While ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ may have shattered box office records we know that not everyone has seen it yet. So if you’re one of those who haven’t been able to get out and don’t want surprises we’re going to be talking about a big scene with Kylo Ren today, I’ll give you a second to hit the back button before I go any further.
This one isn’t at all about how Poe was supposed to die but about the one shocking death that was in the movie. We’re talking about that moment when Kylo Ren, or Ben Solo, confronts his dad and brutally murders him in order to purge the light side from his system. He uses this moment to give into the hatred, fear, and pain that he wants to bring him that much closer to being the next Darth Vader. At least, that’s the plan.
While this death hit fans in the gut, Abrams claims that this wasn’t just for a quick emotional reaction. In fact, he purposely changed part of the plot to create this very scene as Michael Arndt who originally wrote the screenplay didn’t have Solo dying. In fact according to Arndt:
“I had thought Han’s story and Leia’s story was just about them coming back together. At the end of the movie, they would have reconciled and gotten over their differences. And you would have said, ‘Okay, bad stuff happened, but at least they’re back together again. J.J. rightly asked, ‘What is Han doing in this movie?’ If we’re not going to have something important and irreversible happen to him, then he kind of feels like luggage. He feels like this great, sexy piece of luggage you have in your movie. But he’s not really evolving. He’s not really pushing the story forward.”
A sexy piece of luggage that long term fans are going to miss but he does have a point. This is something that can push the story forward. Not only that, but it really fits in with the theme that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan had when writing the script as Kasdan says:
“People always say, ‘Why do you think this saga is so popular? I really do believe the underlying theme is recognizing your potential and understanding what you’re capable of. It doesn’t end. To understand what you’ve inherited, and what you like about that and what you don’t like about that. Have you fulfilled yourself completely — or is it too late. What is dormant? That’s a very real and tangible thing for people every day.”
In his own twisted way this was Kylo Ren trying to hit his full potential. As much as Rey was the focus of the film they wanted to develop a villain that would be a suitable counterpart and not have one that was already there with an unknown backstory as Vader had been as Abrams says:
“Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain. And not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process.
Star Wars had the greatest villain in cinema history. So, how you bring a new villain into that world is a very tricky thing. We knew we needed to do something fucking bold. The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.”
That by no means has Abrams killing off Solo as an easy decision. While the actor always wanted his smuggler to die on screen as a hero, it couldn’t just be to appease Harrison Ford or for a quick emotional gut punch.
“[Han Solo’s death is] this massive tradeoff. How can we possible do that!? But… if we hadn’t done that, the movie wouldn’t have any guts at all. It felt very dangerous.”
So there you have it. The entire death was meant to move Kylo Ren’s character forward and keep Solo having a very important and relevant role in the series.
Do you think they pulled it off? Was Solo’s death in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ enough to get you over Kylo’s overly painful to watch insecurities? Share your thoughts below!