What’s up y’all?! Frosty Phenix here! Happy New Year! Hopefully your 2020 has begun on an incline into positive growth! But let’s get right into it! So most of those that are/were interested in seeing Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (AKA Episode 9 of the Star Wars Movie Main Series and the 3rd and final movie of this trilogy) have seen it already. If you have seen it then you understand the title of this article and maybe you agree or disagree. Listen, if you HAVE NOT SEEN Rise of Skywalker (or ROS for short in this piece) turn back NOW...you have been warned. Anyway...I want to focus mainly on a character that annoyed me at first but now...I gained great respect for in a matter of minutes. The character I am referring to...is Ben Solo...formerly Kylo Ren. Let me explain…
Anakin’s Skywalker’s Fall into the Dark Side (Seen in the Prequels) and Redemption (Seen in Return of the Jedi, now with greater weight thanks to the prequels) is legendary and once I unpacked it and realized that Darth Vader did in fact meet his destiny to “Bring Balance to the Force” brought such clear vision to this story telling and made me respect and understand Anakin’s Journey. Anakin’s Son Luke went through a different dive...a dive of regret and solitude. Similar to Obi- Wan and Yoda’s exile after Revenge of The Sith, Luke feels as though he failed the new Jedi Order he tried to create once he sensed that Ben was conflicted as his father and attempted to destroy him. In Ben’s defense of this attack and relation, it was the beginning of what Ben needed to seek the Dark Side that his grandfather once embraced. It seems to me that Luke did not consult with his father to understand his fall and rise to able to address the situation properly. Supreme Leader Snoke, through sensing Ben’s immense force strength, began to sway the young Jedi through the abandonment he felt with his parent’s involvement in their work over their parenting, and the betrayal by his uncle secured Ben’s almost full turn to the Dark Side.
After a bit of digging, full story of Kylo Ren is he becomes the embodiment of conflict as through the movies and events he becomes Supreme Leader of the First Order with the goal to continue the work of Darth Vader and erase “Ben Solo” FOREVER. When I first saw Kylo (I think when we all saw Kylo) I knew a couple things. First, he was broken and conflicted. His saber energy was even crackling for goodness sake, with the excess energy being expelled from the sides as a means to stabilize it. It might have just been a design requirement, but to me it also represented his wavering path to the Dark Side. The Second thing I knew was that in the end he would be redeemed, just as his grandfather did...but I didn’t know HOW it was going to happen exactly. I knew he would turn against his master and become good again...but that went out the window when he killed his master, Supreme Leader Snoke, in The Last Jedi film and proceeded to take over the First Order as Darth Vader had wanted to do in the beginning of and during the depth of his time in the Dark Side of the Force. In his conflicts through the first two movies, it was clear the 3rd movie would be his redemption, also assisted by staff and director comments that Rise of Skywalker would end the Skywalker Saga once and for all.
As we watch Kylo attempt to sway Rey to the dark side and have their final battle, Rey’s reverse psychology by talking about Kylo killing his father was weighing in the back of his mind. Kylo believed killing his father would be one of the acts he needed to turn completely to the dark side when in turn the guilt may have been what kept him connected to the light. In Leia’s sudden passing after all that had happened (R.I.P. Carrie Fisher) Ben froze, which gave Rey the advantage she needed to defeat the knight. Instead of killing him, Rey healed and embraced him in his moment of need and left him. Here is where I was hit in the feels...his reenactment of his final conversation with his father before Ren had killed him. It was different this time...Rey and Leia’s feelings for the warrior helped Ben fight through the darkness that had overcome him and arose as Ben once more.
After that of course it was a little cliche with Ben’s run through the fortress to “I Need a Hero”, but OH SO SATISFYING! (Shout out to the blind shot over the shot tribute to his father!) In the end, with Rey defeating the THEN revived Emperor Palpatine at the cost of her life, Ben rewards her selfless act and redeems his actions by giving her his life energy and then becoming one with the force himself. This ended the Skywalker Bloodline (yes, Rey has claimed the Skywalker name BUT isn’t a Skywalker by blood. THAT is what I am talking about).
What are your thoughts about Ben’s Redemption? Was it weak? Was it just right? Comment below! I give the whole movie a 10 out of 10 and believe it closes the current arc and Skywalker Story with justice. I’m sure a squad break down of the movies is soon to come, but until then this has been Frosty Phenix! May the force be with you...always.