You know what I think is fascinating:
There are people who tend to criticize the Star Wars franchise on a whole, as being very black and white. But I think the current Star Wars movies have done something really interesting with that:
We see a man, raised from infancy as a Stormtrooper, brainwashed and with no other external moral compass, who is ordered to take part in a massacre, but chooses not to. Later, he seizes the opportunity to rescue a tortured prisoner and escape with him.
We see a scientist ordered to build a death weapon, still manage to leak out information to the people who can stop it, and build in weaknesses that can be exploited.
We see a career Imperial choose to defect rather than continue to work for a corrupt regime.
The new movies have given us a number of stories about people who on the wrong side, by choice or by force, but still choose to do what’s right in the end.
And that’s why I get so frustrated by fans who insist that Kylo Ren MUST have a redemption arc, because Star Wars is “about redemption.”
Because they’re right and they’re wrong. Star Wars is about CHOICE. It’s about people who choose to do the right thing, even when it’s hard, even when it’s painful, and even when they might have started on the wrong side. It’s about abandoning the darkness, and choosing light..
Vader didn’t have a “redemption arc.” He had a moment of choice, and despite all of his past evil, when it came down to it, he chose to save his son.
Kylo Ren chose to leave the Light. He chose to betray Luke. He chose to join the First Order. He chose to massacre villagers. He chose to torture helpless prisoners. He chose to aid in a genocide. And when face to face with the same choice that saved Vader, he chose to murder his father.
We do not need this mass murdering patricidal monster to represent the Star Wars theme of choosing light over darkness. We have Finn, we have Galen Erso, we have Bodhi Rook.
That’s where you’ll find themes of the Star Wars Universe alive and well. Not Kylo Ren.