Obviously, the master of the Knights of Ren has daddy issues. The question is: Why?
We know that Kylo Ren’s family strikes a nerve in his psyche, and may have been part of what drove him to the dark side in the first place. What we don’t know, is why. We’re only given a few hints in the movie as to what may have happened to drive them apart, but it’s nothing concrete. Still, it’s enough to speculate on.
Spoiler Warning: What follows below are major spoilers for The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen it yet, proceed at your own risk.
Photo by Annie Leibovitz
Our first hint at Kylo, AKA Ben Solo’s disagreement with his father comes while he is attempting to interrogate Rey. Kylo replies to Rey’s thought that Han Solo was like the father she never had with, “You would have been disappointed.” Later, when Han confronts Kylo in the interior of the thermal oscillator, Kylo says to Han, “Your son is dead. He was weak and foolish like his father, so I destroyed him!” to which Han responds, “That’s what Snoke wants you to think.”
“No, it was Snoke. Snoke seduced our son to the dark side” – General Leia
Supreme Leader Snoke, ruler of the First Order and an acolyte of the dark side of the Force, may be the key to Ben’s conflict with Han. Back on the Resistance base on D’Qar, General Leia tells Han it was Snoke who seduced their son into the darkness. This reminds me of how Chancellor Palpatine slowly and inexorably seduced Anakin Skywalker to becoming his Sith apprentice, turning the young Jedi against his best friend, Obi Wan Kenobi, and even his wife, Padme Amidala.
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Anakin’s turn wasn’t the fault of his loved ones, rather it was his own personal guilt and fear which led to his demise. Yet, when Anakin turned, he became convinced even Obi Wan and Padme were secretly against him. Ben may have felt the same way about Han; who, it should be noted, couldn’t relate to him in one key area: The Force.
Han, while he may have believed in the Force, was insensitive to it. Perhaps he disagreed with Leia about sending Ben to train with his uncle, Luke Skywalker, to become a Jedi. This surely would have caused friction between him and his son, especially if Ben wanted to learn to develop his powers (I can hear the words now: “It’s all my father’s fault. He’s jealous! He’s holding me back!”). And just like Anakin, Ben may have grown to hate Han for what he thought was a betrayal, and became so incensed against him that he was willing to kill him.
The official answers are likely to come in Episode VIII, or at least that’s the hope. And for more than just curiosity’s sake; if Ben’s only conflict was with his father, his mother, General Leia, may be able to help him turn back to the light side. Because if Anakin Skywalker could do it, so can Ben Solo.