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Star Wars Changed Kylo Ren to Give Him Redemption

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Adam Driver revealed on “The Rich Eisen Show” that his arc as Kylo Ren in “Star Wars” completed changed from its original plan over the course of his three films: “The Force Awakens” (2015), “The Last Jedi” (2017) and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019). According to the actor, Kylo Ren was never supposed to soften up and be redeemed as Ben Solo. In fact, the original plan for the character was apparently just the opposite. Kyle Ren was supposed to become more evil during the trilogy, not a conflicted anti-hero.

“J.J. Abrams walked me through what he wanted to do with the character, but you had to sign up and be like, ‘I’m gonna do it,’ and once I did that, I went to London to star for pre-production,” Driver remembered about accepting the role. “And it’s like, ‘there’s a tiny room down the hall, you can go in there and read the script.’ And so I was reading it for the first time.”

“I had an overall arc that in mind that [JJ Abrams] wanted to do,” Driver continued. “His idea was that [Kylo’s] journey was the opposite journey of Vader, where Vader starts the most confident and the most committed to the dark side. And then by the last movie, he’s the most vulnerable and weak. He wanted to start with the opposite. This character was the most confused and vulnerable, and by the end of the three movies, he would be the most committed to the dark side. I tried to keep that arc in mind, regardless if that wound up not being the journey anyway, because it changed while shooting. But I was still focused on that.”

Driver said Rian Johnson took Kylo Ren’s original arc in “a different direction” with “The Last Jedi,” although “it still tracked with the character.” That wasn’t the case with “The Rise of Skywalker.”

“The last one, it changed into being, you know, about them and the dyad, and things like that,” Driver said. “And evolving into Ben Solo. That was never a part of it. He was Ben Solo from the beginning, but there was never a version where we’d see Ben Solo when I first signed up for it.”

Kylo Ren was far from the only character in the trilogy to deviate from his or her original plan. Daisy Ridley revealed back in 2020 that her character, Rey, started out as having a connection to none other than Obi-Wan Kenobi before she ended up not having any connection to a pre-existing character in “The Last Jedi.” That was then retconned in “The Rise of Skywalker,” when Rey was revealed as a descendant of Emperor Palpatine.

“At the beginning there was toying with like an Obi-Wan connection,” Ridley said at the time. “There were like different versions, and then it really went to that she was no one. Then it came to Episode IX and J.J. pitched me the film and was like, ‘Oh yeah, Palpatine’s grandaughter.” I was like, ‘Awesome!’ Then two weeks later he was like, ‘Oh, we’re not sure.’ So it kept changing. Even as we were filming I wasn’t sure what the answer was going to be.”

Driver is currently making the press rounds in support of his leading turn in Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” in theaters Dec. 25 from Neon. Watch Driver’s full appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” in the video below.

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