• Han Solo’s death prevented Kylo Ren from fully embracing the dark side, leading to his eventual redemption and return to the light.
  • Supreme Leader Snoke’s belief that Han’s death would commit Kylo Ren to the dark side backfired, as it instead caused him to question his path and lose faith in his master.
  • Han’s sacrificial love and willingness to die to save his son broke the power of the dark side, forever preventing Kylo Ren from fully committing to it.



No matter how much Kylo Ren resisted the pull to the light in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he never truly fell to the dark side, and it was all because of Han Solo. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended with Kylo Ren murdering his father in cold blood, apparently confirming his embracing the dark side. However, his story throughout the sequels reveals that this was not the case and that Han knew what he was doing when he faced his son for the last time.

Each movie in the sequel trilogy centered on Kylo Ren’s inner conflict, ending with his decision to abandon the dark side and return to the light. While many Sith Lords like Darth Vader turned to the dark side but found their way back, Han prevented his son from turning to begin with. This adds new emotional depth to Han’s death on Starkiller Base and makes his final scene with Kylo Ren a more satisfying conclusion to his story.

Supreme Leader Snoke Believed Han’s Death Would Commit Kylo Ren To The Dark Side

Supreme Leader Snoke, Han Solo, and Kylo Ren as seen in the Star Wars sequel trilogy

Supreme Leader Snoke intended Han’s death to be Kylo Ren’s final test to commit him to the dark side, but this proved a fatal mistake. According to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo, this was similar to a Sith ritual, where someone kills the thing they love to pledge themselves to the dark side. Emperor Palpatine had Anakin Skywalker do this in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith when he commanded Anakin to destroy the Jedi, including his best friend Obi-Wan Kenobi. From Snoke’s point of view, Han’s death was sure to do the same for Kylo Ren.

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Unfortunately, Han’s death had the opposite effect from what Snoke intended, ridiculing his apprentice after “the deed split your spirit to the bone.” Snoke was initially prepared to complete Kylo Ren’s training, but after seeing how his student had failed from being unbalanced, he began to lose faith entirely. However, Snoke used Kylo Ren’s conflicted heart to bridge his mind with Rey’s, baiting her to help him so that he could learn of Luke Skywalker’s location. This makes it clear that Kylo Ren could never fully commit to the dark side and was always drawn to the light, but Han’s death is what truly saved him.

How Han Broke The Dark Side Power Of His Death

Harrison Ford as Han Solo confronting Kylo Ren in Star Wars The Force Awakens

Han knew full well that his Kylo Ren would probably kill him if he revealed himself, but he walked out anyway because he would do whatever it took to save his son. Ideally, Han would have convinced him to come home and abandon the dark side right away, but it soon became evident that Kylo Ren wasn’t ready to do this. Rather than running away or choosing to hate his son for what he did, Han allowed his death to happen, imbuing the deed with sacrificial love and the light side. This broke the power of the murder, meaning Kylo Ren could never embrace the dark side.

This act brought Han’s story full circle from the original Star Wars trilogy. Han started as a selfish smuggler who only looked out for himself but eventually fought for the Rebellion and fell in love with Leia. Even after the terrible things Kylo Ren did, Han loved him anyway, making the ultimate sacrifice to help save his son’s soul. Unlike Jedi, who could become Force ghosts, Han never lived to see whether his son eventually redeemed himself, displaying remarkable courage and faith from a man who once scoffed at destiny and the power of the Force.

Kylo Ren Was Never Able To Commit To The Dark Side – Because Of His Father’s Death

Ben Solo and Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker.

The following two movies in the sequel trilogy demonstrated the effect of Han’s sacrifice, as Kylo Ren continued to hesitate his turn to the dark side. Kylo Ren had the chance to kill his mother when the First Order attacked the Resistance fleet, but Han’s death showed that this would only bring more pain. The novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry revealed that Kylo Ren would have stopped the missiles with the Force if he could have, so no matter how confident he tried to act during the Battle of Crait, he was not committed to killing his mother.

The only person Kylo Ren was willing to kill was Luke, but even then, his reaction to Luke’s words about striking someone down in anger got through to him. Rey rejected Kylo’s offer to join her, but he was still intent on turning her to the dark side rather than killing her. The final piece of Kylo Ren’s redemption came when Leia used the last of her strength to reach out to her son and stop him from killing Rey. Kylo Ren’s story could have ended when Rey stabbed him, but she used her healing ability to give him one last chance, setting up Han’s “return” that made his redemption final.

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Han’s “Return” In Rise Of Skywalker Was The Perfect End To His Story

The memory of Han speaks to Kylo Ren/Ben Solo in The Rise Of Skywalker

Although the Han in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was Ben Solo’s memory, it was still a perfect end to the character’s story. The scene mirrors Han and Ben’s last meeting in The Force Awakens, but this time he knew what to do because his father’s death had shown him that the dark side is a path to nowhere. It may not have been Han, but this is likely what Han would have said if he did return, demonstrating that Kylo Ren was gone, as only Ben would know his father that well. It was a beautiful farewell between the two that illustrates how Han kept his son from falling to the dark side in Star Wars.

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