Things are always pretty black and white in the Star Wars saga. You have Jedi and Sith. Good and evil. The light side of the Force and the dark side of the force. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. But, The Last Jedi introduced a grey area between the light and dark sides of the force, with our new hero, Rey, not fully wanting to choose sides between the Jedi and the Sith. And, the complexity of The Last Jedi sets this new saga up for what could be a more nuanced idea of good and evil in the upcoming Rise of Skywalker.
A Star Wars fan on Reddit recently posed the idea that Kylo Ren “killed his dad to become closer to the dark side so he could draw out Palpatine and finally end it?”
Now, this certainly would be a tragic and interesting twist, but how exactly would it work? We saw Kylo willingly attempt to kill his own mother in The Last Jedi—and the other atrocities he’s committed could not justify destroying the Emperor, could they?
Another user jumped in with what’s a pretty interesting theory on how Kylo Ren could have initially been attempting to infiltrate the Sith only to be seduced by the dark side:
It’s useful to keep in mind that Anakin’s turn to the dark side was a result of various things. We can say that ultimately, his main conscious decision to turn to the dark side was his fear of Padme’s death and the assurance from Palpatine that he could save Padme if he became a Sith. And so this conscious decision cemented his turn to being a Sith. However, it’s not the only reason. Already Anakin had serious emotional issues. His love for Padme was jealous and possessive. He was distrustful and resentful of the Jedi Council and increasingly distrustful and angry with Obi-wan. Anakin had emotional issues that had been simmering for some time that made him open to the Dark Side, and certainly enough to keep him there once turned. His decision to be a Darksider was a conscious decision on his part, that he believed would help him set the world right (ending slavery) and saving his family. He had a reason that he believed to be good, in becoming a Sith, but that doesn’t mean becoming a Sith was a good choice, especially with all his issues.
We can potentially regard Kylo in the same way. He could have made a conscious decision to join the Dark Side to save something–end Palpatine, whatever, but still have numerous emotional issues and trauma dealing with perceived betrayal from his family and abandonment issues, as well as his belief that his role is to be the monster everyone thinks he is. I had dismissed the “double agent” theory before, but I now see that I was viewing it too simplistically. It’s not an either/or thing. Kylo could have very well believed he was doing something “right”. But that also means he would have to become the monster everyone considered him to be, and with his fear issues, becoming that monster was not too difficult. His words to Han, that “It’s too late”, indicate that Kylo has absolutely done some shit, and that he is aware it is morally wrong and that he isn’t exactly happy about it. But in both films, it seems Kylo acts as if he has no choice but to do so. Sunk-cost fallacy likely plays a role in this, but it’s possible that there’s a kernal of a notion that he’s doing this for some “good” endpoint.
This reading of Kylo’s personality and relationship to the dark side fits with what we saw after the death of Snoke in The Last Jedi. With Snoke dead, Kylo asks Rey to join him to end the First Order and lead a new society of their own. Rey turns him down, known that he’s capable of horrible things. But, what if he truly believes that he’s doing the right thing—that he’s killed his father, attempted to kill his mother to end evil forever?