The release of the final trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ has revealed more to us rabid fan-boys and -girls than ever before, but still there are still many questions, the first and foremost being: who is Kylo Ren? Younger audiences take for granted that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, but this fact was one of film history’s great twists. Now we have another Star Wars featuring a masked villain with what sounds like an altered voice. Pair that with director J. J. Abrams’ love of mystery and I’m convinced that Kylo Ren’s identity is secret for a reason. Let’s explore what is and what could be, keeping in mind this is written with no knowledge beyond seeing the prior movies and trailers.
Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s Son
The events of this new film take place about 30 years after the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’. This gives Han and Leia plenty of time to birth and raise a twenty-something. One could argue that, if their kid is Kylo Ren, then they didn’t raise him very well. A lot can happen in 30 years. Leia is part of the Skywalker lineage so, y’know, the force runs strong in her family. Kylo Ren clearly has a good grasp of the Force. Audiences have no connection to this character because we have never met him, so the reveal isn’t meaningful to us. However, the secretive nature of Kylo’s identity could still be warranted if the reveal is meaningful to Han and Leia, who might think their son is dead, lost, at boarding school — whatever.
Kylo Ren is Luke Skywalker
Mark Hamill has been conspicuously absent from trailers, beyond his voice and possibly a shadowy figure with a robotic hand. He isn’t even in the poster, that is, unless he is Kylo Ren! They share the Skywalker linage so, y’know, high midichlorians counts. This would be the most meaningful reveal to audiences who have a strong emotional tie to the character of Luke. Still, that tie was earned and having him fall to the dark side would be a bit of a portrayal. Luke was already tempted and resisted the Dark Side. If he fell to the Dark Side sometime in the last 30 years an damn good explanation is required. Was he tempted by someone even stronger with the Dark Side than the Emperor? Unlikely, such a being should have been a presence in the original trilogy if he existed. Could the Skywalker’s tie to the Force be tainted with evil? Probably not, because Leia still appears to be on the side of the angels.
Kylo Ren is Luke’s Son
The Dark Side could skip a generation. Luke telling his son that there is still good in him, as he would if this was the case, would feel more like a rerun than a sequel. Besides, this doesn’t have much emotional weight because not only do we not know Luke’s son, we don’t know Luke’s mate. There is too much backstory exposition required, unless such a reveal doesn’t come with ‘The Force Awakens’. We might not know who Kylo Ren is until the following Star Wars film, in which case the offspring theories could gain momentum as we know who gave birth to who.
Kylo Ren is Emperor Palpatine’s Grandson
Kylo seems to idolize Darth Vader and wants to carry on his mission, which was also the Emperor’s mission for the most part. Being family, Kylo would be indoctrinated in the evils of the Dark Side and the Galactic Empire and might choose to idolize Vader because he’s just cooler than Palpatine. Or he might know that Vader killed Palpatine and Kylo respects that. Killing the master to take power is a Dark Side thing to do and Kylo might assume that was Vader’s motive.
Kylo Ren is Darth Vader’s Clone
There is cloning in the Star Wars universe. I imagine an Empire that finds value in cloning bounty hunters for storm troopers would find value in cloning those genetically pre-disposed to use the Force. There are none so gifted as Anakin Skywalker. The Emperor could have cloned Vader without his knowledge and been growing Kylo in a tube somewhere. Or maybe the cloning came after the events of ‘The Force Awakens’ with the DNA coming from that helmet Vader left behind. I don’t think we have the tech to clone from crisped genetic material, but who knows how Star Wars cloning works.
Kylo Ren is Luke’s Clone
See above with a twist. Imagine old Luke eventually surfacing and facing off against Kyle Ren who reveals his face to be Mark Hamill at the age he was for the original trilogy. That might inspire Luke to yell “Nooooooo, that’s the possible!” and nostalgia.
Kylo Ren Means Something to Someone Else
This doesn’t sound exciting, but it could completely happen. We don’t know much about any of the new characters and they are the future of Star Wars. Kylo Ren appears to be fighting Finn (John Boyega) in the new trailer. Maybe Kylo’s identity is only significant to Finn.
Who do you think Kylo Ren will be, if anyone?