In Rise of Skywalker, we saw a massive plot to resurrect the Sith try to unfold. However, their fleet, military, and cultists were all destroyed before their scheme could truly take shape. In addition, the First Order suffered a colossal defeat in the end. Still, even though the Sith are permanently gone and the First Order is crippled, there will always be ways for the dark side of the Force to rear its ugly head again. As Maz Kanata pointed out, the dark side has ways of evolving and changing. As the Galactic Empire proved, there will always be remnants of the First Order that will never surrender. Since the First Order originated in the Unknown Regions, it is very likely they have strongholds and outposts that are beyond the reach of the known galaxy. Those strongholds will likely rebuild their strength in the Unknown Regions like they did the first time and one day renew their efforts to conquer the galaxy. Since Palpatine established no Contingency plan this time, whatever remnants of the First Order that remain will not implode and will last a lot longer than the Imperial remnants. Palpatine’s Sith Eternal cult may have been destroyed in the Battle of Exegol, but the chances of them being the only dark side cult in the whole galaxy are extremely slim. When the Galactic Empire collapsed, a dark side cult called the Acolytes of the Beyond emerged. With this in mind, it is very likely that more dark side cults will rise in the aftermath of the First Order’s defeat. Even though the Sith are permanently extinct, their dark legacy will ensure a new breed of dark side practitioners will rise to replace them. The ancient Sith left artifacts saturated in the dark side across the galaxy. Several were either recovered or destroyed, but it is unlikely that they were all found, which opens the door for Sith-like Force-users to rise. Overall, Rey Skywalker’s new Jedi Order will have no shortage of enemies to fight as they recover their strength.
I just discovered something mind-blowing regarding The Rise of Skywalker! They released some footage of Kylo Ren confronting Darth Sidious, which is in the following link. In that footage, we learned that Sidious truly IS Supreme Leader Snoke! To be more specific, Snoke was Sidious’s puppet and mouthpiece. In addition, Sidious had been communicating with Kylo Ren through the remains of Darth Vader’s helmet. Throughout the footage, as he was talking to Kylo Ren, Sidious’s voice changed between his own and those of Snoke and Vader, saying, “I have been every voice you have ever heard inside your head.” This shows that it was Darth Sidious the entire time who manipulated Ben Solo into turning to the dark side. It appears that Sidious has been grooming Kylo Ren to be his new Sith apprentice from the shadows, using Snoke and Vader’s helmet as proxies. After Vader “killed” him, Sidious saw him as a failed apprentice so he turned his attention to Ben Solo, who had just as much potential in the Force as Vader. With Vader’s helmet, Sidious was able to tug on Kylo Ren’s sentiment towards his grandfather. Through Snoke, Sidious was able to do test trials with Kylo Ren, teaching him basic dark side knowledge before he was ready to fully commit to him as his Sith apprentice. Also, even if something were to happen to Snoke, Sidious himself would remain hidden until he was ready to reveal himself. Now, Kylo Ren has proven he has something his grandfather lacked: the ability to kill and overthrow the master and usurp his power, which is the prime principle behind the Rule of Two. With this in mind, Sidious wanted Kylo Ren to kill Snoke to prove that he is capable of completing the Rule of Two. Afterwards, Sidious would leave Kylo Ren to his own devices to see what he would do once he gained real power. Clearly, Sidious liked what Kylo Ren became and has called to him through the dark side to officially become his new Sith apprentice. Just thinking of the lengths Sidious went through to orchestrate the formation of the First Order and discreetly grooming Kylo Ren into his new apprentice makes my mind blow! Up until now, we have only seen the puppets, but we will soon see the puppeteer. With these new revelations, I look forward to see the movie in its entirety to see what plans Sidious has for his new apprentice.
