Near the end of The Force Awakens, there is a major scene with Kylo Ren where he confronts

Han, who has shouted his real name and walked onto the bridge.

Kylo shows a suspicious turn of emotion, seemingly conflicted about his turn to the Dark Side, to the point where he

openly tears up when talking to Han.

It is during this confrontation that he claims he needs to "do something that is difficult,"

right before he murders his father.

During this display of emotion, is Kylo at first sincere about being conflicted? About feeling like he's also being drawn "back" to his origins? Or is it simply sarcastic Dark Side crocodile tears?

  • 5
    May I suggest another choice of words? Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 15:17
  • 1
    @ThePopMachine, you may. Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 19:00
  • I am not familiar with how you guys like these questions worded when it comes to new material, so I thought I'd err on the safe side. Suggest away.
    – Vegard
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 22:36
  • He's thinking "damn, I'm about as whiny as my grandfather now".
    – aroth
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 4:23
  • Just a side note - does the book or movie definitively state that Han died? Harrison Ford is in the credits for ep 8. Got me confused, but then again maybe the piercing was in a redundant organ and they can replace them like they seem to do so easily with arms and legs.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 20:25

4 Answers 4


Alan Dean Foster's Novelization covers this.

The scene is pretty long but I have bolded the "what he was thinking" parts.


“Han Solo.” Kylo Ren stared across at the older man.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

“Take off that mask.” Han’s tone was a mix of command and empathy. “You don’t need it. Not here. Not with me.”

“What do you think you’ll see if I do take it off?”

Han moved forward slightly. “The face of my son.”

“Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish, like his father.” Ren’s reply was replete with pity. And anger. “So I destroyed him. But such a small, insignificant request is easily granted.” ...

Reaching up, he slowly removed the mask. For the first time Han saw the face of his son as a grown man—and it jolted him.

“That’s what Snoke wants you to believe,” Han was saying. He wasn’t pleading—just stating a fact. “But it’s not true. My son is still alive. I’m looking at him right now.” ...

Ren’s eyes blazed. “No! The Supreme Leader is wise. He knows me for who I am, and who I can become. He knows you for what you really are, Han Solo. Not a general, not a hero. Just a small-time thief and smuggler.”

A trace of a grin flashed across Han’s face. “Well, he’s got that part right.”

Stepping out onto the walkway, Han moved toward his son. There was no hesitation in his stride or in his voice. “Snoke’s using you for your power, manipulating your abilities. When he’s gotten everything he wants out of you, he’ll crush you. Toss you aside. You know it’s true. If you have half the ability, half the perception that I know you do, you know that I’m telling you the truth. Because unlike him, I have nothing to gain from it.”

Ren hesitated.

“It’s too late,” he said.

“No, it’s not.” Halfway across the walkway now, Han continued to move forward, smiling. “Never too late for the truth. Leave here with me. Come home.” Without the slightest trace of malice or deception, he cast a dagger. “Your mother misses you.”

A strange sensation touched the younger man’s cheeks. Something long forgotten. Dampness. Tears.

I’m being torn apart. I want—I want to be free of this pain.”

Han took another step, then stopped, waiting. A decision had to be made, and for once it was not his to make.

“I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.” Ren moved out onto the walkway toward Han. “Will you help me?”

“Yes,” Han told him. “Anything.”

Halting an arm’s length from his father, Ren unclipped his lightsaber, looked down at it for a moment, and then extended it toward Han. For an instant that seemed to extend into forever, nothing happened. Smiling, Han reached for the weapon. Then, as the light from outside was fully blocked by the flow of descending, accumulating dark energy, Ren ignited the lightsaber—and the fiery red beam lanced outward to pierce Han’s chest from front to back.

“Thank you,” Ren murmured, and truly, the darkness above was mimicked by the darkness in his voice.

And in the aftermath:

Stunned by his own action, Kylo Ren fell to his knees. Following through on the act ought to have made him stronger, a part of him believed. Instead, he found himself weakened.

  • 3
    This really should be use spoiler tags. I'd edit it myself, but for unknown reasons, it displays the ! marks, instead of treating the >! as a spoiler. Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 16:15
  • 11
    @forgivenson - seriously, if you're reading the answer to this specific question, there's not much that can be spoiled. Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 18:17
  • My read of the scene was that because he did it so conflicted, so free of rage and hate, almost analytically, it didn't take him closer to the dark side as he'd thought, and he had some remorse taking him toward the light. Nice to see that last sentence from the novelization. The same act with vengeance and hate and fury might well have made him stronger (in that dark side way). Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 18:33
  • 5
    @DVK Non-spoilered portions of answers show up in search results though--for example, search for "kylo ren across" and you get a pretty graphic spoiler just in the search summary for this question. Spoiler tags redact text from search results.
    – Milo P
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    Have you scanned and indexed the entire novel for faster retrieval when answering questions? Impressive.
    – aroth
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 4:25

I do think Kylo is genuinely conflicted here, because he's mentioned it before during the course of the movie. In particular, when he's talking to the Vader mask, he tells


that he feels the tug of the Light Side pulling on him.

In the climactic confrontation later on, he's basically explaining that internal conflict to

his father, whom he hasn't seen in a long time.

He's describing how it feels to be torn between the Light and Dark sides, and how much pain it causes him internally.

However, it's my opinion that Kylo never really considered any other course of action besides the one he took. When he talks about the "difficult thing he has to do", he means that he's already decided, much earlier in the movie, that he needs to

kill his father, whom he thinks is the thing holding him back from embracing the Dark Side

He is struggling with that decision, because it's hard for him, but he's committed to doing it, and ultimately follows through.


He seems to be sincere.

My interpretation of the scene is that he is indeed conflicted and drawn to the light side and hoping to end the conflict by doing a difficult thing.That difficult thing is ofcourse killing his father and say goodbye to Ben Solo and the light side once and for all.

  • 1
    I believe in the scene where he is speaking to Vader's mask he is not sure if he is strong enough to leave the light side behind, he says he is struggling with it, the 'call' to the light is always there. Even the Supreme leader asks if he is strong enough when they realise Kylo Ren will be on the same planet as the named character and might have to face him. Seems genuine, seems conflicted, he needs to be strong enough to turn his back on the Light for good. He does so quite emphatically I would say!
    – G.James
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:01

Purely my speculation, as there is no canon source:
Another part of the movie shows Kylo conflicted over his decision to join the dark side. He asks Anakin to show him the power of the dark side, because he feels like the light is seducing him. The "do something that is difficult" is that he needs to kill his father. Han misunderstands this and thinks the "do something that is difficult" is coming back to the light side. He says he will help him and Kylo in turn misunderstands this and thinks Han is giving him permission for the kill.

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