There’s an interesting new theory out there about Kylo Ren. Known before his trek into darkness as Ben Solo, Ren killed his father, Han Solo, to make his tonal journey to draw Emperor Palpatine out and bring down the Sith. So yes, in u/Oldmancharlesworth’s theory, Ben was undercover – he was a double agent. While this idea is intriguing, it would certainly upend assumptions about the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. It seemed that Ben committed only fully to the dark side in The Last Jedi. Among other evil deeds, he tried to kill Luke Skywalker and General Leia Organa. (For what it is worth, they are, of course his uncle and mother, respectively).

Kylo Ren Reddit theories abound

Knights of Ren; Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren with Vader’s melted mask from The Force Awakens (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

u/Alcida-Auka, another reddit user, had a relatively extensive thought about this Kylo Ren theory:

“It’s useful to keep in mind that Anakin (Skywalker)’s turn to the dark side was a result of various things. We can say that ultimately, his main conscious decision to turn to the dark side was his fear of Padme (Amidala)’s death and the assurance from Palpatine that he could save Padme if he became a Sith. And so this conscious decision cemented his turn to being a Sith. However, it’s not the only reason. Already Anakin had serious emotional issues. His love for Padme was jealous and possessive. He was distrustful and resentful of the Jedi Council and increasingly distrustful and angry with Obi-Wan (Kenobi). Anakin had emotional issues that had been simmering for some time that made him open to the dark side, and certainly enough to keep him there once turned. His decision to be a dark sider was a conscious decision on his part, that he believed would help him set the world right (ending slavery) and saving his family. He had a reason that he believed to be good, in becoming a Sith, but that doesn’t mean becoming a Sith was a good choice, especially with all his issues.

Kylo Ren: double agent?

Kylo Ren

“We can potentially regard Kylo in the same way. He could have made a conscious decision to join the dark side to save something — end Palpatine, whatever, but still have numerous emotional issues and trauma dealing with perceived betrayal from his family and abandonment issues, as well as his belief that his role is to be the monster everyone thinks he is. I had dismissed the ‘double agent’ theory before, but I now see that I was viewing it too simplistically. It’s not an either/or thing. Kylo could have very well believed he was doing something ‘right.’ But that also means he would have to become the monster everyone considered him to be, and with his fear issues, becoming that monster was not too difficult. His words to Han, that ‘It’s too late,’ indicate that Kylo has absolutely done some shit, and that he is aware it is morally wrong and that he isn’t exactly happy about it. But in both films, it seems Kylo acts as if he has no choice but to do so. Sunk-cost fallacy likely plays a role in this, but it’s possible that there’s a kernel of a notion that he’s doing this for some ‘good’ endpoint.”

Was this his plan all along?

Rey's Parents; Kylo Ren
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Kylo Ren/Ben Solo being a double agent aligns with his wanting to end the First Order. He pitches Rey to join him in doing that, along with ending the Resistance, Sith and Jedi.

Imagine if Ben could pull Palpatine to him by virtue of the darkness he generated in his life. Ben would be in a major position to continue his quest to end past institutions. It would also allow him to fulfill his goal of creating a new society.

That’s aside from the idea that Palpatine survives. We get a hint of that in a prophecy learned in the canonical book Master and Apprentice. As the prophecy goes, “he who learns to conquer death will through his greatest student live again”. Perhaps Palpatine would seek out Ben to learn just how much Ben has embraced the dark side. Having the strength of personality to do that, and takes such drastic measures to do so, could mean Ben is indeed strong with the dark side.

What do you think of this theory for The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments below.