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KYLO REN – The Conflicted Son (A Character Study)

Discussion in 'General Sequel Trilogy Discussion' started by NinjaRen, Apr 30, 2019.

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Do you like Kylo Ren's character?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    Hello fellow Cantina members! I always wanted to post an in-depth-analysis about Kylo Ren's character arc, I’ve never really knew how though. But here I am now… So let’s get started!


    What makes a character and its arc interesting? The conflict he/she has to deal with!

    According to K.M. Weiland’s book „Creating Character Arcs“ there are four aspects which create the conflict and therefore the journey of a character:
    1. the lie your character believes
    2. the thing your character wants
    3. the thing your character needs
    4. your character's ghost
    „The lie your character believes“ is something which the character believes about him-/herself or the world in general. This lie is caused by the „the ghost“.

    ‘Ghost‘ is moviespeak for something in your character's past that haunts him. You may also see it sometimes referred to as the ‚wound‘. - K.M. Weiland
    KM Weiland.jpg
    (If you are interested in how characters work, then I highly recommend this book.)

    So the character’s wound or ghost is deeply connected with the lie he/she believes. The character needs to overcome this to get to the goal of the story.


    Kylo Ren’s/Ben Solo’s ghost is- Luke trying (or at least thinking of) killing his nephew in his sleep.

    Luke trying to kill Ben.gif

    Ben was traumatised by this and it was the final nail for him turning to the dark side. This „wound“ caused Ben to believe in Snoke’s lies, therefore he joined him and the First Order.

    One of Snoke‘s lies would be that Ren needs to be like Vader to save the galaxy. Henceforth he was wearing a mask in TFA and TLJ.

    The mask is a great depiction of Kylo’s mind btw. He needs it for gaining motivation, but at the same time it shows that he’s not fully believing in himself. He’s torn apart in his believes and acting.

    Kylo and mask.jpg
    So, this could be the reason why the mask has its return in The Rise Of Skywalker.

    mask TROS.jpg

    Kylo reforges his helmet to gain confidence. This is probably the lie which he believes in TROS. In TFA’s introduction of Kylo Ren, he comes off as a confident, evil and powerful dark side user. It seems like nothing can stop him.

    Kylo stopping blaster.gif

    However later in the movie we find out he isn’t that badass as he first appeared. He’s conflicted and unsure about his path and future. In TLJ we also learn more about his past and fears.

    He was raised to believe to be a new chosen one:

    [Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character. – Mark Hamill
    After Ben has learned about his heritage, he was made to believe (by Snoke) that he was destined to be a new Vader.

    Snoke.jpg

    However when Rey enters his life, he finds out that this isn't the case. After that the only thing Kylo thinks is worth pursuing is power. That is yet another lie he believes until he kills Snoke.


    Btw Rey: this scavenger girl is designed to also have a conflict with Kylo’s arc. John Truby writes in his book „The Anatomy of Story“:

    As your hero and his opponents fight over the goal, make sure their values come into direct conflict. - John Truby
    John Truby.jpg
    (This is also a great book for understanding stories and their characters.)


    Kylo Ren wants to let the past die, while Rey wants to learn more about her past and her parents. Rey searches for a family <=> Kylo destroys a family.

    The opponent is the character with the ultimate power to deny, destroy, take away, or claim for himself what the protagonist wants. – John Truby

    => Kylo denies who he really is and tries actively to let his past die. This has direct consequences for Rey (losing parental figures like Han and Luke).

    The opponent is the character who most wants to keep the hero from achieving his desire. – John Truby

    => Rey wants a family and belonging, Kylo’s acts prevent this.
    The irony though is that Kylo and Rey are working toward the same goal, but have different ideas of what they think it takes to achieve that goal => bringing peace and freedom to the galaxy and have balance of the force.

    Anakin.jpg

    Both of their lies are in direct conflict and as a result they force each other to change.

