Broom Kid said:
My problem with the idea of either Kylo or Vader surviving their respective redemptions is that even in a fantasy film universe as wide open as the one Star Wars occurs in - I simply don’t see a future for either character where they’re not immediately murdered as retribution for their crimes, either by the respective governments, or by mob rule. Asking audiences to accept that family members (or possible lovers) can forgive the terrible in those they hold dear is one thing. Asking the rest of that fictional universe to get in line behind them is… a lot. And really, really pushing the suspension of disbelief.
Their only real future along those lines is self-exile. Which was actually pitched in the case of Kylo, but ignored by Abrams as a possibility. Kylo communing with the Force for the rest of his life, in solitude, on Ahch-To makes sense to me. Kylo wandering the galaxy like some sort of do-gooder Ronin? I don’t see it. It’d just be wave after wave of people trying to take him out because of, you know, the whole genocidal dictator thing.
I could see self-exiling either character for literally DECADES, and then being summoned out of that exile as a last ditch “you’re our only hope” sort of hail mary for whoever the heroes of that follow-up story were. i.e. “I know of one man who could help. Maybe. But you’re not gonna like it”
That’s one hell of a long game to play. But it’s probably the only real shot at a plausible “redemption/atonement” storyline for those characters. You need a ton of time and a whole lot of distance from the events of the movie they redeemed themselves in. Give them a chance to become legends/spectres, and then they finally get a chance to do the right thing for the right reaons on a large scale.
But in the case of Kylo… I just don’t see him surviving like 50,000 assassination attempts if he lived past The Rise of Skywalker. He’d have to hide out in a place where no people go for a very, very long time.
You’ve actually touched on my entire issue with the Luke/Vader conclusion in ROTJ - the very ‘mob rule’ that would have made a ‘Vader survives’ story untenable is exactly the same ‘mob rule’ that should have made Luke’s story untenable. I keep joking about banter at the Ewok party but I’m actually serious - what did Luke tell everyone about the throne room showdown? Because the truth would have had him strung on the nearest branch. People keep saying “Luke showed mercy and thus destroyed the Sith”. This is not what happened. What happened was that Luke abandoned the fight and, luckily for him, this led to Palpatine’s death. It’d be no different if Luke had left a banana peel on the step and Palpatine had accidentally broken his neck. When TFA opened with ‘Luke Skywalker has vanished’ I was like “who cares?”. What would Jedi Master Skywalker have offered that could have been remotely useful to bringing down the FO? ‘Be kind, never use your weapon, and family comes first’.
This could have been fixed (for me anyway) with a change of dialogue at the Ewok hut. Luke could have said to Leia something like “Vader can sense when I’m here, which means the Emperor is on to us. I’m going to turn myself in. Vader will take me to the Emperor himself - I have foreseen it. I’m going to make sure Emperor Palpatine never leaves the Death Star”. Leia would be understandably horrified - Luke is basically committing suicide for the cause - and Luke would insist. It would be incredibly powerful but also selfless and heroic. That would be a true hero. Vader could still have his change of heart, Luke could still spare his father’s life, but Luke’s intentions would be that of a Jedi Master - someone whose counsel one would definitely wish to seek 30 years later when the war flares up again. And Vader’s redemption would merely be a factor in the events - a very important one for the characters to be sure - but it would still be the story of Luke Skywalker destroying the Sith with Vader’s turnaround as a component of the whole - not Luke’s entire mission.
Which is why I prefer Kylo’s redemption. Kylo was redeemed because he’d never truly lost his attachment to his family and Rey saved his life. So he made serious amends - firstly by helping Rey in the final battle and then by giving his life-force to her. It doesn’t excuse his crimes, but it has infinitely more weight than Vader’s selfish “gotta save my kid” redemption IMO.
And this is exactly the kind of story Rey could tell at the after-party - “Kylo turned to the light, he helped me fight Palpatine, and then he died so that I might live”. Why is this better? Because she wouldn’t have to omit such items as “well I didn’t want to lose my temper so I held back, watched lots of people die, got angry and beat Kylo to standstill, spared him because I’m fond of him, threw my weapon away, declared myself a Jedi while you guys were all being beaten to sh*t in the space battle…”