Ben Solo, son of Han and Leia, once an apprentice of Luke, now the Master of the Knights of Ren renamed Kylo Ren, the question is how? What lead Ben Solo to abandon his training with Luke and seek out the Darkside? How did Snoke begin to influence Ben? Today I’m going to explore some of my ideas on how this happened. This will be pure speculation based on the information we currently have available. Bloodline, coming out in May could possibly fill in more information but who wants to wait, right?
Let’s first start with how Snoke was able to influence Ben to begin with. We know that Leia, Ben and Snoke had to have met. From the script:
LEIA No. (long beat) It was Snoke.
Han takes this in.
LEIA (CONT’D) He seduced our son to the dark side. But we can still save him. Me. You.
How would this have happened? My guess is after the Galactic Concordance the remnants of the Empire/beginnings of the First Order had some sort of diplomatic relations with the Republic. This is where Snoke would have met young Ben, I suspect pretending to be less than he i.e. claiming to be a diplomat when he was in fact the Supreme Leader. A thoughtful comment to Ben about his grandfather and his greatness and a young boy is now interested. This could be done quite easily with a young force sensitive Ben who perhaps has a short temper or feels he is constantly pushed aside and compared to his hero parents being exposed to someone that continues to say his power/ability etc are being ignored. Ben was groomed by Snoke, most likely through others and not directly, but still slowly brought to believe that Snoke saw what others did not. Leia no doubt sensed the rising power in Ben, the anger, the darkside and that’s when she sent him to Luke. Ben was still young probably not even a teen at this point.
Once Ben was sent to Luke why did he continue his fall? One word: Limits. After being told by Snoke he was something special Ben is sent to train as a Jedi to his uncle Luke. Luke would no doubt be wary of Ben’s darkside leanings and try to limit his training. Luke held him back from doing too much to prevent him from making some of the mistakes Luke himself had made. I suspect that all the while Snoke is still in contact with Ben, allowing him to share his frustrations and vent. Much like the Emperor seduced Anakin by becoming a trusted adviser, Snoke manipulated a young Ben into believing he was intentionally being held back from his true power and taught about the greatness his Grandfather once was. In short you have a now adolescent Ben Solo that is being held back by his uncle, being told he is capable of more by Snoke and I don’t doubt that when Ben reached out to Han, Han told him to trust what Luke said.
After this Ben’s fall was assured. Snoke no doubt told him he must destroy the Academy or be hunted down and would send him help. The Knights of Ren accept him as their leader since he is force sensitive and they slaughter the young Jedi learners. From there they begin to enforce the will of the First Order hunting down those that oppose them. Ben becomes Kylo Ren and hides behind a mask.
Snoke used Vader as another influence in Ben Solo’s downfall, specifically the artifacts of his Grandfather. There was something that Ben “saw” when he encountered this helmet/mask of Darth Vader. This is what he expressed, as Kylo Ren, when he said:
Show me again the power of the darkness, and I’ll let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.
So it is possible that finding this mask may have also been a key factor in Ben Solo becoming Kylo Ren. That said, it is also possible that what Ben experienced was the conjuring of Snoke. Either way the memory of Vader is used by Snoke to compel Kylo to dive further into the darkside and avoid the mistake that they perceive Vader made. Considering we know that Kylo felt weaker after killing his father it’ll be interesting to see if Snoke can actually keep his apprentice under the control of the darkside.