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Pop quiz, Star Wars fans: Is Kylo Ren a good guy or a bad guy?

Fans might be saying, “Duh. Bad guy.” And that’s probably true. At least as far as the main movies go, the rule seems to be, “If your lightsaber has only one blade, you’re a good guy. If your lightsaber has more than one blade, like Darth Maul or Kylo Ren or (dare we say it) dark Rey, you’re a bad guy.”

There’s one person who would disagree with the notion that Kylo Ren is an out-and-out villain, and that’s the actor who plays him, Adam Driver.

Adam Driver at The IMDb Studio
Adam Driver | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

That Kylo is such a softie

Yes, Kylo Ren may work for the first order, and he killed his own father, Han Solo. For many, that’s enough to write him off as evil. However, Driver doesn’t think it’s that cut and dried. 

Even before The Force Awakens came out and before we had a sense of who he was, Driver gave an interview to Empire magazine describing his character, saying he was more of a religious fanatic.

“When they think of their actions as morally justified, it makes them dangerous and unpredictable. There’s no level they won’t go to to accomplish what they’re after. I never thought of the character as an evil person.” 

What Driver may be getting at is that Kylo Ren didn’t set out to be evil, but he came to believe in the dark side of the Force. That twisted his worldview in that he thought he needed to kill his own father.

However, Driver made it clear Kylo was tortured. He didn’t act in cold-bloodedness without a second thought. He was clearly conflicted.

Can Kylo be redeemed? Should he be? 

So ever since Han Solo’s long fall, the question that has followed Kylo Ren is can he be saved? Should he be?

Although Kylo Ren initially horrified Rey, she began to see another side of him during The Last Jedi, when his communications with her made it clear how conflicted he was. She began to believe he could fight for the good side, just as he was trying to convince her to join him for The First Order. 

As we found out, neither ended up happening. We circled back to Kylo Ren as a petulant child who threw tantrums like a 9-year-old whose parents told him he couldn’t get a new toy — only his tantrums were particularly dangerous, given his gravitation to the dark side of the Force and his easily being manipulated by the likes of Snoke. 

We don’t know exactly what The Rise of Skywalker has in store for him, although he and Rey appear to be on opposite sides again. Or does that nagging Dark Rey image portend something else? 

What else is Adam Driver doing?


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Driver has his hands full for the fall/holiday movie season. In addition to The Rise of Skywalker, he will also be seen in Netflix’s Marriage Story, opposite Scarlett Johansson, in the story of a marriage hitting the skids. Both Driver and Johansson have received rave reviews for their performances, with talk of Oscar nominations for each of them. Driver got his first nomination earlier this year for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman

And that’s not Driver’s only contender. He also stars in The Report as Daniel Jones, a Senate staffer who leads an investigation into the CIA’s interrogation techniques after 9/11. As if that weren’t enough, Martin Scorsese, who directed Driver in Silence, declared Driver one of the best actors of his generation during a special tribute at the Telluride Film Festival. That alone to some people would be reward enough.