Star Wars™ is no stranger to dark, brooding characters. The Sith and other villains of the franchise are some of the most beloved baddies in pop culture. One such fan favorite is Kylo Ren™ (Adam Driver) — or Ben Solo™ — the estranged son of Han Solo™ (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia Organa™ (Carrie Fisher) who was led astray by the dark side of the Force.
Kylo Ren is one of the main antagonists of Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy, which encompasses Episode VII: The Force Awakens™, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi™, and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker™. Yet as the films’ narrative progresses, Kylo Ren also becomes one of the main protagonists. He’s a richly complex character and plays a major role in many of the most memorable scenes from the sequel trilogy.
So let’s get pulled a little bit over to the dark side and break down Kylo Ren’s best, coolest, most shocking, and absolutely sensational moments below.
5. Stopping Poe Dameron’s™ Blaster Fire
The Force Awakens (2015)
Kylo Ren’s entire character introduction is truly impressive. The fast-paced, tense opening sequence of The Force Awakens gives audiences a few moments of exposition and then throws blaster fire, a brutal attack on innocent civilians, and Poe Dameron’s (Oscar Isaac) desperate, thwarted escape in the mix. Then we get two of our main heroes and two villains in those same 10 minutes. Poe Dameron fights and Finn™ (John Boyega) questions orders, while Captain Phasma™ (Gwendoline Christie) and Kylo Ren give or follow them with pleasure. Kylo Ren, for instance, happily cuts down one of his mother’s oldest acquaintances.
Kylo Ren commits this murder without hesitation — implying it’s only one of many that came before — and Poe, enraged, fires from the shadows. The buzzing blue energy is frozen midair by a dazzling display of control over the Force by Kylo Ren. This masked, red-lightsaber wielding Sith is overly emotional and heavily hidden by his cloak and helmet, so his inhuman — and inhumane — presence is only amplified. Star Wars fans had never seen such power stop a trusty blaster, which neatly and quickly set the tone for Kylo Ren’s high threat level in the film.
4. Killing Han Solo
The Force Awakens (2015)
Okay, so patricide isn’t Kylo Ren’s finest moral moment, but it’s a startling, dramatic sequence that was the talk of the Star Wars fandom after the The Force Awakens‘ release. The scene takes place over an hour and a half into Episode VII in a shocking turn of events. The heroes are rushing to leave Starkiller Base™ during its imminent destruction, and Han Solo confronts his son, revealing that his birth name is Ben.
Kylo Ren and Han Solo speak about Kylo’s disappearance, his use of the dark side, and his family history. Han’s words are soft, caring, showing he’s doing everything he can to bring his son home. Kylo’s words are all deceptions, although pretty deceptions at that. His teary-eyed “I’m being torn apart” is one of the most-quoted lines from the film, as well as the inspiration for the title of one of John Williams’ best Episode VII scores. In fact, Kylo Ren monologues with enough truth to convince Han to step closer, and then he strikes him through the heart. Once the deed is done, it shows us that there is no redemption for Kylo Ren. He is fully turned and the monster that Rey™ (Daisy Ridley) accuses him of being.
Or is he?
3. Betraying Supreme Leader Snoke™
The Last Jedi (2017)
Aboard Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) First Order capital ship, Kylo Ren is ordered to kill the captive Rey. Instead, Kylo Ren betrays and slices Snoke in half and frees Rey. Together they wage an epic battle against the Praetorian Guard™. This lightsaber duel is both visually stunning and thematically important. Amid the the gorgeous red, black, and white palette with layered choreography, we see the bond building between Kylo Ren and Rey. They have to trust each other to make it out alive.
Although Kylo Ren botches his chance to join the Resistance and instead declares himself the new Supreme Leader, it’s still a significant scene and foreshadows the emotional arc of the next film.
2. Sacrificing Himself for Rey
The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
The Rise of Skywalker is the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga and the resolution of the sequel trilogy. It expands upon the Star Wars universe lore while also finishing the journeys for our latest heroes and villains, and no story is as finite as Kylo Ren’s.
Kylo Ren progressed from antagonist to ally. While his journey toward the light side began in The Last Jedi, he did not fully transform and shirk his Sith role until his first death in The Rise of Skywalker. Rey kills him in a breathtaking duel, but she brings him back with her newly discovered healing powers. Left alone to contemplate his choices and fate, Kylo Ren imagines how his confrontation with Han Solo should have happened in The Force Awakens. After, he tosses his red lightsaber into the sea and becomes Ben Solo.
Ben fights alongside Rey in the battle against Emperor Palpatine™ (Ian McDiarmid). When she dies defeating this cloned villain, Ben transfers his life force to her, trading his own future to keep her alive. And while you would think this heroic act, while selfless and satisfying, would take the #1 spot on this list, it is still overshadowed by another scene …
1. Defeating the Knights of Ren™
The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
In the Sith Temple on Exegol™, Ben Solo is outnumbered by the Knights of Ren, a group of seven dark disciples who aided Kylo Ren in dismantling Luke Skywalker‘s™ (Mark Hamill) Jedi academy. With a lightsaber, Ben could defeat them, but weaponless as he is, he doesn’t stand a chance.
In an awesome scene cut, we see Rey reach behind herself as if readying her lightsaber for an attack. Ben imitates the motion. The next instant, he is retrieving Rey’s lightsaber in his own hands. He shrugs, as cocky as his father before him, and gets his own ‘I need a hero’ moment as he flips, fights, and finishes off these elite warriors as if they’re simply untrained Stormtroopers™. It’s the coolest battle of his Star Wars career, and also the most genuinely fun, which is why it takes the top spot on this list.
Honorable Mention: Matt The Radar Technician
Saturday Night Live (2016)
While not canon by any means, this Saturday Night Live undercover-bosses type skit, where Kylo Ren pretends to be a technician on Starkiller base, is the most hilarious thing to ever have come out of the new Star Wars trilogy. The short video parodies his murderous tendencies, his bad mood, and his awkward social skills, all while forcing Adam Driver into a hideous blond wig. Truly, Matt The Radar Technician will live on in the SNL hall of fame.
What’s your favorite Kylo Ren moment? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!