Show me, again, the power of the darkness…and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.”
Kylo Ren spoke those ominous words as he sought counsel not from the spirit of his true grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, but from the spirit of evil Anakin had become, Darth Vader. Through two thirds of the sequel trilogy, the question of what Ren thinks Vader started, and thus what Ren believes he needs to finish, still remains. This of course raises other questions, such as just what does Ben Solo/Kylo Ren know about Vader, anyway?
Until the events of Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline, few outside of Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke knew of Luke and Leia’s true lineage. When a message from Bail Organa to his adopted daughter falls into the wrong hands, however, the Skywalker secret is revealed to the galaxy. Leia is left to do damage control, including telling Ben that he is, in fact, the grandson of Darth Vader.
Ben Solo is already training with Luke at this time, something about which, except for brief flashback in Episode VIII, we know almost nothing. How did Ben take the news? And if he was with Luke, surely his uncle would have told him how Vader was ultimately redeemed and Anakin Skywalker had returned from the Dark Side abyss. What is left to finish? The extermination of the Jedi? Anakin abandoned that notion when he destroyed the Emperor, assuring the Jedi would live on in his son. So why, then, would Anakin now be showing Kylo Ren the power of the darkness?
The simple answer is that he’s not, and never did. Kylo Ren was young, naive, impressionable and malleable, and Snoke knew it; he needed Ben Solo for the power his bloodline carried, and he lured Ben by manipulating him into thinking he was being guided by Vader all along.
Perhaps in Episode IX we’ll glean more of Ren’s past and his fall from the light, and learn if Luke Skywalker’s death in The Last Jedi means that he believes he did indeed finish what his grandfather started.