Why Palpatine Renamed Kylo Ren (Despite Not Giving Him a Sith Title)

Since the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans have speculated on the meaning behind Kylo Ren’s name and why Snoke, a puppet of Palpatine, was insistent that Ben Solo take on a new identity. According to Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren, Ben Solo's name change resulted from a desire to distance himself from his past. However, Palpatine’s involvement in Kylo Ren’s origin indicates a much darker reasoning behind the creation of Ben’s dark side identity.


As the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo, the meaning of Kylo Ren's original name was tied to multiple heroic legacies that many expected him to live up to. Upon meeting Snoke in Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #2, Ben states that he hates his name, as it was inspired by people he never met and his father’s lies. In response, Palpatine’s puppet urges Ben to select a new name representing "the part of yourself you want to cut away. The part you want to kill."

Related: Luke Skywalker's Childhood Nickname Is His Perfect Sith Title

In Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren - from Charles Soule and Will Sliney - fans see Snoke finally sever the links between Kylo Ren and his family, however not by indoctrinating him into the Sith religion. As someone who wants to forge a new path, Kylo Ren would likely have rejected this change, as well as the adoption of a 'Darth' moniker (despite his worship of his grandfather.) However, despite not needing to observe Sith tradition, Palpatine still prompts Ben Solo to take a new name in order to join the Knights of Ren. While Palpatine sells this to Ben as a way to express his true self, he actually feeds off Ben’s insecurities to drive distance between him and his family. The creation of ‘Kylo’ (soon to become Kylo Ren) draws on real-life cult techniques to isolate and indoctrinate his pawn.

Kylo Ren name origin

In order to seduce Kylo to the Dark Side, Palpatine needed to fuel the growing distance between Ben and his parents. Due to Ben, Han, and Leia’s already tense relationship, it was easy for Palpatine to get into his new apprentice's head and convince him to sever the biggest tie to his past: his name. The new title prompted by Palpatine pushes Ben not just to live a new life, but to exist in opposition to the people most likely to bring him back towards the light. Controlling relationship often thrive on isolating the victim, as it's far harder to pull away once they feel they have no other options. Palpatine (through Snoke) begins this process by having Ben define himself by a name that actively rejects his family, then pushes Kylo Ren to kills his parents in order to make a return to his former identity feel impossible. Thankfully, Rey is eventually able to help Kylo envision a third path.

Sith names have often been used to finalize their bearers' rebirth in the dark side, making it feel impossible to return to a time before they served their masters. While Palpatine's endgame wasn't served by making Kylo a Sith, he used the same tactics to trap him in a new identity, though interestingly the lack of connection to the Sith's ancient lineage may have ultimately made it easier for Ben Solo to reject him and find some redemption. Kylo Ren's tragic creation in Star Wars lore can be credited to Palpatine's terrifying real-life manipulation tactics that isolated Ben Solo from his family - although his actions as Kylo Ren may be despicable, it is therefore hard not to feel sympathy for Ben Solo.