‘The Rise of Skywalker’: Ben Solo’s Death Made Sense, But Wasn’t the Most Interesting Ending

Star Wars is about many things, from politics to good versus evil. However, beneath every movie, saber fight, and intergalactic air war lies a story about the choices that we all make.

Kylo Ren’s journey in the recent trilogy was a prime example of a motif that remains in the saga 45 years later. However, his journey has many fans wondering if the writers missed an opportunity to run the point behind the series home. 

Ben Solo’s journey 

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As one can see in the rundown on his Fandom page, Kylo Ren is introduced as a masked villain similar to Darth Vader. As the story continues, however, we learn that this similarity is not just straightforward storytelling. Anakin Skywalker’s grandchild, Ben Solo, has the same difficult, lone-wolf tendencies that Han and Leia showed in early movies. With busy parents and no one to show him the way, however, he falls into the wrong crowd and gets brainwashed by the lingering Emperor as he hides behind the scenes. 

This makes Kylo one of the most memorable parts of the new saga. One moment he might be plunging his lightsaber into his fan-beloved, and the next, he might be teaming up with Rey to fight the evil Snoke. Kylo was evil, but the intentions behind this evil are much more nuanced. When Kylo eventually made the ultimate sacrifice, his life, many fans wondered if the story leading up to it warranted the echo of the first trilogy. 

‘The Rise of Skywalker’: What do fans think?

Host Adam Driver as Kylo Ren
Host Adam Driver as Kylo Ren | Rosalind O’Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Fans on Reddit spoke about Kylo Ren’s redemption tale. Many fans disliked the movie and did so loudly. However, even those who could not stand The Rise of Skywalker saw it as a natural ending that, while sloppy on storytelling, was not entirely out of character. U/JarrettTheGuy saw the end game as a grand finale but wanted to see a journey that justified his ultimate sacrifice. 

“It makes the most sense storywise, and I figured they would do it, but it would be more interesting if they hadn’t. We’ve seen redemption through death already with Anakin. Redemption with consequences has huge story potential.”

While Kylo’s murky moral compass may have made the ending feel rushed, better storytelling could have made the final chapter of the sequel trilogy a fan-beloved experience. Hearing Adam Driver speak about the character in the lead-up to its ultimate release. One can see the justification behind it all. 

Ben Solo speaks up

Driver spoke about the character in the lead-up to the final film’s release. While the actor couldn’t go into great detail about Kylo Ren’s fate before the movie came out, his comments speak to his eventual return to the light side before suffering the same fate as his grandfather. According to Driver, Kylo Ren is a case of someone whose parents were too busy to be there and someone who felt the need to forge his path. 

“He’s almost like a spoiled rich kid who has to evolve into something,” Driver told Rolling Stone. “He’s following his path of finding who he is. You might have had to metaphorically, or in this case literally, kill your father to find out who you are. To be your own person, at a certain point you have to claim it. But then again, we never really figure out who we are.”

In Kylo’s’ case, he did just that. By sacrificing his life for Rey, he wasn’t doing anything for his recently departed parents nor the spirit of his late grandfather. He took things into his own hands and realized that despite all of the monstrous things he did, deep down, he was a good person. While the execution of his demise may have left a lot to be desired, it’s easy to look at Driver’s take on the character and see how it relates to his ultimate fate. 

Star Wars tackles the age-old trope of moral gray areas and uses them to great effect today. While people had issues with Episode IX as a whole, parts of it still make sense to the greater mythology. Maybe Kylo’s path could have gone somewhere different, but his ultimate sacrifice shows a man who, deep down, never entirely lost the light Uncle Luke instilled in him.