‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: Will Kylo Ren Die or Be Redeemed?

The Star Wars sequel trilogy has introduced a number of unforgettable characters to the franchise. Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 have all made a lasting impression on fans, building on the series’ legacy. But the villainous Kylo Ren may top them all.

As the child of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has struggled to “let the past die.” In The Force Awakens, the character murders his own father. And by the end of The Last Jedi, he’s turned against Snoke, usurping him as the First Order’s Supreme Leader.

The fates of the sequel trilogy’s principal characters all hang in the balance going into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Yet, even as the film’s first reviews pour in, fans are especially wondering what will become of Kylo Ren. Will he perish in the final battle or be redeemed for his crimes? Let’s investigate.

Adam Driver at the European premiere of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Adam Driver at the European premiere of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Will Kylo Ren die in the final Skywalker film?

Some fans believe — as did Leia — that Kylo Ren is beyond all hope. Because he murdered the beloved Han Solo, any goodness his mother once sensed in him must be gone completely. As such, the only justifiable way for Kylo’s story to die is his death.

We’ve watched Rey ascend from scavenger to powerful Jedi in her own right. In order to cement her victory, the Resistance needs to win the day in The Rise of Skywalker. That can only really happen if its Supreme Leader falls, likely by Rey’s own hand.

Moreover, the new film serves as the final installment of the Skywalker saga. To be such a definitive ending, that bloodline needs to come to an end. Assuming The Rise of Skywalker neatly ends Leia’s story as well, Kylo would then be the last Skywalker standing. Plus, we’ve heard talk about possible returns for the sequel trilogy’s other leads but not Driver. So there’s that.

Does Kylo Ren even deserve redemption?

But then, what kind of statement does The Rise of Skywalker send if the final Skywalker remains a villain through and through? Star Wars has always been about hope, perseverance, and righteousness. So maybe fans still rooting for Kylo’s redemption aren’t crazy after all.

The Rise of Skywalker does bring back the saga’s original Big Bad in the form of Emperor Palpatine. We still don’t know what role the Sith Lord will play in the film. But his reintroduction feels like an opportunity for Kylo and Rey to join forces against him.

This would perfectly set the stage for all the “Reylo” shippers to finally have their wish come true. When Palpatine seduced Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, he essentially cursed the entire family line. So Kylo’s redemption could not only save his own soul but lift the pale hanging over the Skywalker name.

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ could see the villain go ‘full Vader’

The most likely conclusion, however, is not that Kylo will die or that he’ll be redeemed but both. Much like his grandfather, Kylo will probably achieve redemption moments before his own death. He’s done too much damage for The Rise of Skywalker to allow him to just live happily ever after.

George Lucas’ six-part Star Wars saga follows the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader. Of course, the saga is known for its recurring motifs, themes, and iconography. So it feels only right for Kylo Ren — or, rather, Ben Solo — to reclaim his true nature and vanquish Palpatine once and for all.

Would such a turn of events feel a little too similar to the conclusion of Return of the Jedi? Absolutely. Are we certain our prediction will actually come to pass once The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters? Of course not. But we are cautiously optimistic director J.J. Abrams will find the right way to end the Skywalker saga. If nothing else, Star Wars has taught us to hope.