    [​IMG]


    But back to the actual topic: Kylo is ruled by fear of loss and destruction. This is his conflict. Only by defeating his wounds and lies, Kylo Ren can fulfil his journey and rise as a character => The Rise Of Skywalker

    TROS.gif


    But what’s my point here? Easy. I just wanted to explain how well Kylo Ren is written as a character. I may not like everything about the ST, but you can’t deny that Kylo Ren is the best character of this trilogy or even the whole saga.
     
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  2. BobaFettNY21

    BobaFettNY21 Force Sensitive

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    He's got a serious case of imposter syndrome, to the point where he'd rather bring the entire galaxy down with him instead of figuring himself out. Rey is the opposite. She's got imposter syndrome which limits her until she's forced to proceed through the threshold - whether by circumstance (BB-8), by her counterpart (Kylo), or by a failed mentor (Luke).
     
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  3. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order, Then Pie
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    the difference for the moment being that i think Rey is much more self-aware of her own flim-flam, whereas Ben is so entrenched in his wrong thinking he can't see how wrong it is. one of the things i love about what they have done with him so far, is that they are gradually showing his realization of this.

    his final moment on the floor in Crait is really a masterstroke of characterization for me; his physical posture, his expression, the way he's holding the emotion in. what's great about Adam Driver as an actor specifically is that he never plays "throwing a tantrum" or "being angry/upset". he plays "trying NOT to" (i.e. fighting for control) and that makes it so much more powerful because the conflict is palpable. : D
     
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  4. BobaFettNY21

    BobaFettNY21 Force Sensitive

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    I would wager that's the difference for a lot of fans when comparing the sequels to the prequels.
     
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  5. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    I kinda have to disagree here. She's making as much mistakes as Kylo without realising it. She is a very naive character like Kylo. The difference is she has people who can help her while he doesn't or he doesn't even want any help.

    Adam Driver is defintiely the best actor in the ST. His performance as Kylo Ren should really be honored.
     
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  6. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order, Then Pie
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    oh, i think she knows when she's bluffing (like with Luke), or when she's in over her head (like with Ben). they both share the same hubris, but i think she's quicker to acknowledge it. and yes, has more help to see herself reflected back, whereas it's like he's literally in the dark about who he is.
     
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  7. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    Agree.
    And I think there is another reason why he is returning with his mask: he was humiliated by Snoke in TLJ. Snoke said to take that ridiculous thing off (mask) and also said that Kylo is a child in a mask. Bringing the mask back is just another childish move of his part. "Now I'am the Supreme Leader and I can do whatever I want!"

    Kylo Ren is probably my favorite character of the entire saga, after Luke. The character and his motivations are well written and the actor is so good. I wish they had use something like this for Anakin in the prequels.
     
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  8. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    I wonder if Kylo Ren's mask will be the MacGuffin of TROS. It would be cool if the mask is possessed by Palpatine's spirit and as long Kylo is wearing it, he becomes stronger in the dark side. Yes, it's more likely that Vader's destroyed helmet is the thing which is possessed.

    Kylo Ren is the Anti-Luke. Kylo Ren is the Anakin character done right. Kylo Ren is awesome ;D
     
    #8 NinjaRen, May 16, 2019
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  9. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    I wasn’t sure about Kylo Ren at first after seeing The Force Awakens, but The Last Jedi cements him as one of my favorite characters. Adam Driver has done a phenomenal job playing him. His emotions just feel so real and some of the subtle mannerisms he does is proof that he deserves recognition for his portrayal. You did a great job writing this @NinjaRen!
     
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  10. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    Adam Driver is definitely the best actor of the ST cast and he should get some recognition for that, yes! He will definitely win an Oscar one day (but not for SW...).
     
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  11. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order, Then Pie
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    i still think he should have won it for Paterson.
    most underrated performance of all time. : o p

    [​IMG]

    random little poll by guy with only 100 followers garners 1690 votes and guess who wins (it's not even close):

    Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 6.09.35 AM.png

    i predict he will be a character to be remembered, no matter his shaky start and the naysayers' gnashing.
    i am very happy how Star Wars has touched the coming generation--many of them do seem to understand Ben Solo. : D
     
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  12. Stormagadon

    Stormagadon Cantina Court Jester
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    That was a wonderful breakdown, @NinjaRen!
    I don't think this is a direct contradiction of what is portrayed internally for Kylo Ren, but I would like to talk about the "wound" and "ghost" element.

