‘The Rise of Kylo Ren’ – Charles Soule and Will Sliney Talk Ben Solo’s Fall to the Dark Side
In just over a week The Rise of Skywalker will show us how Kylo Ren’s story ends. The fallen son of Han and Leia has been a central character of the sequel trilogy, but how exactly did he turn to the dark side? In a new interview with the StarWars.com, writer Charles Soule and artist Will Sliney talk about answering that question in The Rise of Kylo Ren.
The first issue of the eagerly awaited mini-series, which promises to finally reveal the full details on one of the pivotal events leading up to the sequel trilogy, hits shelves next Wednesday. The story by Soule and Sliney will take us from that fateful night when Luke’s Temple fell to the arrival of Kylo Ren on Jakku. And it’s a story that J.J. Abrams himself helped develop. According to StarWars.com Soule and Sliney developed their story “from a framework developed by Lucasfilm after a lengthy conversation with none other than J.J. Abrams.”
For both Soule and Sliney, it was a story they’d been thinking about as fans since they first watched The Force Awakens four years ago. “It was a shock. I can’t believe that I’m the guy who gets to write that,” Soule told the official site, “Of course I have been thinking about it on a fan level from the minute I saw The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but the idea that I would be writing it down was never in my mind until this past summer. And then I just dug in as hard as I could to really try to make a really good Star Wars story.”
But what makes a really good Star Wars story? According to Soule;
“You want it to feel like the really big mythological moments feel from Star Wars whether it’s the Mustafar battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan or the throne room battle at the end of Jedi. These are the moments where the fate of the Force, the fate of the galaxy, and the balance of the Force, all these things are on the scales being weighed. And this book, if we do it right, should be building and building and building to a moment where Ben makes a choice and you understand why he does it and you realize he had no choice, even though he thinks he’s making one. That’s what the story’s supposed to be. That’s what happened to Anakin. If we do our job right, it will feel utterly inevitable and also utterly preventable, which is the tragedy of the whole story”
In terms of making it both inevitable and preventable, there’s one character we won’t be seeing much of according to Charles Soule. Ben’s mother, General Leia. “If Leia was too much of a presence in it, I think his journey might not have gone the same way,” Soule explained. Fans have long speculated that, if Carrie was still with us, Leia may have been the one able to reach Ben in Episode IX, and it seems like Soule may be thinking along similar lines here. If Leia had been able to reach him, Ben may not have become Kylo Ren. “I think if you look at the larger architecture of the Star Wars galaxy around this time, I think there are a lot of things happening that are being specifically engineered to keep Leia away from Ben,” Soule added, “Read into that what you will. Just as there is a long game being played with Anakin, I think there is a long game being played with Ben Solo as well.”
As important as it was for Soule to hit the big mythological moments, it was just as important to make it emotional and really get to the heart of Ben Solo and portray that internal struggle. To help bring that internal turmoil to the page, artist Will Sliney studied Adam Driver’s performance in the last two films, especially in the character’s quieter moments;
“In this book, we’re leaning towards the mask. In one of the very early moments… we kind see the two sides of Ben where you can see him emotionally hurt and then he starts to put up this shield, this outer shield. Within the course of two panels, you want to show in one instance this is a frightened boy and in the second instance he has the potential to be this really, really dark person. It’s something that has to be subtly done.”
Ben isn’t the only character we’ll learn more about in this series as Sliney promises “You’ll learn an awful lot about the Knights of Ren very, very fast in this book.” Soule goes on to reveal that for the Knights of Ren he was inspired by biker gangs, Westerns and Samurai when writing about the mysterious group we’ve waited so long to meet.
“They can all use the Force, the dark side of the Force, to varying degrees. They’re not as powerful as a Jedi or a Sith, but they use it when they fight…. They have some sort of a code, like a motorcycle gang, but it’s not elaborate. They’re flexible. Mostly they’re just kind of out to live their lives the way they want to live them and take what the galaxy will give them and eat what the dark side sends.”
There’s three of Ben’s classmates from the Jedi Temple. Survivors who were off-world that fateful night. We know from the solicitation for the second issue that they will be hunting Ben following collapse of the Jedi Temple, but beyond that the creative team are remaining tight lipped.
And then there’s Snoke. A “very different” Snoke, promises Soule. Ben first meets Snoke at the end of the first issue the writer teases, raising the question of whether this meeting is before or after that night at the Temple. It would seem reasonable to assume that Ben met Snoke before that night, but even the solicitations for this series have turned fan theories on their heads so I’m taking nothing for granted as we go into this tale.
Sharing the interview on Twitter, Soule also revealed an early test sketch Sliney did of Ben Solo, of a potential Jedi before he was consumed by darkness to become Kylo Ren.
THE RISE OF KYLO REN #1 is out next Wednesday, 12/18, just before Ep IX! A detailed interview on the book with artist Will Sliney and me just dropped: https://t.co/NoGhKKQAWH
— Charles Soule (@CharlesSoule) 9 December 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 goes on sale Wednesday, December 18. You can read the full interview on StarWars.com.