Torn apart

… in which I refuse to feel ashamed for loving Kylo Ren.

This piece was a commission for Deanna, one of my fantastic supporters over at Patreon. She threw a few ideas my way and we ran with Ben Solo as a young Jedi in training, corrupted to the Dark Side by Snoke, torn between the light and the dark but having his path laid out for him through his fear and aggression.


Torn apart

I can’t believe how much fun it is to figure out this character, and seriously, the only thing that’s keeping me from taking the path to the Dark Side of Fan-fiction is a deeply ingrained aversion against being rendered AU in two years’ time. Art will have to suffice. I put enough story in that to satisfy my needs for explaining the character, but try to leave it symbolic enough so it’ll still work when Episode VIII is out!

The reactions to Kylo Ren are really interesting. Most critics agree that he’s one of the most interesting characters this franchise has had, and certainly the most compelling bad guy. When you’re a teacher in Germany, that picture is slightly different. Quite a few of my students tell me they hated Kylo Ren.

Why? I think he’s too close to home for many people in a certain age group. He embodies the aspects a (male) teenager might dislike about himself. He isn’t cool and badass. He certainly wants to be, and sometimes he fails at it utterly. (Of course, female teenagers usually like him a lot more as they want to pull him back to the light. By his hair or otherwise.)

The expectations for the character were certainly high. In the lead-up to Episode VII, he was everywhere, even on mineral water. You expected him to be the next big bad, and were prepared to embrace your inner badass when you saw him on screen. I think the marketing really has a lot to do with the bad press Kylo Ren gets among younger fans of Star Wars.

And then, of course, he’s got it especially hard in Germany, as the guy who lent him his voice also voices JD from Scrubs. (Funnily, he also voices Dean Winchester, but I never would have known. For Kylo Ren, he definitely gave it a lot more John Dorian and a lot less Dean Winchester.) I don’t know if teenagers in Germany know much Scrubs these days, but the rather whiny voice doesn’t really help. My ears did a couple of double-takes when I heard Adam Driver’s original voice. (His clipped “I’m being torn apart” becomes a melodramatic “Ich bin innerlich zerrissen” in German, which is best translated as “I’m rent on the inside”. Way to kill off that character for German audiences!) My kids will have to endure the movie in English as soon as it comes out on DVD, I can tell you! Here, kiddo, it’s English. It’s good for you. Your resident English teacher says so.

Next stop: Rey!

5 thoughts on “Torn apart

  1. Wow this piece is incredible! I love it! Couldn’t agree with you more about Kylo Ren too. He’s my favorite villain, and character, in Star Wars for that exact reason. I really connected with him and his story. It’s also incredibly unique to the Star Wars universe as we have never seen a villain have such open conflict in his darkest times. So, in short, I’m with you. Kylo is awesome! Anyway, really awesome work and I’m looking forward to Rey!

    P.s. Any thoughts on who her parents might be?

    • Thank you, Jack! I’m totally open as to who Rey’s parents are. While I was watching TFA for the first time, I was dead sure she was Han and Leia’s daughter and left the cinema rather bewildered that she apparently wasn’t. I’m open to all those theories floating around, though I have to say I’m rather partial to the one that says she is Han’s daughter with another woman after he had left Leia, which would be such a great explanation for how messed up Ben is. I don’t really believe that one either, I just like it. ;)

      • Same here! I’m a little biased toward her being a daughter of Han and Leia just because from the beginning I wanted Kylo Ren and Rey to be siblings. While that’s likely not possible now I’m still holding on to the little chance that she may be. I’m okay with her being Luke’s daughter too though. We’ll see in 2 years! :)

        • Just saw a fan comic that explored another possibility – that Rey was indeed their daughter, and that she was at Luke’s Jedi academy, when everyone thought Ben/Kylo Ren had killed all the apprentices.

          Although that doesn’t make much sense, as Leia would have known. She felt Han die, after all. :(

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