From the moment he was introduced, Kylo Ren was giving Star Wars fans a massive clue to his Skywalker lineage, simply with his choice of name alone.
With the newest Star Wars trilogy finished, hindsight and rewatches have allowed audiences the time for further inspection on where Kylo Ren got his name. The dark side user made his rage and power known since his first appearance in The Force Awakens. With his sinister mask and his unstable lightsaber, Star Wars‘ Kylo Ren had audiences intrigued. Kylo Ren’s adoration for Darth Vader gave a hint to his heritage and where he could have attained his strength with the Force, but the biggest clue was right there in his name. Star Wars has always made its dark Jedi a tragic bunch, and the franchise tends towards the poetic in choosing the names of their dark side personae. Kylo Ren is no exception here.
Having revealed that he used to be a Jedi Padawan under Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo changed his name to Kylo Ren in order to escape his lineage after turning to the dark side. However, he kept a tie to his heritage when creating his new moniker. This change was so subtle that it went unnoticed until the big reveal that Ben was the son of Han and Leia. The word Kylo is derived from the Latin “Caelum” which means “sky.” Even before knowing his parentage, the hint that Kylo is tied to the Skywalkers was right in front of audiences since the warlord of The First Order’s name was mentioned.
Why Ben Solo Chose the Name “Kylo Ren”
Ben Solo was named by his parents for Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi in the hopes he would train under Luke Skywalker and be a bastion for the light side of the force. The weight and pressure of becoming a great Jedi like his namesake is mentioned as a massive burden in the comic series Star Wars: Rise of Kylo Ren. Ben Solo in this comic series, hates his given name just as much as he does onscreen. It would make sense for him to replace Ben with Kylo, given the “sky” meaning behind the word, to connect himself to his grandfather Anakin Skywalker’s legacy. Anakin walked the path of light until becoming a Sith as Darth Vader, just as Ben Solo followed the light until being seduced to the dark side by a powerful group of knights.
The Knights of Ren get hardly any screen time in the Star Wars sequel trilogy save for a flashback, but they’re equally important to Kylo’s name. As found in the comic series Star Wars: Rise of Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker and Kylo fought the Knights of Ren. The group of knights, not Sith, are led by a scarred warrior known as “the Ren.” This warrior carries a red lightsaber with the same title, and his knights are so fearsome they give Kylo his inspiration to depart from Jedi teachings. On his journey to the dark side, Kylo becomes the master of the Knights and finishes his new identity as Kylo Ren.
How Lucasfilm Kept Kylo Ren’s Identity a Secret
Someone with parents as famous as Han Solo and General Leia Organa would be hard to hide, even in a galaxy as large as the one far, far away in Star Wars. Taking a page from his grandfather Anakin Skywalker, in an attempt to be the new Darth Vader, Kylo Ren dons a helmet and voice changer to intimidate his enemies and hide his past life. The very first scene in The Force Awakens with Kylo Ren is on a backwater planet with an old resistance man who seems to know his true identity, regardless of the helmet. However, this helmet allows for no one in the First Order to know his secret aside from Supreme Leader Snoke. Just as Anakin was able to hide himself behind his mask and become Vader, Ben Solo sought to be known only by the terrifying visage that led the Knights of Ren. The effect was twofold as Lucasfilm used Kylo Ren’s mask to divert his identity from audiences and build intrigue around a potential new Sith Lord in the Star Wars universe.
Next: Every Way Cassian Andor Has Become A Darker Version Of Han Solo