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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. Veronica

    Veronica Rebel General

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    Not a bad idea. The film could have been cut right after the kiss (no fade out of of Ben). We then see Rey in the Red 5 (?) flying back to base, cut to her hugging her friends back at the camp.

    At the end she goes to the Skywalker house on Tatooine house and as she bends down to bury the sabers. And it cuts to Ben bending to join her. They both bury the sabers together. Stand . Each say something about making the Galaxy better/righting wrongs. They share a kiss goodbye and walk their separate ways. And cut to end credit. This way it leaves the door open for furthering their story in episode 10. And it doesn't come across like Ben is being re-warded for his misdeeds by walking off with his girlfriend,.
     
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  2. Stormagadon

    Stormagadon Cantina Court Jester
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    Thanks.
    I believe one of the main themes to be taken away from Ben's redemption is that it is the goal we must always aspire and fight for. Always hope and pray for the people we know who've gone astray. And for those who have wandered off, there is still hope and forgiveness for them. No matter the cost of doing the right thing, it is infinitely worth more than doing what is evil. And it's important to know that even when someone is redeemed, the fight doesn't end, but the fight is worthwhile now.
     
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  3. DEKKA129

    DEKKA129 Professional Slinger of Balderdash

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    I started to respond to this a few weeks back, but life sorta got in the way like it so often does.

    I felt the same way going in about the notion of Kylo Ren being redeemed. To my mind, the SOB needed killing and that was that. On top of all of the other blood on his hands, you just don't come back from a patricide - and a sucker-punch one at that.

    Then I saw TROS on opening night and absolutely hated it. None of the emotional moments landed for me, and I couldn't find a rhythm to any of it. BUT... somehow I didn't hate the resolution of Kylo's/Ben's story.

    By the third time I saw it (by which point I teared up three separate times) I realized what had made Ben's redemption work for me. One line was all it took for the rest of it to fall into place:

    "I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head."

    The implication, which took me a few viewings to really catch, was that Palpatine had been manipulating Ben through the Force all his life, probably from birth. And that was part of the collective "grail wound" that Rey healed along with his lightsaber wound.

    At least that's how it reads for me. The movie still feels undercooked and overblown, which I can understand given the truncated production schedule JJ inherited along with the loss of Carrie and Leia. But I can dig the movie for what it is, flaws and all, and Ben's redemption is one element of it that really does work for me.

    Other folks' mileage will almost certainly vary, possibly a whole helluva lot. :cool:
     
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  4. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    Excuse me for discussing this, but... the interesting thing about that line, is scapegoating guilt from Ben and putting it onto Palpatine. There's little acknowledge that Ben going to the dark side is Ben's choice or fault, except in TFA when he makes the decision to kill Han Solo and has been influenced by Vader's Helmet. I assume at least that because he believes in what the helmet has shown him, not because he was seduced by it. In The Last Jedi, it's even more evident that Kylo Ren's making his own decisions, which I really appreciate, as it echoes the old Vader so much, anyway.

    I still think that The Empire Strikes Back Vader is a lost piece of history, along with A New Hope Vader, simply because their guilt is mainly scapegoated onto Palpatine.

    Even when there's an acknowledgement of Anakin's willingness to choose the dark side in the prequels; we get lines like this:

    Obi-Wan: "You have have allowed this dark lord to twist your mind, until now, you have become that very thing that you swore to destroy.

    Lines like these imply that someone else was at least responsible; Anakin may have permitted Palpatine to do it (I don't know why-yes, there's Padme and dissatisfaction with the Jedi, but still, Palpatine is a stupid, cackling dark lord, despite his varying level of intelligence in the prequels.).

    In the original, Vader was seduced by the dark side in both ANH and Empire; he did not allow a dark lord to twist his mind, if anything, Vader was probably learning more about the dark side through Palpatine, assuming that Palpatine was sensitive to the Force, since Palpatine held an "Obi-Wan-esque" role in Empire.

