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The Redemption of Ben Solo: Does it Work?

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' started by Adam812, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel General

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    So I thought Ben's redemption was a little rushed when I first saw the movie. But after seeing the movie a couple more times, I think I know what the movie was trying to convey.

    Basically, Ben's redemption started all the way back in TFA when he killed his dad. According to Rey, Ben has been haunted by this action ever since. He thought that killing Han would more fully bring him to the Dark Side but it didn't work. As Snoke points out, the deed split his spirit to the bone. At the end of TLJ, he appears to be fully committed to the Dark Side but apparently the guilt of killing Han stuck still stuck with him. Maybe he thought killing his mom along with the other rebels would bring about the desired effect he sought when he killed Han.

    In Rise of Skywalker, he still feels guilty but thinks he is too far gone to go back to Leia. So instead he seeks to rule the galaxy with Rey on the throne of the Sith. When Leia sacrifices her life to reach out to Ben, he realizes that she still has faith in him. His heart is also softened when Rey uses the Force to heal him. Finally the vision/memory of Han helps him realize that he can still go back to the light.

    Three different people made a sacrifice to save Ben. Han sacrificed his life to reach out to him on Starkiller base. Leia sacrificed her life to reach out to him via Force skype. And Rey gave up some of her own life force to save him from death. All this made him feel loved enough that he could feel redeemed rather than bound to the darkness.

    That's the way I understand things.
     
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  2. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend
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    Don't forget Luke, he could have gone to Crait with his X-Wing and actually fight and maybe kill Ben, but he decided to use all his energy to project himself to Crait and spare Bens live and still save his friends.
     
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  3. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    The redemption works fine for me. Ben's is a strong arc with a powerful resolution, I find :)
     
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  4. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel General

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    Oops. I meant Ben Solo in the thread title. He’s a Skywalker by blood but not by name. My bad.
     
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  5. Darth Basin The Greatest

    Darth Basin The Greatest Rebel Official

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    I would of preferred 3 outcomes.

    1. Ben dies evil. (My preferred outcome but of course I knew Goody 2 Shoes Disney will never do it. I don't buy the Ben dies evil leak from the original director b4 JJ returned).

    2. Ben lives but stays evil. (Second preferred)

    3. Ben lives redeemed.

    Of course JJ the talentless hack played it safe & gave us Anakin 2.0.

    Thank the Force for The Mandalorian.
     
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  6. Messi

    Messi Force Attuned

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    It works for me, but of course I would have like to see something different...like Ben dying as a dark side user.

    There are dozens of different ways to tell the story, we got what we got.
     
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  7. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel General

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    I really liked the idea of him living redeemed. What we got was way to similar to ROTJ.
     
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  8. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
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    All day every day!
     
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  9. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    I originally thought Ben would live, if only because of Leia.

    Leia has no real monuments left to her name, other than Poe now. The Empire she fought so hard to tear down? It's back, and her son is a part of it. The Republic she strived to build? Torn down to atoms in a massive attack.* Her husband? Dead, all because she pleaded with him to go talk to her son. Her brother? Dead, sacrificing himself to save Leia and the resistance. Ben is related to nearly every one of those things, and was one of the true pieces she cared about. He HAD to live, if only for Carrie Fisher and Leia's legacy.

    And then TROS pulled a Vader 2.0 on us. Why? "Well, he can't die evil, and he's done too much to live and be good, so we'll split the difference and have him die good! And it's a nice callback to the OT!" ...except that we didn't need that callback, and killing Ben negates every sacrifice made for the character up until that point.

    No, Ben's redemption didn't work for me, because it's not a redemption in my eyes. It's a heel-face turn with no read emotional weight.

    *I'm sure that Poe will rebuild it into the New New Republic, but do you see repetitive that is now?
     
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  10. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    I still think the best outcome would have been Kylo Ren dying but Ben Solo living and moving off to Ach-To as a hermit to live out his penance in isolation.
    Then Ben Solo could become a ronin style hero in a mask doing good throughout the galaxy to redeem himself slowly to as many as possible not just to his mom and Rey
     
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  11. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    THIS IS 100% WHAT I WANTED TOO. GIVE ME RUROUNI KENSHIN STAR WARS EDITION.
     
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  12. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel General

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    It's repeating Return of the Jedi.

    Well, he can't die evil, and he's done too much to live and be good.

    In both TFA and TLJ, it never really showed him as being good, aside from his innocence with his dad and not killing his mom. The problem with that is that they're family and besides the point of galactic domination and bringing order to the galaxy. Technically, Kylo could have both Leia and Han and the galaxy. One of the reasons why he goes on with his "no quarter" command in The Last Jedi is because he assumes that Leia's actually dead. But even if she was alive, who says that he wouldn't capture the Resistance or rule? He's wanted some degree of control in his life.

    Kylo's "It's time to let old things die" philosophy is brilliant as well as ominous. Kylo's finally put an end to both the revived versions of the Clive Revill TESB emperor and ROTJ emperor, and this is how he handles the TESB Vader speech "of ending this destructive conflict and bringing order to the galaxy". Yes, it's from TESB, but it's finally a fulfillment, a loose end from Empire, which was slapped down or away with ROTJ.

