I've already mentioned how I like the direction being taken with Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo) as the new main villain. He has proven to be powerful and skilled for sure but he overcompensates big time. It was almost comical for me to see him take off the mask to reveal the normal, not at all intimidating, person underneath. From his interactions with Supreme Lord Snoke (Don't worry, I'll talk about him later) he appears to still be an apprentice so he's not matured in his ways of the force yet. He wants to be seen as a force (pun absolutely intended) to be reckoned with and respected but doesn't think his 'normal' self is good enough for that. He is getting rid of every trace of the weak, light-side 'Ben' and replacing it with what will be the all-powerful Kylo Ren.
So why did he go bad? What could have made the son and nephew of the most notorious good guys in the galaxy turn to the dark side? Part of me believes it has something to do with Kylo's insecurities. From the tantrum he throws when given bad news and the weird pep talk he has with the remains of Darth Vader, it looks like he doesn't feel adequate even though he can stop a freaking laser mid-air. So he wants to be more powerful, but why? It's evident that he no longer cares for his true family, or at least doesn't associate himself with them anymore, so protecting them (a la Anakin in Revenge of the Sith) is out. Could it be that he wants to become more powerful than someone, his Uncle Luke perhaps? Maybe he was told a twisted version of the story of Darth Vader, one where the Jedi messed everything up in his life. It's also possible that while Luke was striving to rebuild the Jedi Order he neglected Kylo in some way that made him bitter, therefore making him susceptible to the seduction of the Dark Side.
It's also possible that something happened between Return of The Jedi and Force Awakens that shook Kylo's belief in the ways of the Force. Did his parents or Luke have to make a hard decision that he didn't agree with? Maybe he feels responsible for some tragedy that occurred off-screen, though I feel that Han would've mentioned it when trying to talk him down on the Starkiller. Unless Han isn't aware of his involvement in the tragedy...there are way too many possibilities, to be honest.
No matter the reason, I guarantee that Kylo's thirst for power and control is the main reason why he's forsaken his past and turned to the Dark Side. I also predict that he wants to find Luke in order to fight and destroy him to complete his training. Think about it, Kylo killed his own father to go further to the Dark Side, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if one of the 'tests' would be to kill Luke as well. Get rid of the last Jedi (as far as we know) to destroy Light Side for good.
My guess is that Snoke somehow got a hold of Kylo and used the legacy of his grandfather, Darth Vader, to turn him to the Dark Side then fed his insecurities by promising to make him more powerful than he could ever be under the tutelage of Skywalker. From there he had to have turned on his uncle and, if Rey's flashbacks are any indication, slaughtered all of the students Luke had attempted to train. After that Luke disappeared, to hide from Kylo or from his own shame of what had happened.
As for Snoke, I'm positive that Han was right when he told Kylo that he was being used by the Supreme Leader to achieve his own agenda which is the same as what Sidious wanted, control the galaxy through the Dark Side. Snoke and Kylo have different goals in Force Awakens when you think about it. Snoke wants to destroy the last of the Resistance while Kylo wants to get the map to go after Luke. It's almost like Snoke gave Kylo an errand to keep busy while he worked on the REAL task at hand. He doesn't seem to care about the map as much as destroying the Resistance and gaining ultimate control. Now that the Starkiller has been destroyed, Snoke is going back to Kylo as a 'plan B' or fallback to achieve his goal. This makes sense to me because Snoke doesn't seem very upset at Starkiller's destruction but instead tells General Hux to find Kylo Ren so they can complete his training. Maybe the next time we see Kylo he'll be at an even crazier level of powerful!
Quick thing about Snoke: He's not Darth Plagueis, guys. I won't go into long explanation of who that is (But if you're curious HERE is the link to explain) but basically everyone thinks it's him because the music that accompanied his tale in Revenge of The Sith plays again when we see Snoke. First of all, no one in the crew seemed to even know who that character was when questioned about it at panels. Second of all, Andy Serkis, who plays him, specifically stated it was a new character in the Star Wars universe when interviewed about Snoke. Also Plagueis was killed by Sidious! We're not in the Marvel universe guys, people can't come back to life all willy-nilly in a galaxy far far away!
We aren't told much about his past in the film. He reveals that he had worked primarily in the First Order's sewage system before joining the Stormtroopers, which makes his change of heart on the battlefield make sense. Supporting an ideology and enforcing it are very different things. When we first meet Finn he goes to the side of a fallen Stormtrooper who dies in front of him after smearing blood on his mask. This is his turning point. Could the fallen Stormtrooper be someone he had known? Was it a friend he had while working in sewage that wanted the chance at being a Stormtrooper, same as himself?
While Finn had lots of humor infused with his character, I still want to see the inner turmoil of what he has gone through in the next two films. There is a lot to work with there and not all of it would need to be dark or depressing. He's coming to the 'Light Side' after all. By the end of the film he's already stopped running and fights back, even if he ended up getting his butt handed to him. Though that was an excellent use of Lightsaber for not being a Jedi. Well done, sir!
What could happen to him in the next films? I'd imagine he'd want to find Rey, as she's a big part of why he made the decisions that he did, but what else? Would he stay with the Resistance and build upon the bromance he has with Poe? He's proven to be a quick learner both behind a ship blaster and a lightsaber. Could he become a pilot? Or, dare I say, a Jedi?
We'll know in the next films, which we'll have to wait even longer for. In the meantime, I think I'll go watch The Force Awakens a few more times while it's in theaters.
What are your theories on the Force Awakens? Did you notice anything interesting about the film, story, or characters that I didn't mention? Write about it in the comments below!