    Imagine the reverse situation; it'd be like saying Obi-Wan twisted Luke's mind to the light side of the Force. No, Luke chose the way of the light side. It was not Obi-Wan nor Yoda who made him chose; it's still Luke's choice at the end of the day.

    And this so-called "scapegoating" of Vader's decisions towards Palpatine and losing his autonomy and will in the process and an emphasis on Palpatine as the big bad has had consequences- a huge ripple effect on not only Star Wars but also for a large part of popular culture.

    And as the big bad, I'd say that Palpatine is disappointing, especially when he keeps making stupid decisions and laughs for no reason, aside from arrogance and thinking that he's in the clear. If Palpatine is supposed to be the clearest version of evil in Star Wars, then I can't take him seriously. I can take Tarkin and Vader, and even that one council member that Vader choked more seriously than I can the Return of the Jedi emperor. Because Vader does not laugh and is generally intelligence; Tarkin does make an arrogant decision, but is thoughtful about things and does not openly laugh inanely.
     
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  5. DEKKA129

    DEKKA129 Professional Slinger of Balderdash

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    That is an excellent point to raise. Despite being manipulated by Palpatine all of his life, Ben's choices were indeed his own. Both of these factors play into the dark path he ended up walking.

    It's why I feel like the ending to his story works (at least from my own perspective.) Yes Ben gets to briefly come back to himself and help Rey to destroy Palpatine. And then, after one final sacrificial act, he dies - as he absolutely needed to do for the story to have any hope of ringing at least somewhat true.

    Had Ben been allowed to walk off alone into the sunset as some folks wanted to see - or worse yet, to walk off into the sunrise with Rey as others wanted to see - then I'd likely be among those who have written off TROS as an epic fail.

    I've seen this dynamic at work in a few people I've known throughout my life. They made life choices and acted in such a way as to ensure that I wanted nothing to do with them. At the same time, I was aware of horrible things that happened to them from the time they were small children that undoubtedly set them on the path that they later continued to choose to follow. More than a couple of times I've said of people like this, "That poor S.O.B. never had a chance."

    That's a bit of hyperbole of course. We all have a chance each and every moment to make the choice to be more decent, more empathetic and more kind than perhaps we may have been up to now. To snap out of whatever bit of sleepwalking we may be caught up in and help somebody else rather than serving our own egos.

    But I am also aware that there are people whose early experiences were so terrible that it twisted their perspective to the point where they cannot easily recognize the value in making selfless choices like that - even though those choices always remain available to them.

    Anyway, that's a lot deeper dive than the TROS story probably warrants, but... well, there it is. FWIW. :)
     
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  6. Luke556

    Luke556 Clone

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    His redemption story was pretty odd. He basically looses a fight with Rey and then she heals him for some reason and leaves him there free. Then he decides to be good?

    I kind of wonder if he could have done more after he was redeemed. Why not bring the first order fleet against palpatine instead of just himself. The whole ending was bad though.
     
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  7. Trev

    Trev Rebel Official

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    While I’m not dismissing or questioning your –– or anyone else’s –– issue(s) with Ben’s redemption, as someone who really enjoyed his character and arc, I want to recontextualize your interpretation a bit. I would argue that Leia actually helped both Rey and Ben see the error of their ways, because in that moment, both of them would have killed the other, given the chance.

    For Ben, Leia giving her life for her son was the ultimate act of love, and was what finally got through to him that he wasn’t abandoned or unloved. For Rey, she appeared to be ashamed that she had channeled aggression, rage and hatred into what would’ve been Kylo’s death, had she not healed him. While the Jedi Code does technically permit killing in certain circumstances, it’s obviously not ideal, and to me, that moment felt like Leia reminding Rey that a Jedi’s greatest weapon was love, not hate. She knew that killing her opponent is not what Leia would have done.

