Why Kylo Ren Is Probably Switching Sides in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker days away from release, questions about the galaxy's status are popping up left and right. Besides wondering what in tarnation Palpatine is doing back in the franchise, we're also curious about Kylo Ren's status. While the villain isn't in much of the trailer, his brief appearance is enough to send us down conspiracy theory holes about his fate, particularly if he'll make a return to the light side of the Force.
Formerly training to be a Jedi, Kylo Ren has executed downright evil acts, such as patricide and genocide. His actions are irredeemable for some, even if he has done things like save Rey. But the wayward Ben Solo has always been a morally ambiguous character, not pegged to a heroic archetype like Rey or Luke. So him becoming good in the new movie wouldn't be a total curveball.
What evidence do we have to predict his return (even if temporary) to the light side? Well, the title The Rise of Skywalker may refer to Kylo who, by blood, is half Skywalker because his mother is Leia. Kylo may possibly return to his Jedi roots and reclaim his honorable Skywalker heritage. In the teaser, it also looks like he might be fighting a Knight of Ren, who's supposed to be on the dark side with him. If he's not actually going head to head with a disguised Resistance Fighter here, this may hint toward Kylo siding with the good guys.
Kylo could follow his grandfather's trajectory and go from joining the dark side to making a final sacrifice as Anakin did in Return of the Jedi. After all, it looks like Palpatine, who's way more evil than Darth Vader, is back. Ben might find himself a common enemy with the Resistance, and the dark and light sides of the Force may team up to vanquish a greater evil. Or, he could be motivated by his feelings for Rey, though whether they're as a romantic partner or big brother is yet to be determined. Still, not only is this redemption narrative predictable, but people also might consider such a move unsatisfying given how evil Ben Solo has become.
We probably won't see a twist with him being good all along like Snape in Harry Potter or being brainwashed by Palpatine or Snoke after all of these years. (Though, there's a popular theory that he's been infiltrating the bad guys.) But it's doubtful that he'll love having Palpatine around and possibly whispering into his ear. Remember what he told Rey in The Last Jedi? After killing Snoke, he says, "Let old things die. Snoke. Skywalker. The Sith. The Jedi. The Rebels. Let it all die." Kylo has established himself as someone who sees himself beyond destiny, cyclical narratives, and allegiances. What the future holds for him, barring mind control or some other unusual situation, is totally up to him.