In The Rise of Kylo Ren #2, written by Charles Soule and drawn by Will Sliney, there’s a brief moment that I think is pretty significant, as it pertains to the First Order.
After that fateful night at Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple, Ben Solo decides to run to Snoke, who is found on this strange place that Snoke explains was a place built by those trying (and failing) to hold back the dark. This Snoke is a different version than we’ve previously seen, as he’s dressed in a strange green and gold outfit and is quite nice and understanding to Ben Solo.
At one point during their conversation, before Ben Solo heads off to find the Knights of Ren, a First Order sentry droid rolls up and informs Snoke that there is an incoming transmission from General Hux. Snoke replies that Brnedol will have to wait, as he’s having an important conversation with Ben. But Ben asks, “Who did the droid mean? Who is General Hux?” Snoke answers, “Ah… I may not be the most sociable being in the galaxy, but you’re not my only friend, Ben. In any case, let us speak no more of lies.” And with that last line, he turned the conversation back to what he and Ben had been discussing previously.
I actually think this little line can tell us something interesting and important: Ben Solo wasn’t aware of the First Order.
It seems to me that Snoke looking different and being much kinder to Ben was all a part of his ruse to make Ben trust him, and it sounds like Ben wasn’t aware of Snoke’s wider association as the Supreme Leader of the First Order. Perhaps Snoke thought he needed to lure Ben as a friend before revealing the might of the First Order? In any way, it sure sounds like Ben wasn’t aware of the First Order, or of others reporting to Snoke, which is why he asked the question.
At this point in the timeline, the one paging Snoke was General Brendol Hux, the father of the General Armitage Hux we see in the sequel trilogy. So Snoke was in command of the First Order, but didn’t let Ben in on that secret. I’m really curious to see how Ben finds out about that, and what his reaction is.
But it also means that perhaps Ben wasn’t the first in his family to learn of the First Order. The same year that Ben rebelled against Luke, Leia Organa sensed the rising threat of the First Order in the Unknown Regions and tried to warn others of this, but to little avail. So she formed the Resistance to meet that rising threat. The next year, several Centrist worlds would officially secede from the New Republic and join the First Order. So Leia might actually have been the first of her family to know of this threat, even though Ben would in short order wind up joining it.
Ben Solo was seduced to the dark side by friendship, not military might. He wanted to belong and be accepted somewhere. And in the end, in The Rise of Skywalker, that’s what helped save him.