    As much as I love the sequels, I wholeheartedly agree that there are objective flaws across all three films that, at the end of the day, can almost exclusively be attributed to a lack of proper development and planning for a trilogy of its stature. However, for as many inconsistencies as there are, I think there are also several consistent plot points that are revisited in all three films, including the idea that a parent’s love for their child would ultimately restore balance –– more specifically, the idea that Leia would be the one to redeem Ben. To me, it made perfect sense, and I would imagine if it weren’t for Carrie’s passing, Leia’s relationship with her son (and ultimately, how she uses her love for him to “bring him home”) would have been fleshed out to a much larger degree in Episode IX. For what they had to work with, though, I think they did a great job at ensuring she was the one to redeem him.
     
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  8. Martoto

    Martoto Rebel Official

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    Well.... Vader loses a fight and should be dead except that Luke chooses not to destroy him. Then he decides to be good.
     
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  9. The Birdwatcher

    The Birdwatcher Rebel Official

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    Looking back on this, I was wrong. I don’t mean to burst everyone’s bubble, but Vader, despite being portrayed as this powerful character, is just an enforcer. The idea that his dialogue could have been more is an illusion.

    I was hoping that it was not, but it’s evident that his character never was so much of an independent character- that comes from a misreading of the dialogue. A VERY easy mistake to make.

    “Princess Leia: Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash.”- Star Wars

    Vader is an attack dog. It is mentioned during the production of the Empire Strikes Back (In different words, I believe, but the meaning is roughly the same.).

    Lucas also describes Vader as totally being the Emperor’s plaything with production notes in ROTJ.

    Vader cannot escape his destiny, once being on the dark side, as Lucas mentioned in The Making of The Empire Strikes Back production meeting (Nov.-Dec. 1977). It takes the symbolic act of Luke freeing him (the goon son redeeming the good/evil father figure from Lucas’s ideology) to have Vader break out.

    Vader being defined by his choices, if anything, is likely a clash of vision with Irving Kershner, or, if not that, then an unintentional reading by fans (including myself!) of the dialogue lines.

    Vader has no choice once on the dark side- he is struggling but cannot escape.

    For instance, Vader’s offer is a temptation to Luke in Cloud City, but other lines can be interpreted to be more- “If you only knew the power of the dark side!” stresses Vader’s ambition.

    Also, Lucas wanted to make Vader’s explicit plan (as Lawrence Kasdan mentioned) to kill the Emperor be implicit (it didn’t have to be explicit, as Lucas was arguing), even though Vader stated it specifically to Luke. Granted, there are lines, such as,

    “The Emperor : Strange that I have not. I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader. Darth Vader : They are clear, my master.”- Return of the Jedi

    Though Vader seems to be challenging the Emperor, however, the feelings being clear appear to be Vader bringing Luke to the Emperor and converting him.

    Here might be a good time to talk about layering in Star Wars:

    The hierarchy of evil is this:
    Dark side>The Emperor>Darth Vader/Imperials?

    The Emperor is actually a puppet of the dark side, in which the dark side was making its influence throughout the galaxy.

    Lucas has also said that (the Emperor is a supervillain? Not sure.), but he has mentioned that the Emperor is the conflict, if the Emperor goes, then the whole conflict for the rebels is over. Which I disagree from a writing perspective. It is simple, and would work for a story aimed at children, or for a film aiming for minimalism.

    People have wanted Snoke to be the Big Bad because of status quo. I don't think that many fans have considered that the cutthroat relation of Kylo Ren is similar to what happens in Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VII, and especially Final Fantasy VI. All three of these games are praised, especially VI (which I disagree on in a lot of places) for the villains who executed this sort of twist on a higher up (Emperor figure), or the villains aren't critiqued for it. In my opinion, even though a villain is mysterious does not mean that he is worthwhile, or even if he is responsible for mainline events does not mean that he is deadly.
     
  10. madcatwoman17

    madcatwoman17 Rebel Trooper

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    The problem with TROS is that they rushed everything. Ben's redemption included.
     
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