While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ended with Kylo Ren’s death, the sequel trilogy never offered much in the way of the redeemed villain's history with the Dark side. However, the latest issue of the Kylo Ren comic book may have revealed exactly what drove the man formerly known as Ben Solo to forge the distinctive red lightsaber he wields throughout the films.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4.
Throughout Star Wars lore, wielding a red lightsaber has signified an affiliation with the Sith and a strong connection to the Dark side. While Kylo’s own crimson blade indicated that he had turned away from his Jedi teachings, the creation of his weapon had remained a mystery. Answers have finally come in the form of The Rise of Kylo Ren #4, which released this week.
The comic takes place just after the destruction of Luke Skywalker's Jedi temple, as Ben Solo falls in with the Knights of Ren and fends off the last of his classmates. After killing both the Ren leader and his former friends, Ben clenches his fist in anger while bleeding his kyber crystal. This conjures up the images of Han Solo, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and others in his mind. The angrier Ben becomes, the more the red crystal crackles with energy. Take a look at the comic panel below (courtesy of Reddit)!
For context, bleeding a kyber crystal is the process of warping and bending the object to a Force user’s will. Manipulating a kyber crystal is common in lightsaber construction, but bleeding is specifically a process used by the Sith, drawing upon the Force user’s negative feelings. Anger, hatred, fear, and emotional pain are all a part of what drives Kylo to truly make the red lightsaber his own.
While relatively little is known about Kylo’s childhood, the primary implication is that his turn to the Dark side is driven by those from his past and thoughts of his family. It’s possible that Kylo’s rage is generated when thinking of all the people who have pressured him, been disappointed by him, or have somehow affected him emotionally throughout his life. The comic does go through great effort to show Supreme Leader Snoke and Emperor Palpatine coaxing their pupil behind the scenes, so that aforementioned pressure might also represent what the Sith mastermind meant when he said "I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head."
What’s more, the comic panel also helps to explain why Kylo’s weapon has a non-traditional crossguard design. We learned in The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary that the now-infamous red lightsaber had a cracked kyber crystal. Thanks to The Rise of Kylo Ren #4, we now know that the broken crystal is a result of the bleeding process. That same process is what made the blade unstable, prompting Kylo to install vents to redirect the overflowing power.
The crushing stress of living up to his family legacy no doubt charged Kylo Ren's hatred. Yet, while his family's influence pushed him to bleed his kyber crystal, those same loved ones helped guide Ben Solo back to the Light side in The Rise of Skywalker. It all comes full circle.