I have always been fascinated by Kylo Ren’s mask. While Darth Vader’s mask was both functional and symbolic, Kylo Ren’s mask was purely symbolic in nature. Kylo Ren’s mask is not just a common prop. It is a representation of his identity as a dark side practitioner. The first version of the mask in The Force Awakens represented Ben Solo’s initial turn to the dark side. When the mask was shattered in The Last Jedi, it represented Kylo Ren’s soul being shattered as a result of him killing his father. Now, in The Rise of Skywalker, the mask is being rebuilt. The mask looks like the original mask, but its numerous pieces are held together by red cracks. This symbolizes that Kylo Ren’s previously shattered dark side identity was reforged into something stronger. This transformation started when he killed Supreme Leader Snoke, which allowed Kylo Ren to complete the Rule of Two. Upon his ascension as the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren’s reforged dark side identity solidifies. Those red cracks represent the fragments of his soul being held together by his dark side rage. His identity may be reforged, but the flaws of his old identity as Ben Solo are still there. Now, Kylo Ren is not as conflicted as he was when we first met him and his turn to the dark side is closer to completion.
I heard a rumor of how Kylo Ren will evolve in Episode IX. J. J. Abrams will be taking over in the film’s creation and he has HUGE ambitions in Kylo Ren’s character development. A year after becoming the new Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren is said to become more powerful and more evil than his grandfather, Darth Vader. J. J. Abrams wasn’t kidding when he said he had big ambitions about Kylo Ren’s character development. Making him more evil than Darth Vader, the most infamous Star Wars villain of all time, is definitely as ambitious as you can get. Some may find this to be impossible, but I can see the method to their madness.
Ever since Revenge of the Sith, we wondered just how powerful Darth Vader would have been if he never became more machine than man. The Force is generated by living things and it took living flesh to manipulate it. Because of this, Vader lost most of his Force potential after he was maimed and burned alive on Mustafar. With most of his power gone, Vader never had the strength he needed to overthrow Palpatine and rule the galaxy under his own power.
Kylo Ren’s limitations in the Force are mental instead of physical, but he apparently overcomes these limitations by Episode IX. Also, unlike his grandfather, Kylo Ren has all his flesh and blood, which means his Force potential is at full power. If Kylo Ren overcomes his psychological restrictions, he would finally have access to all the power at his disposal and become the dark side practitioner he was meant to be.
In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren said, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way you can become what you were meant to be.” Maybe the reason Kylo Ren became more powerful over the last year was because he was destroying anything that could be linked to his past as Ben Solo. It is as the Sith say, “Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.” By destroying anything linking him to his past, Kylo Ren is effectively breaking his chains, becoming stronger and more sinister with each chain broken.
In addition, with the Knights of Ren at his side, Kylo Ren’s new dark side order will be a force to be reckoned with. Like Kylo Ren, the Knights of Ren are said to become even more powerful and dangerous than they were before. They could be the makings of an order that could rival the Sith. If Kylo Ren is defeated and a single Knight of Ren survives, then their order can start anew. If that happens, then the Jedi will rise again through Rey and the Sith will rise again through Kylo Ren’s legacy.
Overall, Kylo Ren will represent what Darth Vader could have been if he overthrew Palpatine and ruled the Galactic Empire in his stead.
I was surprised as anyone when Kylo Ren killed Supreme Leader Snoke, but I am not displeased. This provides us with a very interesting scenario because Kylo Ren succeeded where his grandfather failed with Palpatine. Throughout Palpatine’s reign, Darth Vader remained the Emperor’s loyal enforcer and did not take significant opportunities to overthrow him. Now, the Sith may be gone, but Snoke and Kylo Ren obviously continued Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, which dictates that there can only be one master and one apprentice: one to embody power (Snoke) and the other to crave it (Kylo Ren). It was clear that Kylo Ren was no match for his master in a direct contest of raw power. However, knowing Snoke was constantly reading his mind, Kylo Ren was able to manipulate his own thoughts so that he would thinking of something that was technically true. That was what allowed Kylo Ren to outsmart his master. It is as Palpatine once said in the Legends continuity, “Choose someone more cunning and you won’t be able to block the blade at your throat.” Kylo Ren may not yet be as powerful as his grandfather, but he is certainly more cunning. Now, Kylo Ren is the Supreme Leader of the First Order, which will be a way for us to see what it would have been like if Darth Vader overthrew Palpatine and became Emperor.