In Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren met his demise. So how did Kylo Ren die?
In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren almost died three times before he finally became one with the Force. The first time, Rey brings down his TIE whisperer on Pasaana. The second time, Rey stabs him through the stomach with his own lightsaber on the Death Star wreckage. And the third time, Emporer Palpatine sends him careening into the pit on Exegol after rejuvenating himself through the dyad. But it’s the fourth and final time that has left fans scratching their heads.
How did Kylo Ren die?
Before the premiere of The Rise of the Skywalker, Chapter 2 of The Mandalorian reintroduced Star Wars fans to the idea of Force healing by revealing that the Child was capable of such a thing. While the Child was clearly exhausted after exerting so much effort, he certainly didn’t vanish after healing Din. Rey even heals Kylo Ren in the film after stabbing him on Kef Bir, without consequence.
For fans of the Expanded Universe, “force draining” isn’t a new concept. Essentially, Dark Siders would use the ability to siphon the life force of their opponents in order to weaken them. It’s possible that Ben siphoned his own life force in order to revive Rey but to the detriment of his own weakened state. It is also possible that Ben was already on borrowed time and that his mother was helping to keep him alive long enough to heal Rey.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Force user become one with the Force either. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi disappears after his duel with Darth Vader, Yoda peacefully vanishes at his death on Dagobah in Return of the Jedi, Luke fades away on Ahch-To following his battle on Crait during The Last Jedi, and Leia vanishes in The Rise of Skywalker. Throughout canon and the Expanded Universe, there have always been some conflicting examples of what happens to Force users after death. Most notably, Qui-Gon Jinn’s body did not vanish in The Phantom Menace, though he returned as a Force spirit in The Clone Wars.
One of the key differences between these examples is that, as of yet, audiences haven’t seen Ben Solo as a Force spirit. In The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition novelization, Ben’s final words to Rey were, “I will always be with you.” and Rey responded with, “No one’s ever really gone.” So perhaps, the ambiguity around Kylo Ren’s death was intentional and will be revealed at a later date.
One thing is for certain, rather than fulfilling Darth Vader’s legacy, Ben Solo fulfilled Anakin’s legacy. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren stated that he would finish what Darth Vader had started and in one way, he followed through with Anakin’s plans. Anakin wanted to find a way to save Padmé from death and Ben Solo sacrificed himself to save Rey, the woman he had feelings for.