Kylo Ren’s non-redemption arc

redemption [ ri-demp-shuh n ]
an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
deliverance; rescue.
Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
atonement for guilt.


I’ve seen a lot of fans talking about Kylo Ren’s redemption. I’ve seen bloggers on prolific sites confirming this. But I don’t agree. If you look at the dictionary meaning for redemption, it is an atonement of guilt. I don’t recall seeing a scene in The Rise of Skywalker that shows or implies that Kylo Ren is atoning for his past sins – his father’s murder, the murder of thousands of innocent people throughout the galaxy and the list goes on. That’s because Kylo Ren didn’t atone, and just because he reverted to Ben Solo does not confirm his redemption. Adam Driver has also confirmed in various interviews, the most recent with EW, that he doesn’t feel Kylo Ren needed to be redeemed. This would have me believe that Adam Driver was not playing the character of Kylo Ren as someone who needs redemption or needs forgiveness for the things he did.


Kylo Ren Edit by Me 🙂


What I did see was Kylo Ren become Ben Solo. The one scene I do consider the closest thing to a redemption arc is the scene between Kylo Ren and his father, Han Solo. This was the highlight of the film for me. It was a scene with very few words but was the most significant turning point in Kylo Ren’s character development, where he made the conscious and willing decision to turn his back on the dark side and his dark side persona, Kylo Ren. When Ben Solo turns towards the tumultuous sea behind him, he throws his lightsaber into the ocean. This is the closest we ever see Kylo Ren get to his redemption, but it’s still not an admission of guilt for past transgressions. And Ben’s interaction with Han Solo was a memory, not an interaction with a “force ghost” as many have said.

I do, however, firmly believe that had Ben Solo lived, there would have been time for him to atone or to at least ask for forgiveness from the people he hurt the most. With Leia’s death, we know that she still loved him as she was reaching out through the force to him in the final duel with Rey. But again, this is not a confirmation of redemption. As Leia dies, Ben’s final opportunity for true redemption dies with her.



4 thoughts on “Kylo Ren’s non-redemption arc

  1. Good point! I honestly have not thought much about this. I meant to go see the movie again but have been so sick that I barely could make it out if bed, never mind going to a movie theater.

    But it’s a good point to bring up and one that I must think about the next time I watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ya 🙂 Oh, damn, I hope you get well soon! I think there is a flu type thing doing the rounds again. I was sick a couple weeks back. But yeah, I look forward to your thoughts 🙂


  2. “That’s because Kylo Ren didn’t atone, and just because he reverted to Ben Solo does not confirm his redemption.”

    That is *brilliant*. It helps me understand why I, and some other fans, felt this third film was a bit of a let-down. I think if the movie allowed more time to focus on Ben’s struggle, and allow him to perform a further active role in his salvation, it would be more believable. And certainly having a scene where he reconciles with his mother could have helped. Perhaps they were trying to balance his story with that of Rey’s, as well as the other characters, and that’s why it didn’t feel like a complete redemption arc.

    In your opinion did he need to die to atone (similar to Vader/Anakin in “ROTJ”) or could he have lived to rebuild the Jedi Order, amending all of the wrong he had done?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You! Well, I’ve seen the film three times now and the scenes with Ben never really sat very well with me simply because I didn’t see a complete redemption arc fulfilled. I definitely think that if Ben had more time, he could have atoned and would have done so if he had the time with Leia. But I think one of the most important scenes is when Kylo Ren mentions to Rey when they are on the Death Star that “she can never go back, just like he can’t” and at that point, he is talking about going back to the light. But then he has that discussion with his father’s memory and he confirms that he knows Leia has passed on. You can see that he is resolved to that fact, that he knows he can never completely atone. It’s such a subtle thing to say but carries so much meaning. Ben was always fighting to go back to the light and he was never fully consumed by darkness, as Vader had been. I can understand why people make comparisons to their journeys, but I honestly see Kylo/Ben’s journey as something completely different. Ben was never fully consumed by the dark side and therefore, he didn’t have to fight as hard to renounce Kylo Ren and the dark side and become Ben Solo once again. Sorry, it looks like I’ve wandered off topic a bit but to answer your question, no, I don’t think Ben would have had things easy if he had lived. I actually think the only way Ben could have survived if he had lived, would be in exile for at least a while. Let’s not forget that Kylo Ren committed many atrocities and killed many people and he would have to be punished for that, one way or another whether in exile or with his life. So, while I say I wanted Ben Solo to live, I don’t know what kind of life he would have had afterwards. What I do know is that there is no way he could have atoned for everything he did as Kylo Ren and I doubt he could ever live the life of a Jedi with Rey without consequences.


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