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Adam Driver Says Kylo Ren’s Redemption Was A Star Wars Switcheroo

Will we ever be finished re-litigating the Star Wars sequel trilogy? From The Last Jedi on, the movies have been a black hole of discourse that is near-inescapable if you have even a casual interest in the franchise. 2019’s The Rise Of Skywalker was such a rocky ending that it seems to have impeded Lucasfilm’s theatrical development entirely. (At least, they haven’t been able to get a film into production since.) And so, we come back to the same question again and again: what went wrong? Well, Adam Driver might have the answer—or an answer, anyway.

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In a new interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Driver recalled the process of agreeing to be cinema’s Kylo Ren, the character formerly known as Ben Solo. As is the nature of these massive, secretive tentpole films, he wasn’t even allowed to see a script until after he’d committed to the part (and even then he didn’t get one until traveling to London for pre-production, where he was told “‘[There’s] a tiny room down the hall, you can go in there and read the script’”). However, sequel trilogy director/producer J.J. Abrams did walk him through what was meant to be Kylo Ren’s story before Driver said yes, and the actor kept that in mind throughout the filming of the entire trilogy.

“I had an overall arc in mind that [Abrams] wanted to do, which, you know, then changed.” Driver explained. “But his idea was that—almost the opposite journey of Vader, where Vader starts the most confident and the most committed to the dark side. And then by the last movie, he’s the most vulnerable and weak. He wanted to start at the opposite, where this character was the most confused and vulnerable, and by the end of the three movies would be the most committed to the dark side. So I tried to keep that arc in mind, regardless if that wound up not being the journey anyway, because it changed, obviously, as we were shooting. But I was still focused on that.”

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As to where the original vision started to slip, “With Rian [Johnson], he took it in a different direction, but it still tracked with the character,” Driver recalled. “And then the last one, it changed into being, you know, about them and the dyad, and things like that. And kind of evolving into Ben Solo. That was never a part of it. … He was Ben Solo from the beginning, but it was never a version where we’d see Ben Solo when I first signed up for it.”

Listen, sometimes, stories change and evolve while they’re being written. But it’s always been a puzzle as to why Lucasfilm’s plan for the trilogy was to have Abrams kick things off and then hand the reins over entirely to two completely different filmmakers (Johnson had creative control over The Last Jedi, and Colin Trevorrow was meant to conclude the series with his own script called Duel Of The Fates before being replaced by Abrams). That approach is not the most intuitive way to create a cohesive narrative vision. Nevertheless, we got the Star Wars that we got, and Driver obviously did the best he could to adhere to the integrity of Kylo Ren’s arc—whatever it turned into along the way.

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