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Published on October 28th, 2015 | by gareth


A Look At The Psychology And Motivations For Kylo Ren In Star Wars: The Force Awakens

There has been much online debate about the character Kylo Ren regarding his origins, identity, motivations and so on. With that in mind, let us look at some possible explanations as to who he is and what drives him.

With Kylo Ren you have an individual who has aligned himself in some ways with The First Order and has a larger agenda. This signifies that he sees himself as a leader of others or to put it more succinctly, he is above others. Look at the clips we have seen, leading Troopers, on the bridge of their ship, torturing a prisoner. This is a person who clearly has a lust for power, leadership, and position.

Now let us look at his fawning over the burned helmet of Darth Vader. He clearly idolizes Vader and sees a need to complete his work whatever that may be. Destroying the Jedi, bringing balance to the Force, ending a galactic conflict under a strong central rule, etc.  The thing is he appears in many ways to be a wannabee. He is not a Sith, nor is he a Jedi. He is a person with Force ability who wants to be the new Darth Vader but lacks the skills and abilities to do so.

However, in the absence of any true Sith Master, he takes on the mantle himself of leading others, The First Order, the Knights of Ren, etc. His saber is clearly not up to the specifications of what a Jedi or Sith would make so he has done the best he can. This is much like a fanboy who wants to be a Director and who watches movies, fawns over artifacts, and does his best effort, but without formal training is essentially a work in progress.

This in my opinion is what makes him the most dangerous as he can be seen as a fanatic. He has abilities that have not been formally trained, he has a chip on his shoulder, an agenda, and a desire to be noticed and taken seriously.

Let us look at his mask and costume. Yes he is trying to be like Vader but in many ways he is hiding his true self as his pale complexion and curly hair as seen in set photos do not strike fear and intimidation into people, same with his use of an artificial voice.

How he got to this point is a very interesting point. Likely he had hardships at a young age, suffered losses, and became under the wrong influences. Anger, hate, fear , all lead to the Dark Snide and perhaps Supreme Leader Snoke who is rumored to know both the Light and Dark sides of the Force saw in Kylo a tool that could be used with just the right prodding, yet one who could be controlled and would not be a threat to him.

If the First Order is seeking to return to the ways of the Empire of Old, then a Dark and imposing figure at the forefront would be ideal. Vader is still fresh in the memory of others, so a dark clad Force user doing the bidding of the First Order may be what is needed to make people fall in line.

The fact that he does not come close to Vader is of little importance in terms of propaganda as remember the Tarkin Doctrine, control their fear.

I hope this helps shed some light on the character for you as it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds this December.


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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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