I've been theorising about The Force Awakens for over a year now and one thing I keep coming back to is Kylo Ren. Who he is under that mask, and what his motivations are Now, with just days to go before the release of the movie, I have one last theory...
I suspect Kylo Ren is a pawn and that he is being manipulated by someone from the shadows. That someone is Supreme Leader Snoke. The why is a little more mysterious, but I think I have an idea what it might be. So let's speculate one last time I the final pre-The Force Awakens Star Wars Insights.
Let's start with the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force.
The prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force was aimed directly at Anakin Skywalker. Luke's part in the whole affair was to redeem Anakin and give him the fortitude to rise up against the Emperor and destroy the Sith. A year ago I speculated that the prophecy may have actually been about Luke, and that Luke had in fact left the Force imbalanced. My reasoning was that in order to have balance in the Force, there would need to be equal elements on each side, light and dark. When Yoda died and left Luke as the final Jedi, there was no balance because there were two Sith. When Anakin redeemed himself and killed the Emperor he returned to the light and so the Force was imbalanced again. Then when Anakin died, and Luke was the last Jedi, there was no dark side counterpart to provide balance. So my rationale was that the Force would be dormant and Luke would be living a monastic life in exile.
That was my Imbalance Theory, but what if balance was achieved? It's clear that the prophecy was actually about Anakin, and at the moment of his death, Anakin returned balance to the Force by leaving Luke, the most promising of his two children, on the light side and, unbeknownst to anyone, a powerful and mysterious Force user on the dark side.
Supreme Leader Snoke.
My guess is this powerful Force user was Supreme Leader Snoke, or as we might know him; Darth Plagueis The Wise.
If we refer back to Star Wars Episode III Revenge Of The Sith we learn that Plagueis was master to Darth Sidious, aka Palpatine, who would go on to become Emperor. Palpatine tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis, a powerful Sith Lord who had been experimenting with the force to create and prolong life. I think there is enough evidence to assume that the life he created was Anakin himself. At this point Palpatine, who presumably decided he had learned enough from Plagueis, killed his master as he slept, and assumed the mantle of Sith Master. We can speculate that Palpatine had an apprentice or an Inquisitor waiting in the wings. This is after all, his M.O. Just look at how he replaced Dooku with Anakin.
But what if Palpatine wasn't as successful in his attempt on his master's life, as he had thought?
I believe, as you will have seen if you've been reading the Talk Star Wars in recent weeks, that Snoke is Darth Plagueis. These Sith Lords seem to have public names (Palpatine/Dooku/Anakin) as well as their assumed title of Darth Whatever, so Snoke could be his public identity. We know from official source (EW and Empire) that Snoke seduced Kylo Ren to the dark side, we will cover why in a moment, but does that not suggest that Snoke requires "muscle" to carry out the heavy lifting whilst he watches from the shadows? We have heard from Andy Serkis that Snoke looms large over General Hux and Kylo Ren in at least one scene. He mentioned that he was twenty five feet in the air with his voice amplified so the actors could interact with him onstage. Some have speculated that this means Snoke is a giant, but special effects supervisor Neal Scanlon has informed us that Snoke is only seven feet tall and very, very thin. This suggests to me that 'twenty five feet tall" Snoke is actually a floating head hologram. Similar to the Emperor in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. If that's true, it implies he would rather stay remote and hidden, perhaps to keep himself safe? Let's look at why.
If Snoke is actually Plagueis then he has barely survived one attempt on his life. The Palpatine Attempt. Andy Serkis has also remarked that Snoke is somewhat damaged. Perhaps he isn't quite back to fighting weight after decades of secluded convalescence. One could imagine Snoke/Plagueis monitoring Palpatine from afar, concerned that if his presence was revealed Palpatine would certainly kill him, and so he bides his time and waits as Luke emerges and removes the Sith, helping Anakin restore balance in his final moments.
Now one Jedi (Luke) and one Sith (Snoke/Plagueis) remain. Balance has been restored.
I imagine Snoke/Plagueis watching Luke with interest as he becomes stronger in the Force and perhaps as he establishes a new Jedi order, taking apprentices and altering the balance once more.
Why Kylo Ren?
So why would Snoke/Plagueis seduce (the official word!) Kylo Ren? Or rather the young man who will become Kylo Ren. My guess is that as Snoke/Plagueis watched Luke through the force, and he became acutely aware that there was another Skywalker. Leia, but she wasn't training in the ways of the force (that's also official from J.J. Abrams). So she would be of no use to him in his mission. But her offspring might be...
One thing I expect to learn in The Force Awakens is that Han and Leia had a family, at least a son, possibly named Jacen (let's just call him Jacen), but that name is not vital. I also expect this son to be extraordinarily strong with the Force, like his uncle and his Grandfather before him, and I'm sure when Snoke/Plagueis discovered him it set a plan in motion. Imagine Snoke/Plagueis reaching out to a young 'Jacen' and beginning his seduction. I'm sure Leia would have told her son about his heritage, about Anakin's fall, and Snoke/Plagueis would use his fascination with his Grandfather to groom 'Jacen' and slowly pull him toward the darkness. I expect we will learn of 'Jacen's' acquisition of Darth Vader's helmet, that Snoke/Plagueis would encourage his young prodigy to undertake a pilgrimage to Endor in order to retrieve this gruesome heirloom. This may be where an obsession sets in and Snoke/Plagueis nurtures it until it becomes something more. The Knights Of Ren.
Inquisitors and Knights
We know now, from materials like Star Wars Rebels that the Emperor kept Force sensitive individuals around to do his bidding. These talented prodigies were kept at arms length, outside of the Sith ranks (thanks to the rule of two), a kind of succession management system. Why wouldn't Snoke/Plagueis adopt a similar method? Enter the Knights Of Ren. I suspect that Snoke/Plagueis helped 'Jacen' put together the Knights Of Ren and that together they would carry out their masters bidding. Let's speculate about what that might be.
If I'm right and Snoke is Plagueis, and he is planning to reemerge, wouldn't it make sense that he would see Luke as a significant threat? And if Luke had established an academy of sorts, to guide and train young Jedi, wouldn't that also represent a risk to a returning Sith Lord? That's why I suspect we will see the Knights Of Ren destroy the Jedi Academy (if there is one) , perhaps it's that scene in the rain. If the fall of his academy is the reason why Luke retreats further into hiding, it is conceivable that he will be difficult to find, which brings me to my Lightsaber theory.
I wonder if Kylo Ren, now fully in league with Snoke/Plagueis, is aware that Luke lost Anakin's Lightsaber on Bespin whilst duelling Darth Vader. Perhaps it is Kylo Ren, encouraged by Snoke/Plagueis, who locates Anakin's Lightsaber and sets it in motion in order to track it as it inevitably finds its way back to its owner via Leia. It seems that Leia sends the weapon with Poe Dameron to Luke. Kylo Ren's goal might be to follow the weapon to his uncle in order to kill him, and in doing so avenge his grandfather's death, and make it possible for Snoke/Plagueis to return unchallenged as a Sith Master at the head of the First Order, with his new Sith Apprentice Darth... Well whatever name Snoke/Plagueis bestows upon Kylo Ren may very well be the name on everyone's lips come Episode VIII...
Return of the Sith has a nice ring to it don't you think?
Thank you for reading,