The Sequel trilogy brought us many gifts, one of them being our beloved Benjamin Solo.
Who is Ben Solo? Why did he mean so much to so many people? Could such a complex character really be redeemed after all of the unspeakable acts that had been depicted in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi? Let’s discuss.
Ben Solo was born in 5 ABY in Hanna City, Chandrila on the day that the Galactic Concordance was signed between the New Republic and the Galactic Empire, formally ending the Galactic Civil War, one year and four days after the Battle of Endor. Ben’s birth from the beginning was a symbol of hope. Leia knew her son would ultimately be a Jedi, thus naming him after Obi Wan Kenobi because he was a model of a great Jedi according to Bail Organa, and “Ben” fits better with Alderaan//Corellia naming habits.
As a character with a background filled with so much history, trauma, grooming, and manipulation- Ben Solo’s story is truly tragic. But Ben Solo’s story, struggles and pain had awakened something deep within some of us. From the internal conflict we saw in The Force Awakens, we knew Ben was unsure of his path. Consistently being torn apart, Ben truly believed that murdering his father would help him go down the path that he desired. This was clearly not the case, as Ben laments to Snoke multiple times throughout the novelization as well as the movies, “I’ve given everything to you. To the dark side”. Instead of finding solace from his master, Snoke reiterates the fact that the “deed split him to the bone”.
What makes Ben Solo relatable and human is that he has faults. His shortcomings throughout his life, in his parents eyes and even with his own uncle, had taken it’s toll on his psyche and vision of himself as a whole. We can see the growth from Ben Solo throughout these three films. From being an unsure young adult, to an angry, confused adult and finally at last, a man who had found peace.
We saw our own broken relationships in those raw moments where Ben and Han are on that bridge in TFA. We felt the rage that Ben felt when his master was torturing Rey, the one person he truly felt a connection with. We cheered for Ben when he had found the strength within himself to finally kill his master who had manipulated him from the start.
Most importantly, we healed in that moment where Ben had forgiven himself using Han’s memory. Kylo Ren is no more, but Ben Solo lives in our hearts forever.