Guilty Until Proven Innocent- Kylo Ren/Ahsoka
“Your mistake was thinking his choice was already made.”- Rey
Some people are purely evil. Hitler? Not redeemable. Palpatine? Not a good dude. However, the majority of people, in our world and in the galaxy far, far away, are good at heart. Some, like Ventress, have lost their way. Others, like Anakin Skywalker, have been manipulated into their worst selves. These people certainly could have done things differently, and their eventual turn to the light does not forgive their heinous actions, but they are proof that keeping the faith in others is essential.
Rey makes this exact point to Luke in The Last Jedi. Not coincidentally, Rey and Luke sit right next to the prime Jedi, which is basically the Star Wars version of the yin-yang. As Luke delivers his second lesson, he tells us version one of the fall of Ben Solo. Luke looked into his heart and “saw darkness” and the “destruction, pain, death, and end of everything [Luke] love[d].” He ignited his lightsaber, even for the briefest of moments, to avenge crimes not yet committed. In doing so, he made what he saw come true. But Rey points out to him that the mistake was not truly in the action, but rather the intention. “Your mistake was thinking his choice was already made.” Ben Solo was guilty until proven innocent (which he clearly is not at that point).
This takes us back to the prequel era and a Padawan by the name of Ahsoka Tano. In season five of The Clone Wars, Ahsoka is put in a very similar situation. When the Jedi Temple is bombed, the investigation, through a series of misdirection, circumstance, and treachery, points right to Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan. She is then dismissed from the Jedi Order so that she can be tried and convicted in the Republic’s court system.
The Jedi dismiss her from the Order because the evidence clearly pointed toward her. It was an open and shut case. Any police or legal entity would have done the exact same thing. But the Jedi are not, nor should they be, a police or legal entity, This is where the problem arises. They don’t trust Ahsoka as she proclaims her innocence. They look to the bad and ignore the good. She’s guilty until proven innocent.
Jump some 50 years ahead in the timeline and we see Luke’s Jedi making the same mistake. Albeit not often discussed, there is a pretty clear message that Luke’s Jedi were headed down the same path as the prequel Jedi. His robes point to this, as well as his immediate reaction of isolating himself in the vain of Yoda and Obi-Wan. Strike three? Considering Ben Solo guilty, even though history has proven that even the most open and shut cases might not be as tidy as we would like to believe.
The reason that Ahsoka does not return to the Jedi Order is not because she does not believe in their mission and intentions. It is the execution. Motivational speaker Eric Thomas a says, “Execution is worshipped.” Ideas, intentions, nor motivations matter if they are all talk and no walk. For the Jedi of old, and of new apparently, the talk of who they were moved in one direction and the walk moved in the opposite direction.
This must be reconciled by Rey in Episode IX. If Ben Solo is going to be redeemed, it must be a redemption brought on by the reestablishment of those core Jedi beliefs represented by the prime Jedi.