    You mention the ghost is the night Luke attempted to kill him, which is quite fair, but it seems to me that it starts even further because of the conversation Han and Leia have in TFA. It seems like that ghost or wound was something that happened before the dreadful night we see in the flashback, and it was that very night that was the catalyst, or to use the proper terms, the wound.
    It was because of that wound that he believes the ghosts that have been haunting him, and from there the story goes on.

    From my perspective, Kylo Ren's character and motivations are very much the view we're getting from the ST from an audience standpoint: Personally, individually, the characters are solid, complex and interesting, but the background isn't clear and may even contradict previous aspects.
    When I look at Kylo/Ben, I get him, I relate to him, I empathize with him, all those important things, but how he gets from point A to point B chronologically speaking I believe is a bit wonky. And I think that is an important element in writing a character, and that is one of the reasons a lot of people don't like the character.

    To sum up, I think you either get Kylo Ren/Ben Solo or you don't. I don't believe that's a bad thing per se, but it certainly isn't a great thing. With the lack of background on the events that lead to his fall, people don't understand where he is coming from, and decide to stand against the character.
     
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  13. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    You might be right about that, I was just focusing on the stuff the movie is giving us. But yeah, especially the lack of parenthood by Han and Leia could be also seen as Ben's ghost.

    You can thank the Marvel movies and all the TV series for that. Today people get flooded by background informations of their favoirte characters. If you don't learn everything about a character, then some people dislike him/her. Apparently today's audience lost their use of imagination.
     
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  14. FN-3263827

    FN-3263827 First Order, Then Pie
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    so much of this. : o p

    i used to be frustrated about how people don't get Ben, but ultimately this is how it is: people don't empathize, they don't ask questions about why others behave the way they do, they don't have compassion without feeling they need a reason for it. they don't see fear or suffering right in front of their eyes, they are quick to judgment, and they are unwilling to help and unforgiving after the fact. and all of that makes it very difficult for the Ben Solos of the world to find their way, get on a good path, love themselves and others, and do no harm.

    it makes me sad, but it's the way of the world.
    fortunately, although this is a prevailing state of things, it's not a universal truth. : D

    #hope
     
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  15. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    If Yoda was a character that came out today, people would HATE him. Hell, we still don't even know where he comes from or what his species is. Or the concept of the Force was used so sparingly in Hope or what it can or can't do. They would've hated that to.
     
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  16. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    Where I come from I know. Telling you I am not. Hating me unimaginable it is.
     
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  17. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    If I remember correctly, then many people actually disliked a lot what was introduced in TESB back then.
     
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  18. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    Someone thought Boba Fett was Yoda...
     
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  19. KesselRunner

    KesselRunner Rebel General

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    Reading your post here kind of opened my eyes a little bit. That's exactly how I feel about Kylo Ren. Discompassionate. As things sit now, I've no cause to feel compassion for the character at all. As with real people, most movie characters are judged by their actions, not their intentions. Like the line from Batman Begins: "It's not who I am underneath, it's what I do that defines me."

    The Ben Solos of the world are deserving of compassion, however. When they finally run into the brick wall of reality and understand the severity of their actions and seek redemption, it should not be withheld from them. But it must come to that point, first. They are the only ones who can help themselves. They must choose it. All we can do is lay the bricks for them. Sometimes laying a brick means treating them with kindness and patience, and sometimes it means smacking them upside the head (figuratively speaking). ;)

    This is what occurred with Luke and Vader. Luke was the brick wall that Anakin ran into, and it was Anakin who saved himself when he made the decision to turn against the true cause of his misery, Palpatine. This is the story of Star Wars. Here's hoping that Ben snaps out of it too, somehow. :)

    Anyway, thanks for that perspective. It helped me put some pieces together. :D
     
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  20. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    And isn't that what we all do from time to time. Intending one thing but doing something different?
    Citing an old quote:
    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
     
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