Over the years, the Star Wars movies have gradually matured. We saw a shift from the original trilogy in how Darth Vader was personified — first a faceless villain, then a tragic former father — and then the prequels took us back to see the bad guy’s fall from grace. With this new trilogy, we’re given a new masked villain with a red lightsaber at the head of an evil organization, but Kylo Ren seems like the least bad of all the Star Wars villains, or, at least the one for whom you most want a redemption arc. There’s a reason for that.
In Episode VIII, his character will be explored even further, as Adam Driver revealed in an interview on Larry King Now (via CBR). Far from keeping him as the Han Solo-murdering baddie we know him to be, it sounds like director Rian Johnson wants to delve deeper. When asked what aspect of the series Driver most looked forward to exploring in the new episode, he answered:
I think maybe this is such a general answer but you know, humanity. Even though it’s very much a blockbuster movie, and I’m aware of that, there was no taking that for granted and that we were forced to be general [in ‘The Force Awakens’]. There was a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one, that we get to explain more in the second one, that kind of make both of them make sense. But they do kind of feel socially active to me. And George Lucas originally — a lot of ‘Star Wars’ was in response to Vietnam and a lot of what I remember talking about with [‘Force Awakens’ director] J.J. [Abrams] and Rian [Johnson] was this idea of terrorism, and two sides being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get whatever they thought was absolutely correct.
Star Wars has never been simplistic enough to let villains be villains. And we already want to see more of Kylo Ren because we know he’s Solo’s son, and we want to know what could have possibly happened to drive the boy to the First Order against his family’s wishes. Gone are the days of megalomaniacs simply turning to the Dark Side because of a lust for power: the dichotomy of the Force is about to become a lot more complicated.