Kylo Ren and Vader: Angst Leads to the Dark Side


Kylo Ren and Darth Vader show similarities in their angst leading to the Dark Side, but we are still waiting to see where it will lead.

Through the events of the first two sequel series films, we’ve learned quite a bit about Kylo Ren. Love him, hate him, or want to offer him a shirt — you’ve probably got an opinion on his portrayal in the Last Jedi and the Force Awakens before it.

The most common thread we often hear is his dark side seems powered by angst. He’s whiny and divided, not the stuff of Jedi or Sith legend … yet. It bears remembrance that Luke himself was often derided as a “whiny farm boy,” and even Lord Vader went through his angsty period before the Clone Wars forged him into a Dark Lord of the Sith.

Angst in the Prequels (Anakin Skywalker)

Discounting his earliest adventures, podracing and Jar-Jar-jarring, by the time Anakin was a teen he was majoring in the school of angst. The concept that angst leads to strategic success becomes apparent by the time that “begun, the Clone Wars have.”

Thinking outside of the box, owning your resources and knowing the end game are all traits of generals during a war. Generals Skywalker and Kenobi both showcase these talents admirably throughout the Clone Wars TV series, forging a man who would one day leave angst behind and join the Dark Side. Apparently, murdering younglings can give you the focus you need to get past the angst, who knew? Oh, right … Palpatine.

Then There’s The Sequels (Kylo Ren)

It’s easy to see how Kylo Ren is in his angsty, not-quite-a-darth phase. His violent outbursts are not the signs of rage seeping through as Vader’s were, but they’re more worthy of the internet title of Edge Lord of the Sith. His breakdowns are just that, edgy for its own sake, and he still seems a long way from becoming a pre-eminent power in the Star Wars universe, despite his likely assumption of Snoke’s mantle.

If murdering younglings works to get you out of the angst phase, why not try killing your father? I mean, Kylo already did the murdering younglings thing. Sadly, Snoke’s theory wasn’t as solid as the Emperor’s, as offing Han left his apprentice with a soul split in two. Ren is still stuck in angst mode, with Rey offering to help him as he offered to train her, and both denying the call as seen in the novelization of the Last Jedi.

With More Yet To Come

More from Kylo Ren

Will Kylo Ren distill into the raw Dark-Side-powered force (with just a little good in him, probably a soft spot for family) that Lord Vader did? We know that Kylo may maintain at least some goodness and love for our beloved princess; voice quotes from Battlefront II show him maintaining that his mother “turned on her father, too.” This perhaps indicates a longing desire for redemption, just as Vader likely felt a twinge at the realization that the rebel who destroyed the Death Star was the “Son of Skywalker.”

Next: Star Wars VIII: The shared fate of Rey’s parentage and Kylo Ren’s allegiances

For now, we’ll trust the Keeper of the Holocron to ensure no lasting damage to the Star Wars galaxy’s legacy. Most of us will continue to have hope that the third film in the series will tie all of these loose ends together. Hopefully, we’ll see at least one, if not multiple characters, come out of their growth periods and become the generals and commanders of a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Here’s looking at you, other students minoring in angst: Poe, Finn and the unkillable Phasma. You’re not off the hook, either.

Star Wars Episode IX is scheduled to hit theatres in December 2019.