“You Will Never Be As Strong As Darth Vader”

Fear in the life of Kylo Ren

Fear has been such a big theme in Star Wars. It resonates with us because we all, in some form or another, deal with it. Lately, on the Unmistakably Star Wars Podcast, we discussed the role that fear plays in Star Wars. In that conversation (which you can listen to HERE) something was brought up that I want to explore a little more fully and that is the role that fear is playing in the character development of Kylo Ren.

In The Force Awakens, we have an exchange between Kylo and Rey that exposes to us, the audience, the power that fear has over Kylo.

Kylo and ReyThis scene is important in several ways. One, it shows us the sway that the legacy of Darth Vader has over Kylo Ren. Kylo seems to aspire to be Vader. But secondly, it shows that fear has a hold of Kylo Ren.

Yoda’s comments on fear

What does this mean for Kylo Ren? What does it mean that fear has a hold of him? In The Phantom Menace, Yoda addresses the power that fear has over those that give into it:

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

In a previous article about the villainy of Kylo Ren, I discussed how Kylo is in the early stages of being an exceptionally compelling villain (HERE). What we see in The Force Awakens is the how the fear is transforming Kylo to a hateful character.

Kylo is progressing to a place of extraordinary darkness. Sohail Ahmed writes the following about the progression of hate:

It starts with disagreement. It grows with delusional attachment to its opposite. It ends with revenge. Till that time, it stays full blown. It disturbs body functions and mental state to the extent that the person appears badly afflicted by it.”

Kylo is at the place of revenge. He feels as though he has been wronged by his father and desires to have revenge on him. When he gets his “revenge” he becomes twisted even further.

Gandhi famously said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Confucius similarly wrote,  “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church of Rome, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Kylo’s Path

Kylo’s path is the path of destruction, and similar to his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, it all starts with fear. As we move through this new trilogy it will be very interesting to see what Kylo does next. It seems very apparent that he will have a new object of his fear, anger, and hatred and that is Rey. One can only assume that while he might bring about damage and destruction to others, it will most likely end in his own destruction. How tragic, but also very compelling. The signs are there that Kylo will continue to be a character that will add to the depth of the Star Wars saga as well as give the audience a lot to chew on when it comes to the fear in their own lives.