The “emo” label is applied pretty liberally, as any sensitive boy singer from an alternative rock band can attest, but it specifically seems to be given to a lot of fictional characters who primarily wear black, have stylish hair, and are often sad or angry. Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 was totally emo, for example, but Darth Vader is not because he doesn’t have any hair under his helmet. Then there’s Kylo Ren, who is a decidedly emo Star Wars character because of his black robes, long hair, and frustrated whining about not being evil enough. Despite that overwhelming evidence, though, Adam Driver doesn’t think Kylo Ren is emo—partly because he claims to not know what it means.
That comes from an extensive Star Wars: The Last Jedi piece from Rolling Stone, which features Mark Hamill talking about Carrie Fisher, director Rian Johnson confirming that nobody dictated any specific plot points in his movie, and Daisy Ridley revealing that she has night terrors over all of her current acting projects, but the most shocking part is Driver asking what emo is. Rolling Stone tries to take Driver’s side on this, explaining that he was in the Marines and training at Juilliard when emo was a big thing, but it’s not like emo is some crazy, impenetrable nonsense. It’s just boys with emotions, black clothes, and stylish hair, a definition that Kylo Ren perfectly embodies.
Anyway, Driver tries to dismiss the label, saying that Ren is just someone “who’s being told that he’s special his whole life” and really feels it, much like how he feels everything “more intensely than the people around him.” He admits that the character is a “bit of an elitist” who knows that he’s the son of a famous princess, which some people might think makes him a brat, but Driver believes that Ren is just misunderstood. “It’s not like people weren’t living on the Death Star,” he notes, adding that “both sides” in this intergalactic conflict think they’re doing the right thing.
That defense of Kylo Ren doesn’t really impact whether or not he’s emo, but it’s clear that Driver is very sensitive about the character. Also, Driver has stylish hair, and the Rolling Stone story says he was wearing “a dark-blue sweater over black jeans,” so maybe he’s the one who’s emo, not Kylo Ren.