The Rise of Kylo Ren, a comic mini-series written by Charles Soule and drawn by Will Sliney, is a very highly-anticipated look at Ben Solo’s descent to the dark side. The series promises to give us a look at Ben Solo, Luke Skywalker, Snoke, and the Knights of Ren.
The first issue of the comic, released on Wednesday, certainly did not disappoint! There are some other things that I want to get to eventually, but today I want to focus on one potentially shocking and significant revelation about the destruction of Luke’s Jedi Temple.
After a look at the Knights of Ren, the issue takes us to that fateful night, with Ben Solo standing amidst the ruins of Luke’s Temple. Three of Luke’s other students soon arrive on a ship, having been away on a training mission. Ben tells them that Luke tried to kill him, but they don’t believe that. Assuming that Ben killed Luke and destroyed the Temple, the students ignite their lightsabers to try to fight Ben… but he easily stops them simply by using the Force. He doesn’t want to kill them, but instead wants to leave. They pursue him, but his piloting skills are no match for theirs and he leaves them stranded in space. As he leaves in his ship, there’s a heartbreaking moment of his droid asking about potentially going back home, to Hosnian Prime. Ben knows he can’t do that, so instead goes to Snoke… and there’s some very interesting things going on with Snoke and what is said that we’ll get in to at some point. But he looks like this:
But before Ben goes to Snoke, we see what happened that night from Ben’s perspective – including what happened after he collapsed the hut, knocking Luke unconscious. Throughout this sequence, a mysterious voice talks to Ben, telling him that Skywalker feared him and was always small. Ben stands in his collapsed hut, looking at the Temple – standing in the peace of the night. He then starts yelling and points his lightsaber at the Temple: “Why? Why? Why did you do it?” But a strange storm then appears over the Temple, leaving Ben to ask, “W-What?”
As the storm gathers, the Temple explodes, hurling Ben back. He repeatedly says, “No!” as he races toward the burning Temple, but another explosion drives him back once more. “I never… I didn’t want this,” Ben says, looking at the destruction. The voice tells him, “And you did not choose it, Ben. The Jedi did. Skywalker.”
So yeah, this is a pretty significant revelation as to what actually happened at the Temple that night. Remember, from Luke’s perspective, all he knows is that when he woke up, he found the Temple burning, Ben and some of his students gone, and the rest dead. He didn’t get to see what happened in-between, and we have now learned that Ben Solo actually didn’t want to destroy the Temple or kill the other students.
Here’s how the issue helps shape our understanding of that night:
- Someone was inside Ben’s head. As the account of the fateful night is re-visited, we read a voice talking to Ben through it. It doesn’t seem like Ben is surprised by the voice, but he is angry about what has happened and seems to be accusing whoever it is of being at fault. So who is this? The obvious answer would be Snoke, as we know that he had been manipulating Ben for a while… but then in The Rise of Skywalker, we know Palpatine tells Ben, “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” So I think that it’s probable that Palpatine, speaking through Snoke or with Snoke’s voice (we’ll probably get more clarity on that in the film), was manipulating everything that happened that night.
- Who destroyed the Temple? After TLJ, we all assumed that Ben was the one to destroy the Temple… because that’s exactly what Luke thought. But that might not be the case. Here, he just stands and watches it happen – and then runs toward it, presumably to try to save some of the other students? It is possible that Ben used the Force accidentally to destroy the Temple with that storm, but I don’t think so. It seems that the comic is implying that something else destroyed the Temple. Was it Snoke or Palpatine? Was it the Knights of Ren (who earlier in the comic talk about wanting to find something to burn)? We don’t know. But it doesn’t look like it was Ben.
- Ben didn’t kill the other students. Luke thinks Ben slaughtered the rest of his students, but that’s not the case. We don’t see Ben kill any of them, actually. Even those who try to kill him (thinking he had killed Master Luke) are stopped by Ben repeatedly – without killing them!
- The missing students actually pursued Ben. We also assumed after TLJ that the missing students joined Ben and became the Knights of Ren, but that’s not true. The Knights of Ren existed before Kylo Ren did, and the missing students actually pursued Ben to try to avenge Luke’s death.
- Ben and Snoke have an interesting history. We don’t get much concrete information, but the conversation at the end is very interesting. Firstly, Ben feels that he can’t go home to his mother on Hosnian Prime, but instead goes to Snoke. Secondly, Ben clearly knows Snoke. Thirdly, Ben comments on Snoke’s appearance, saying, “Look what Master Luke did to you.” I’m very interested in knowing more about all of this.
This comic was fantastic, and it was a thrilling and shocking first installment. I can’t wait until the next one!