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The Last Jedi Kylo Ren Theory
Rian Johnson should feel a sense of accomplishment for making the most controversial Star Wars movie in history. Since the original trilogy, Star Wars movies have either just been formulaic and bad or just bad. The Last Jedi, however, does things that we’ve never seen before in the franchise. Johnson shows true emotional complexity of its classic heroes (Luke and Leia), its new ones (Rey), and its villain (Kylo Ren).
One fascinating thing to watch in this film is Ren’s twisting transition from confused apprentice to leader of the First Order. One Reddit user has proposed a theory that all of this went according to plan, based on advice Ren received from Supreme Leader Snoke.
At the beginning of the film in the throne room, Snoke tells Ren that he keeps Hux because his weakness (properly manipulated) becomes Snoke’s strength. He then proceeds to berate Ren who tries to make a move, only to be blasted off his ass by Snoke and nearly attacked by the Praetorian guards. It’s here that Kylo realizes his father, Han Solo, was right, and Snoke will dispose of him when he’s finished his conquest. It’s also here that Kylo decides to kill the Supreme Leader, but realizes that he can’t take down Snoke alone. Even if he could somehow overcome him, the Praetorian guards would end him after committing the deed. He needs help.
Essentially, this means from the beginning of the film that Ren knew he’d need to take down Snoke—but he couldn’t do it alone. That’s when the connection between him and Rey provided an opportunity.
Enter the force bond and Rey. Kylo is bewildered at first, but there comes a point when he realizes he can use the bond (and by extension, Rey) to his advantage. During the shirtless scene, Kylo notes that Rey’s parents abandoned her like garbage and that she looks for them in other people everywhere. He concludes that it is her greatest weakness. This causes Rey to go to the cave (a representation of the dark side) to seek out the truth about her parents. When she becomes distraught at what she finds, Rey turns to Kylo for support. While I don’t think he could anticipate that this would happen, he certainty doesn’t miss the opportunity to get closer to (and perhaps manipulate) Rey.
Now Ren is in the perfect position to get the help he needs to face Snoke.
The leads her to leave Luke and come straight to him. Kylo captures her and says that he knows who her parents are. All of the pieces are now in place for a coup. He knows Snoke is overconfident and will underestimate them both. Kylo also has nurtured Rey’s dependency for him and has something to offer her if she helps him. Turning Snoke’s and Rey’s weaknesses into his strengths, Kylo kills Snoke, the guards, and assumes the role of Supreme Leader. The only thing that didn’t go to plan was that Rey didn’t join him, but he still came out ahead.
It’s a pretty genius strategy, one that makes Ren more of a evil manipulator than a moody kid. This also displays some nuanced writing on Johnson’s part, in which a plan is hatched and executed without him spelling it out for the audience.