the faintest glimmer for hope in the way he’s reaching out for a connection to his son.
Unfortunately, because Vader is a monster, the only connection he can forge with him is monstrous. But he is still trying. He wants Luke to join him. He’s offering him power WITH him. In the warped and terrible way that Vader perceives the universe, that’s the closest he can come to love.
This is the first glimpse of Vader’s humanity that we get. And while it’s terrible and monstrous, it’s all about wanting a connection with his son.
And that’s where the redemption moment becomes possible. That’s what Luke is able to draw on later to save Vader from the Dark. He uses the fact that Vader reached out to him for connection to offer that connection back. But not the power exchange that Vader understands, but forgiveness and love. And when the choice is before him, in clear, uncertain terms. Vader takes that offering.
This doesn’t work for Kylo Ren, because we’ve seen Kylo Ren as a human all along. The unmasking during Rey’s interrogation was deliberate. It showed us that he wasn’t a faceless machine, but a man.
And that’s what destroys the chance of Vader’s redemption arc. Vader’s a machine, whose sole glimpse of humanity is reaching for a familial connection. But Kylo is a human man, with a human face, who is repeatedly offered that human connection all along.
Lor San Tekka tries to appeal to Kylo as a man, in his family’s name, citing his origin in the light, and gets murdered.
The Starkiller is aimed at the Resistance base, where Leia is sitting. Kylo defends it.
And finally, of course, the most explicit: Han Solo begs Kylo to come home. Reaching out to him, unarmed, crying. And Kylo shoves a saber through him.
That’s why Kylo loses in this comparison. It’s not a measure of evil deeds or sob stories. It’s because he rejected what Vader chose to save.
I am fed up to my eyeballs with the Kylo defenders trashing Han and Leia and Luke and blaming everyone but Kylo – it’s his terrible parents (bullshit), it’s Snoke, it’s the village that’s armed, it’s Lor San that didn’t give up, it’s a war.
Who then demand that we love their prince and want his redemption or we don’t understand the narrative or we don’t love Han, Luke & Leia (well obviously not the OP), or we don’t understand Kylo and therefore when we hate him we are also taking it out on them because they identify with his issues.
No, we’re not. Many of us don’t like Kylo. We don’t care about his redemption because in universe he evidences NO EFFORT towards wanting one and in “real world,” characters we love were warped and destroyed to create him (many of us feel, not all). Many others are interested in how he will work as a villain and still don’t care about his redemption until he decides to work towards one.
Again, redemption DOES NOT EQUAL riding off into the sunset and having babies with Rey after Leia sends him to his room for a month. It means exile or prison. Or he can die doing something noble. His choice.
And let me say something else. If you think Han Solo deserves to die because he’s a deadbeat dad (which is all so wrong I can barely type it) then let me ask you this.
I give you thirty year old man who stood by while genocide was committed by an organization he was a part of. Who killed two unarmed old men, one his father. Who killed his uncle’s students. Who betrayed his parents and uncle by going off to join their enemy. Who committed war crimes like torture and murder of innocents. Who was standing by while his mother was next to be killed.
What does he deserve?
There is nothing to add to this. It’s a great comparison between Vader and Kylo and what i’ve been trying to say for ages. Redemption has to earnt. It’s not enough for Ben to regret what he’s done now: he has to do something to absolve his sins. Vader kills the Emperor, ending the empire, saving his son and dies. Kylo will have to do something at least as big, but at this point I don’t know what the turning point for him could be anymore.
Kylo stans live in a fandom bubble where everything in the first reply is hard fact, not to be questioned. They won’t listen to these responses, but man I’m glad they were made.
It’s been pointed out for a while that Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens has a fixation on Finn that turns increasingly to rage. These moments include:
- Noticing Finn at Tuanul village and intimidating him by unfreezing the blaster beam from Poe’s rifle
- Realizing immediately that Finn was the Stormtrooper who had escaped with Poe
- Flying into a rage at the mention of Finn escaping Jakku with BB-8
- Purposefully inflicting pain and maximum injury on Finn during the lightsaber battle in the woods
What I haven’t seen mentioned is that right after Ren killed his father Han Solo, he recognized Finn and was enraged enough to go after him despite being badly wounded. I didn’t put this in my recent edit because the context would not be clear enough, and I think a text explanation is necessary to show what was going on.
To preface, I always thought it was odd that the camera focused so much more on Finn’s face than Rey’s shortly after Han’s murder by Kylo Ren. She was the one who had built up a rapport with Han, to the extent Ren realized from his mind probe that she saw him as a father figure, and she was the one who wept at Han’s death. Finn and Han had built an understanding and mutual respect, but I never got the sense there was a deep emotional connection between them.
Looking through the movie recently for footage to edit, though, I was chilled to realize that the longer focus on Finn wasn’t the camera emphasizing his reaction over Rey’s; rather, we were getting a Kylo Ren’s-eye view of Ren staring at Finn. The man had just killed his father and he was taking that moment to fixate on his former minion. Here’s what I think was going on: