Will they show us the Dark Side?
The newest Star Wars animated series, Resistance, features several familiar faces from the new movies (including Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma and Ello Asty), but the most recent episode just name-dropped an even bigger character. Kylo Ren was alluded to for the first time in “The Children From Tehar.” Not only does this episode shed a bit more light on Kylo’s backstory and his role in the First Order hierarchy, it also hints at what role he could have as a recurring antagonist in the future.
Read on for a quick breakdown of the Kylo Ren-related developments in this episode and what to expect from this villain down the road.
The Massacre on Tehar
Currently, the series is dealing with an ongoing conflict involving heroes Kaz and Neeku trying to track down two children who have had a bounty placed on their heads. As it turns out, the First Order placed that bounty. These children are the sole survivors of a massacre on Tehar, one perpetrated by none other than Kylo Ren. The First Order is hellbent on tracking down these two survivors and silencing them for good, thus removing any lingering evidence of what happened on Tehar.
What exactly the First Order is trying to accomplish by massacring innocent civilians in the Unknown Regions isn’t entirely clear yet. However, given that Resistance takes place roughly six months before the events of The Force Awakens, it’s probably safe to assume that it’s connected to the organization’s military buildup and the hunt for the missing Luke Skywalker. We know from various post-Return of the Jedi novels (including the novelization of The Last Jedi) that the First Order consolidated its power secretly in the Unknown Regions before making its move against the Republic. Only by relying on the brutality of loyalists like Kylo Ren to silence any and all leaks was that level of secrecy made possible.
Kylo Ren’s Role in the First Order
While Kylo Ren never actually appears in this episode, this reference does offer some valuable insight into his role in the First Order in the months leading up to The Force Awakens. For one thing, it further confirms that Ben Solo’s fall to the Dark Side and transformation into Kylo Ren isn’t a recent development. Rather, Kylo appears to have been heavily involved in the First Order’s military buildup for some time. His name isn’t well-known at this point, but those who have encountered him are spreading his fearsome reputation.
Moreover, this episode provides a slightly better sense of Kylo’s position in the First Order ranks. The movies have never been entirely clear on whether Kylo has an official military rank and responsibilities or if he’s more an informal agent carrying out Supreme Leader Snoke’s wishes. But this series presents Kylo as the leader of the First Order military, complete with an army at his command.
Also worth noting is that Resistance pilot Ello Asty is very intrigued at this mention of Kylo Ren, noting that General Leia Organa will be very interested in the news. As much as Leia’s goal during this time period seems focused on gathering intel about First Order activities, she’s also no doubt trying to uncover her son’s whereabouts and find some way of bringing him home.
Kylo Ren vs. Darth Vader
There’s no official confirmation on whether Kylo Ren will play a direct role in Resistance. However, this episode does seem to be setting the stage for an actual appearance in the near future. We doubt he’ll ever emerge as the main villain of the series. For one thing, Resistance is a more family-friendly alternative to something like The Clone Wars, and it’s hard to picture a child-killing mass-murderer making for the ideal antagonist. Not to mention that, as much as the series draws in familiar faces from the new movies, the emphasis remains on new characters like Kaz and Phasma’s gold-plated colleague, Commander Pyre.
If anything, we expect Kylo to fill a similar role in this series that Darth Vader did in Star Wars Rebels. Vader only ever appeared in a handful of episodes, mostly allowing minions like the Inquisitorius and Grand Admiral Thrawn to enforce his will. But his influence was still felt in many of the show’s storylines, and Vader did occasionally stop by to play a more prominent role in the story (most notably in the Season 2 finale).
The same will likely hold true for Kylo on Resistance. He probably won’t be a prominent fixture on the show, but it is safe to assume we’ll continue to hear stories about his bloodthirsty behavior and occasionally see him emerge from the shadows to strike blows against the Resistance. And if the series continues to jump forward in time, as Rebels did with each new season, it’s possible Kylo may take on a more prominent role once the series moves beyond the events of The Last Jedi and he reveals himself as the new Supreme Leader.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.