We knew the sequel trilogy was largely without a roadmap when it came to telling the story of the Skywalker saga in The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. But some new information released this week really takes the cake for “shocking events the sequel series didn’t plan out really well.”
And we’re talking about the death of Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo. Author Sariah Wilson has shared a lot of information from her extensive interviews with both Daisy Ridley and Rian Johnson, revealing a lot about the making of the sequel trilogy. And so this is just the latest in the many reveals that she’s shared so far.
According to her on Twitter, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson said, while making Episode VIII, he was unaware that Ben Solo would die in the final film. Wilson notes that Johnson (when re-answering the question) backtracks to say he didn’t know if “Ben” would die, not “Kylo Ren.”
Was Kylo Ren always going to die?
That’s the big question: Was “Kylo Ren” always going to die? It’s an interesting backtrack that Johnson makes, saying that he didn’t know if Ben Solo was going to die. Does this mean, in some way, he knew the alias Kylo Ren would die so that Ben Solo would be redeemed?
It seems like that might be the case. From the very beginning, it always felt that Ben Solo was going down this path of returning to the Light. We saw that in the scene with Han Solo, for example, where he was willing to remove his mask in front of his father, torn about what to do next. Unfortunately, he killed Han after not fullying being pulled to the Light. And from there, it was a two-movie journey to redemption.
Even in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, Ben’s willingness to team up with Rey showed that he was not so partial to the Dark Side as he made himself out to be. This, of course, seemed like a deliberate move on Johnson’s part — especially considering the part in the interview where he says he wanted “to have lots of dramatic potential” left for Episode IX.
There was definitely a lot of drama in Episode IX, for better or worse. And if Johnson had been aware of some plan or ending, it possibly could have made for an overall better sequel trilogy if more creative structure were put into it. Either way, Ben Solo did die in the end. But in Star Wars, “death” usually doesn’t mean much these days — seeing as cloning (a la Emperor Palpatine), Force ghosts, and showing up as your younger self are all on the table for those who are hoping for a return!