"Han Solo..." whispers a visibly struggling Kylo Ren, as he grasps the pilot's chair in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, in a scene that was filmed and ultimately removed from the final version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What he was searching for could be anybody's guess, as the Corellian YT freighter had been abandoned of personnel and there was no trace of anything useful onboard, or so it would have seemed.
It was among several instances in which Ren was portrayed as distracted in mid-action or thought to utter his father's name, as though sensing him by means that extended beyond the ordinary. It was apparent that he could detect Han Solo's presence without being in the immediate vicinity, and yet this observation is contradicted later when he is seen continuing to move past a pillar behind which his father was hiding.
Was this a mere discrepancy? If the actor's body language is to be taken into account, Kylo Ren is shown not simply walking past the pillar, but momentarily pausing near it before turning instead toward the bridge, crossing it at a high and urgent pace. Did Ren really fail to detect his father's whereabouts in such close proximity, despite having been able to sense him from a much farther distance, or could something else have been in play?
A fan poses this question to Pablo Hidalgo, and receives an ambiguous reply that adds another layer to the mystery:
@JoeWest49585101 Who says he didn't?— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) 7 November 2016
The tweet, which effectively creates more inquiries than it resolves, hints at the conflict within the character who so often speaks of holding certain convictions, but then behaves in such a way that outright disputes them. Ren managing to sense Han but not stopping to so much as investigate behind the pillar, and moving away toward the opposite direction, could imply a hesitation or reluctance to face the man who he claims to care nothing about.
"I've been waiting for this day for a long time," says Kylo Ren confidently when it is his father who reveals himself and initiates the confrontation, which then takes place at the center of a perilous bridge above an abyss.
The suggestion that Ren might have been capable of locating Han Solo but instead had chosen to avoid a direct encounter offers an insightful glimpse into the morally complex character. Suspecting that the time would eventually come when he'd need to confront his father, and make a critical decision upon that meeting, perhaps it is not a stretch to imagine that he would make a conscious effort to postpone it for a while longer.