Despite the fact that Kylo Ren idolized Darth Vader more than anyone else during Star Wars’ sequel trilogy, one piece of extended lore confirms that the two couldn’t have been more different through a direct side-by-side comparison regarding how each of them grew into two of the strongest Dark Side wielders in the galaxy.

Like his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, before him, Ben Solo was corrupted by Emperor Palpatine (disguised as Snoke) after being seduced to the Dark Side while studying to become a Jedi. In Ben’s case, he was studying under Luke Skywalker within the newly-formed Jedi Order, while Anakin fell to the Dark Side after becoming a Jedi Knight and even a junior member of the Jedi Council (since he wasn’t granted the rank of Master). Small differences aside, the fact remains that two members of the same family were turned to the Dark Side by the same Sith Lord, and both became incredibly powerful as a result, which rightly leads fans to assume that Darth Vader and Kylo Ren are way more similar than not–however, the methods behind how they each sought to increase their strength are exact opposites.


Related: Star Wars Reveals A Crucial New Step in Palpatine’s Creation of Snoke

Darth Vader Needs a Master, But Kylo Ren Wants Freedom

Darth Vader about to attack the Emperor.

In Star Wars: Hidden Empire #4 by Charles Soule and Steven Cummings, Darth Vader and the Emperor are preparing for their final battle against the Crimson Dawn after they learned that Qi’ra has the Fermata Cage in her possession. So, at the start of this issue, the Emperor asks Vader to cross lightsaber blades with him as a training exercise, since it has been some time since Palpatine used the weapon in combat. Right before the sparring session was over, Vader had the perfect opportunity to take the kill-shot and end Palpatine’s life right then and there–but he didn’t, which is something that Kylo Ren cannot say.

Kylo Ren Is Actually More Independent

Kylo Ren kills Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi

In Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren murders Snoke the first chance he gets, and he does so because he believes Snoke was holding him back. In contrast, Darth Vader believes that the cruelty of his master is what continues to make him stronger every day, with this issue explicitly showing that Darth Vader won’t kill Palpatine even when given the chance (with Vader’s ultimate redemption in Episode VI notwithstanding). This is an interesting dichotomy as it goes against a lot of preconceived notions about Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Vader is seen as this epic master of the Dark Side who can solo any Jedi in the galaxy, while Kylo Ren is mostly viewed as a petulant child who throws a fit when things don’t go his way. Yet it is Kylo who exhibits more independence on his quest for power, while Vader is the one who seemingly needs his hand held throughout.

For as much as Darth Vader liked to think that he’d kill the Emperor the first chance he got in order to take his place as the supreme Sith Lord, this issue proves that he couldn’t do it, after already explaining why in an earlier story. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren did take that position of power for himself the second he had the opportunity by killing Snoke the same way Darth Vader could have killed the Emperor in this Star Wars issue–proving that, as much as Kylo Ren idolized him, he and Darth Vader are nothing alike.

More: Dooku’s Nickname for Yoda Was a Warning He’d Join the Sith

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