If you’re as much of a Star Wars fan as I am, then you’re undoubtedly counting down the days until you can buy advance tickets to your local midnight premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. I know I certainly am! And while it will be fantastic to see the original cast members back together on the big screen, an incredible amount of buzz is being generated by the new generation of characters.
Perhaps the character that is most anticipated by fans and movie-goers alike is that of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is one of the three main villains, along with Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) set to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. None of them have received much screen time in either of the trailers, but it is Driver’s character that is receiving the most attention.
It doesn’t take a Jedi Master to figure out why. The very first image we saw of Kylo Ren in the initial teaser trailer was him walking in forest, igniting a crossguard lightsaber that we now know he built himself.
Overall, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and the team at Lucasfilm have done a remarkable job of keeping secrets under wraps. In the meantime, the rest of us are free to speculate about what kind of amazing things this new villain will bring to the franchise, from the bits and pieces that we have been given so far.
He Could Be One of the Solo Children
By now, everyone knows that the immensely popular expanded universe has been de-canonized. This was done in order to grant directors and writers maximum freedom when crafting new stories. Still, it doesn’t mean that J.J. Abrams hasn’t ‘borrowed’ certain elements that he felt would make great material.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Kylo Ren is not the character’s birth name in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ren is a title used by a new group of force-sensitives known as the Knights of Ren, much like how Darth was used by the Sith. Kylo may or may not be his first name. Could his character be inspired by Jacen Solo, and does he have a sister? The character of Rey (Daisy Ridley) is tall enough to portray a sibling of Driver. It could be a fantastic nod to the super fans, but it would also come with the risk of living up to the impressive Darth Caedus storyline carried out in the books.
He Could be a Fallen Jedi
Just before dying and transforming into the force in Return of the Jedi, Yoda instructed Luke Skywalker to pass on what he had learned. What if at one point, the Knights of Ren were the beginning of a New Jedi Order, like the one written about in the expanded universe?
Luke, never having received the full amount of training that a Jedi should have, could have lost control of an unstable young jedi order, and witnessed its descent to the dark side. It would be a fairly good reason for Skywalker to be forced into hiding, especially if he felt like a failure after losing students to evil.
He May Be Attempting to Rebuild the Sith
During a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, J.J. Abrams revealed that Kylo Ren’s mask is an homage to Darth Vader’s and also that Ren has a deep obsession with the former sith lord. Abrams describes Ren as being aware with what has come before him. His character may be attempting to resurrect the Sith for a new era.
Many fans have also noticed that Kylo Ren’s mask also bears a striking resemblance to the one worn by Darth Revan, an ancient Sith who lived thousands of years before Luke and Leia were born. If you’ve ever played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you’ve probably seen him. If Kylo is obsessed with learning about ancient masters of the dark side of the force, he may be in search of Sith Holocrons and artifacts.
It’s also not too far of a leap to speculate that he could be the leader of the Knights of Ren. After all, the Sith did not always abide by the Rule of Two.
He Could Be Pursuing Luke Skywalker
Whether he is a solitary hermit or not, Skywalker has no doubt grown incredibly powerful. If Kylo Ren is an agent of the dark side then he may be seeking to hunt down the very last Jedi known to exist. He may simply want to wipe him out, or he could be hoping to learn more about Luke’s father. Either way, it would be a solid motivation for someone in his position.
He May Secretly Resent The First Order
Kylo Ren is said to be allied with The First Order (a remnant of the Galactic Empire), but that doesn’t mean that they share the ambitions. As the movie unfolds, we may learn that instead of being a true believer, he could merely be using them and their resources to achieve his own goals.
We’ve been told that Kylo Ren comes from rather humble beginnings, and the brief images that we’ve seen of him only seem to confirm this. His outfit is ragged, his lightsaber is homemade. The sith that we’ve seen before have always had something of a sinister elegance to them, particularly because their skills were refined from years of training and experience.
The clips we have seen of Kylo Ren so far reveal a the Jedi-equivalent of a street fighter. Rather than holding his hand still with confidence and experience as he uses the force, his hand is trembling with rage. Older sith held their weapons like a Katana, but Kylo wields his like a claymore. I would expect his fighting style to be closer to a medieval knight than that of a Samurai.
In short, he just doesn’t look like he would be comfortable in something as orderly as an empire. I expect him to have his own agenda, no matter how his story unfolds.
The pressure to make characters like Kylo Ren successful on screen must be extremely intense. This is one of the most beloved franchises in the history of cinema. Add in the fact that most of the original cast is returning, and you’ve got a recipe for high expectations. However, if Drew Struzan says it could be the best Star Wars film he’s ever seen, there’s no way I’m coming down from my optimistic high.
At the end of the day, as long as they don’t kill Kylo Ren off in the first film like they did Darth Maul, we’ll be all good. Until next time, may the force be with you!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters on December 18th, and will star Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, and Andy Serkis.