While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released in theaters last December, in many ways its story is still far from over. In the months following its release, fans have learned from the film's cast and creators about the multiple scripts, rewrites and concepts that never made it on screen.
One thing most fans and critics have agreed upon is Adam Driver's performance as Kylo Ren. His character served as the sequel trilogy's primary antagonist, was arguably the trilogy's most compelling character and was masterfully portrayed by Driver. However, like many characters from The Rise of Skywalker, it sounds like more was planned for Kylo Ren than what appeared in the final cut.
Lev Grossman, known for his Magicians trilogy and who wrote the very first Rise of Skywalker feature for Vanity Fair, recently shared some insight from his interviews with the Rise of Skywalker cast on set. IndieWire broke down what Grossman said regarding what he learned from Adam Driver about Kylo Ren that audiences didn't get to see:
“I think probably the thing that was missing for me, I wanted to see more about Kylo’s childhood... I thought they would go back to show us more about why he turned to the dark side. [Adam Driver] had a lot of interesting thoughts about Ben Solo’s childhood.”
In Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, audiences saw that Ben Solo turned to the dark side when his uncle and master, Luke Skywalker, was tempted to kill him. Beyond that, we don't know much about Ben's fall other than a few lines of dialogue about how he was tempted by Snoke. In retrospect, his fall to the dark side felt a little too quick, just as how many have felt about his redemption towards the end of J.J. Abrams' Rise of Skywalker. Grossman went on to talk about how Adam Driver viewed Kylo's upbringing:
“This is actually something Adam Driver said... He said that both Han Solo and Leia were way too self-absorbed and into this idea of themselves as heroes to really be attentive parents in the way a young and tender Kylo Ren really needed. There wasn’t really that much of it in the movie so I just think we have to assume his childhood sucked.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
It certainly sounds as if Adam Driver knew more about why his character fell, and that he believed audiences were supposed to see of that. Flashback scenes to his relationship with Han and Leia, or even dialogue about his childhood memories, would've better served not just his character but the overall story as audiences would've understood his fall and redemption.
This information also further reveals what a brilliant and committed character actor Adam Driver truly is in that he built in history as well as reasons and motivations for Kylo Ren.
Unfortunately, it seems the legacy of the Rise of Skywalker is continuing to be more about what wasn't shown on screen than what was.