One of the first things that grabbed folks’ attention in the first ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer was the villain, who we now know as Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) and his remixed lightsaber featuring a cross-like design near the handle. Reaction was similar to that of Darth Maul’s twin-bladed version in ‘The Phantom Menace’ trailers, like “Woah! That’s different! What does it mean?”
Things may become more clear as the movie stomps closer to release on December 18th. Or if you keep reading.
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains possible SPOILERS for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. If you want to avoid them, turn back now! More after this cover image:
Like in the best cases, a villain isn’t necessarily a truly bad guy. Usually, they just have an agenda that conflicts with that of the protagonist, but it’s one that the antagonist doesn’t see as selfish or evil. It’s something they believe in. Expect a similar divergent viewpoint in the case of Kylo Ren.
Director J.J. Abrams seems to stress this, saying “I think that there are two sides to the Force. Both sides, arguably, would see themselves as the hero of their story, and I think that applies here.”
Describing Kylo Ren himself, Abrams states, “He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.”
There is more to the story of course but one interesting way to look at it is almost the first ‘Star Wars’ trilogy filtered through a dark mirror. While Kylo Ren may look at himself as a hero, we ALL looked at Luke Skywalker the same way and witnessed his journey from a backwater farmboy on Tatooine who rose to become one of the last Jedi masters over the course of three films.
Abrams, though evasive, relented that fans may see a similar journey in the new trilogy, except this time, the focus is on a humble nobody who rises to embrace the Dark Side. “As you see in the best of storytelling, and no doubt the best of ‘Star Wars’, these are tales in which an everyperson has to step up. And I think that what makes Ren so unique is that he isn’t as fully formed as when we meet a character such as Darth Vader.”
“The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask. [Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”
One further tease, “He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren.”
So Kylo Ren also goes on a spiritual journey like Luke did, starting off as a more homemade character, but growing more powerful and efficient over time.
No additional explanation is given to just who these Knights are, what their goal is or how they impact Ren’s evolution. Obviously, that won’t be fully revealed until the movie comes out, but expect one artifact from the first movies to play an important role.
The information already revealed/leaked indicates that ‘The Force Awakens’ opens on the image of a severed hand gripping a lightsabre, floating in space before landing on a desert planet. The young folks that find it are determined to get the sword to Luke Skywalker and embark on a quest to do just that, although from the sound of it, it winds up in the hands of another, Luke’s sister Leia.
The Empire has morphed into a junta known as The First Order, while X-Wing pilots like Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron now fly for a splinter group known as the Resistance. Princess Leia (Fisher) has come into possession of the lightsaber once possessed by her father, Darth Vader, and later lost by Luke (Hamill) when Vader separated him from his arm during that “join me” duel in The Empire Strikes Back.
What many might forget is that Luke’s lightsabre was inherited from his father, a fact that Obi Wan explains in ‘A New Hope’. As we later discover, most Jedi build their own weapons, which Luke does in between ‘Empire’ and ‘Jedi’, going from his trusty blue sabre to green. Also, by this point, Darth Vader has informed Luke that he was actually his father, meaning that the first lightsabre was actually his creation and now, it appears that, for some reason Kylo Ren is after it, which could easily explain how he comes into conflict with the young heroes of the story.
Why? No clue. Is there more to this device than has been revealed? Well, obviously… and whatever mystical properties it possesses, could prove to be just what The First Order needs to once again rule the galaxy.
Start the speculation! What is Kylo Ren’s ultimate goal? What part will Darth Vader’s lightsabre play? Is it possible that audiences may wind up being Team Kylo? Comment below!