The finale of Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren gave us the final moments when Ben Solo ceased to exist and future First Order Supreme Leader came to be.
How did Ben Solo become Kylo Ren? That’s a question that Star Wars fans wondered since we learned who the ruthless killer’s parents in The Force Awakens.
The Rise of Kylo Ren mini comic series attempts to answer that question with the fourth and final issue of the series detailing how it all came to be.
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As Ben Solo fought with his inner demons, battling with the voice in his head (which turned out to be Palpatine), he had a series of choices to make. Depending on what he picked, it would send him down the path of light or dark – even though he didn’t think there was an in-between.
The legacies bestowed on him were partially self-inflicted but also beyond his control. His mother was the greatest symbol of freedom the galaxy ever had. She was fearless and always fought for the light and good.
His grandfather was one of the greatest villains of the galaxy. His uncle its savior.
Ben had so much history that it was impossible to forge his own path. So, when Snoke came calling and seemingly gave him a way out, it felt like his only choice.
Yet even when Ben met the Knights of Ren, he still had the choice to let go. You could see the goodness in him when he didn’t want to kill others and use his powers with the Force to get the same results just without bloodshed.
But all that frustration, all the insecurities and all that heartache eventually came boiling over in a clash with Ren, the leader of the famed group. While Ben’s fighting talents weren’t as refined as Ren, he still had training as a Jedi and his power was overwhelming.
Ren pushed Ben for a kill. He poked at him until Ben finally snapped. Ren may not have realized it, but it turned out to be his end. Ben Solo killed Ren for what seemed like the first life he purposefully took.
And even though he still had a choice to walk away, the next step was the one that solidified his path. He killed one of his former classmates from Luke’s academy.
The Knights bowed to Ben Solo, their new leader. Ben then got to working, bleeding out his kyber crystal with so much force and energy that Ben’s eyes turned red, the color of the Sith. In his transformation, all those that kept him tethered including Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, Lando and others were ripped away.
All that was left was an unstable crystal that he used to create the lightsaber cross guard that we know so well.
That last words we see are from Palpatine asking Ben.
“What is your name?”
We know it. The galaxy would learn it. Kylo Ren lives.
It’s a sad but gripping story. We see all the steps it took to create Kylo Ren and how those around him failed and how he made the wrong choice at every juncture.
Charles Soule did a great job writing the story and Will Sliney’s artwork was fantastic as well, conveying different emotions from panel to panel. When Ben looks unsure and scared and then it immediately turns into resolve and threatening by the next panel.
We know Ben Solo’s story, but we didn’t know how he got there. Now that we do, we wonder what steps could have been taken to save Ben. Perhaps allowing him to make his own choices and choosing his own future, rather than having one dictated for him.
When he finally made a choice, one that put him out from anyone’s thumb, he chose to fight. Yet by then it was too late because of the countless horrific decisions he made before then. There was one way his story would end because of such a heartbreaking beginning.
The Rise of Kylo Ren comic miniseries is in stores now. You can get it digitally too.