    I guess in TLJ, Luke assumes that Snoke seduced Kylo. Maybe that's true, by providing him with some sort of respect and power. But it seems like most of these Star Wars characters delude themselves into thinking, "oh, it wasn't really him, it was really this guy who was responsible- TFA Leia, TLJ Luke, or TLJ Rey" or "I can help you out this situation- you poor, poor thing- TLJ Rey". There comes a point where Kylo needs to be held accountable for his choices. It's not Snoke, Leia, Han, or Luke's fault; it's Kylo's fault for choosing the dark side at the end of day, even if all of those people and their decisions influenced Kylo's decisions.

    This is part of the reason why I dislike Vader's redemption in ROTJ (I think he's more accountable in the first rough draft summary of ROTJ, also, imo.). The blame is shifted towards the Emperor and Anakin "forgetting" his true name as a Jedi. Vader's either thinks that he's doing the right thing by being in the Empire or doesn't care, since he's power-hungry and control-driven in Empire.
     
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  13. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    The problem is that Kylo couldn't let old things die. His pain from Luke's (seeming) betrayal still haunted him, as did his mother's life. Heck, one of the main themes in TLJ was that Kylo's message was entirely wrong. It's not about killing the past, but learning from it and passing it on, even the failures. Luke failed because he didn't learn from the failures of the previous generation and is doomed to repeat them. Kylo is set up to fail because he too wouldn't learn from previous generations, instead preferring to wipe the slate clean. Heck, that exact same thing has happened. Kylo's actions all but repeated the past - the Resistance will spark into a Rebellion, the Empire is reborn in all but name, and the Jedi will live on to stop them. The only difference is that Kylo accomplished what his grandfather didn't in ESB or in ROTS. But because Kylo hasn't learned from his mistakes, he was always doomed to fail.

    Oh I 100% agree with you here. Kylo DOES need to be held responsible. But dying as a hero doesn't hold him responsible for anything either. It's repetitive and not in the good way.
    What I wanted to see was a Kylo saying "yes, I did all of these bad things. Yes, they are my fault. No, I'm not sure if I can ever truly make up for it, but I'm going to spend the rest of my days trying."

    Back to the Rurouni Kenshin example: Himura Kenshin killed hundreds of people during his time as an assassin/manslayer. Soldiers, other assassins, diplomats, and anyone else he was ordered to kill. But those people had lives too, and his actions affected them. Soldiers who lived through his slaughters hunted him down. The loved ones of those he killed tried to torture him in the worst ways possible. The government he helped build tried to manipulate him. In his current age, Manslayer Battosai is a name that sparks fear into the hearts of everyone, including those who he brought a new age for. Even through all of that, Kenshin never gave up, because he realized he couldn't atone for his sins if he was dead. THAT is what I wanted. I didn't want Kylo to live because he deserved to live - I wanted him to live because he was Leia's last legacy, and I wanted Ben Solo to convince me that his life may be good for someone else someday.

    I think Vader's arc works a tad better for a couple of reasons (thematic appropriateness, retroactive explaining via the PT, overall message at the time, and of course nostalgia), but I completely understand and relate to your frustration. Star Wars has an ugly trend that those who go to the Dark Side can't really be redeemed without dying. It's annoying and hamstrings some really great potential stories. That's why I wanted Kylo to be different.
     
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  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rebel Official

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    I brought this up elsewhere, but it's relevant here:
    Ben is the "archetypal reincarnation" of Anakin, with his "hero's journey" mirroring Anakin's almost one-to-one, especially as we see things unfold in the Original Trilogy, and is a direct counterpoint to Rey, whose "hero's journey" is almost a one-to-one mirroring of Luke's "hero's journey".
     
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  15. Jollylolly

    Jollylolly Rebel Trooper

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    of course it works
    Its a valuable lesson on how even the most privileged of us can do all the wrong in the galaxy, but its never too late to become the good guy when it serves your self interest.
     
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  16. Kraven Head

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    The seeds of Ben's redemption were planted once he held back shooting on the Raddus's bridge but the turn itself happened too quick in EP9.
    I would have preferred seeing a slow turn throughout the movie.
     
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  17. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    It was actually set in place way before that. The first hint for his redemption- when he talked to Vader's mask: "[...] I feel it again, the pull to the light.". Then it was completely clear what will happen as soon as he killed his father.
    [​IMG]
    That's not a villain's face.
     
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    Touché young padawan!
     
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  19. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I was dead set against redeeming Kylo Ren going into Episode 9. But I have to say that JJ pulled it off as I look at the character much differently now. That scene with Han in TROS was the KEY scene of the Trilogy and it makes you also look at his death in TFA differently too. I think JJ pulled off Ben Solo arc better than Lucas did with Anakin.
     
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  20. Rayjefury

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    Didn't work for me. I do think he was intended to be viewed as redeemable (just by the way his character was postured through out TFA), but if I had to hazard a guess, the original intent was not to kill him in a redemptive arc by the end of the trilogy, but to show how he stepped fully into his commitment to the darkness. I think had the ST not hit the head wind it did after TLJ, TPTB at Disney would have been planning the next set of trilogies around Kylo erecting a new empire around him and Rey raising up the new Jedi around her. I don't think he was originally meant to die after the trilogy and that's why it felt rushed (and also because we intuitively may compare it to Anakin's arc which was much more meticulously developed)
     
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