Saturday, March 25, 2023

The (Real) Rise of Skywalker


Be forewarned — spoilers ahead.

First, let me preface this with one thing: I absolutely hate stories where the villain redeems themself through death.

I loathe it. It’s the easy road. It’s a cheap way to tie up loose ends without actually putting in effort.

And I despise Disney for doing it to Ben when they could’ve done SO. MUCH. MORE. with his character.

So today, I’m going to share what I would’ve done with Ben’s character post The Rise of Skywalker…

Ben (as Kylo Ren) did a lot of things that most people would consider irredeemable throughout the trilogy. To name a few: he merc’d his dad (Han Solo), he ordered the slaughter on the village of Jakku, he destroyed the Hosnian System, and, at times, he was an entitled little shit.

But before he was Kylo Ren, he was a child who was manipulated to the dark side by someone literally inside his head. He needed help and the people he trusted most (his parents and his uncle) abandoned him to the voice, to the dark side.

It really was quite tragic.

So what would I have done with him?

I would’ve had him fighting side-by-side with Rey so death wasn’t an option. They would’ve defeated Emperor Palpatine together along with the help of some Force ghosts (and maybe Anakin’s ghost would tell Ben he’s so proud of him for overcoming the dark side, and we’d all cry…), and once Palpatine was toast, Ben and Rey would’ve kissed and laughed and realized that keeping hope alive in other people is a very real thing that has magnificent outcomes.

Afterward, Ben would’ve become the notion behind the film’s title by doing everything he could to right the wrongs he committed (while going to therapy). He would move to Ach-To (where the Jedi Order was founded), and he would train the next group of Jedi. He would give back endlessly/tirelessly until he earned the trust of those around him and he would’ve stood on the right side of history in the next inevitable battle against the dark side. And during that battle? Ben would wield Anakin’s lightsaber (not Rey) and all would be right in the galaxy.

Can you tell I’ve thought a lot about this? Haha.

In my debut, A Realm of Ash and Shadow, there is a character who shares traits with Anakin/Ben Solo. He’s messy and could really benefit from a really tight hug and years of therapy. But I wouldn’t dream of killing him off to right the wrongs he’s committed. Instead, he is working every day to be better, to do good, and to atone for what he’s done. And dare I say, he actually apologizes.

A non-death redemption arc for Ben Solo would break the cyclic notion that in order to be forgiven for all the wrongs that a character had committed, they’d have to die. But stories shouldn’t be that black and white. They are shades of grey. By giving Ben Solo an actual redemption arc, writers would instill hope that people can change, they can do better.

So what do you think about my redemption arc for Ben Solo? Would you have preferred if he lived and trained a new school of Jedi? If he made amends without dying? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram @laraonfire!

And if you’re looking for any ideas on what makes a good villain, Alexia has you covered in this blog HERE.

PHOTO CREDITS: All images are from Google Images.

Lara Buckheit is the author of A Realm of Ash and Shadow: She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Wilmington University, is a 2021 WriteMentor Mentee, an avid writer (and reader) of spice, and one time she met Taylor Swift's dad. She started writing at a very young age, mostly fanfiction centered around women with swords and men with devilish grins. And she hasn't stopped since. When not writing, Lara can be found drinking tea, hustling for her day job, and reading from her endless TBR pile. Lara currently lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband, dog, and thirteen houseplants named after fictional characters.


  1. I was so disappointed that they killed off Ben too. I'm still holding out hope for a Disney+ show where Rey goes to the World Between Worlds and brings him back, then has to protect him from all the people in the galaxy who want him dead.

    1. I love this story idea! You must write this :D

  2. I love this—Ben needs this! We need this!!