Throughout The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the antagonism and mutual disdain between Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux has become more and more heated, and I believe the two will reach their boiling point in Episode IX.
With the death of Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi, we saw Ren and Hux both assuming that they were the late-leader’s obvious successor. The two get into multiple exchanges over who the next Supreme Leader of The First Order (TFO) would be – at one point Hux even tried to kill the unconscious Kylo. The fight for succession appeared to end during the Battle Crait when Kylo decisively took control of TFO forces there, leaving Hux in a clear second-in-command role.
However, even though Hux finally began referring to Ren as “Supreme Leader”, I highly doubt that Hux has truly ceded the battle to Ren.
Hux Will Scheme Against Kylo
Armitage Hux is clearly a ruthless, brilliant, and power-hungry individual who wants nothing more than to bring his perverted sense of “order” to the galaxy. Of course, he sees ruling TFO as the best way to bring about his vision of a stable, efficient, and orderly reality.
I believe that when he submitted to Ren on Crait, it was out of a sense of self-preservation and not at all actual subservience or defeat. Clearly Ren had the ability to kill him in an instant in that battle, so Hux would have been stupid to press his luck and continue to challenge Ren for the title of Supreme Leader.
Once Hux is off of Crait however, and surrounded by his fellow officers, untold millions (if not billions) of stormtroopers, and his navy, fighting Ren will be much more appealing for the general. Which brings up the main advantage that Hux has over Kylo, TFO’s military. TFO’s military is doubtless much more loyal to Hux (a proven hero for their regime) than they are to Ren (who many of them probably view as an unpredictable monster).
I fully believe that the first chance they have, General Hux will order the destruction of Ren and that the military will comply with his orders. After all, I doubt Snoke had a formal succession process established in the event of his death – to many in the military’s high command, Ren is probably viewed as an illegitimate ruler anyways.
Speaking of Kylo…
Kylo Does Not Care About The First Order AnymoreIt seems unlikely to me that Kylo Ren would actually has any interest in being the Supreme Leader of TFO, let alone of the galaxy (which at the end of Episode VIII was wide-open for conquest). Let’s consider a couple key points:
- Kylo Ren is not – and never has been – a Sith Lord. While he is definitely an ardent believer in the power of the dark side, we know very little about the underpinning philosophies of the Knights of Ren, or even Snoke for that matter. We cannot assume that Kylo is obsessed with power and control the way that the Sith were.
- Kylo made it clear to Rey that he wanted no part in the ongoing struggles that we have followed in the Star Wars universe. My interpretation of his conversation with Rey in Snoke’s throne room is that he believes the dark vs. light and TFO vs. Resistance/Republic conflicts are pointless and he wants nothing to do with them. Not only does he want the past to die and let the galaxy start of on a clean slate, but he is willing to wipe the slate clean itself if he needs to. That was the whole purpose of his attack on The Resistance on Crait – he was not trying to win the war for TFO, he was trying to kill his mother, Leia Organa (arguably – aside from Luke – the being that most represented the past to Kylo).
I believe that Kylo only claimed Supreme Leadership for himself at the end of The Last Jedi to use their armies to kill his mother and so that he can end the TFO – Republic war once and fall by obliterating each. If the latter is true, then that will only intensify the resolve of General Hux and the military leadership to dispose of him as soon as possible.
The much-hyped Knights of Ren have been noticeably (and to many fans, disappointingly) absent from the Abrams/Johnson Star Wars movies so far, but I believe that is all going to change in Episode IX. In fact, I do not just believe that the Knights of Ren will make an appearance, but that they will play a pivotal role in the final episode of the Sequel Trilogy, especially if my prediction comes true and Hux does turn TFO against Ren.
Will the Knights regroup and come to Kylo’s defense? Will they abandon Kylo but be hunted down by TFO anyways? Or maybe, will they betray Kylo and swear allegiance to Hux’s new TFO to save themselves? While I do not think that last scenario is likely, I cannot deny that it would be interesting to watch.