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August 13, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Who is Kylo Ren?

Ever since the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dropped last December, one debate that has divided fans is the existence of the notorious hilted lightsaber that a shadowy figure was carrying. While that person was revealed to to be the film’s main baddie, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), there still remained a great deal of mystery around the character. Now that EW has revealed a great deal of new information about the film, we are finally beginning to learn more about the shadowy villain himself.

We already know that Ren is allied with the First Order based on the photos that were just released featuring him surrounded by a posse of stormtroopers, but his true allegiances are obviously more personal than wreaking havok amongst the masses. His exact intentions in the story still remain unclear, but we now know that Kylo Ren is apparently OBSESSED with Darth Vader. While his attire and mask is certainly reminiscent of Vader, Abrams says that:

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Kylo-Ren-and-Stormtroopers“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.”

So it seems that Kylo Ren is some sort of Vader fanatic. He was obviously born after the empire’s downfall, so we will have to see how much of this actually plays out in the final film. But what about that aforementioned lightsaber with the hilt that everyone was up in arms about?

“The lightsaber is something that he built himself, and is as dangerous and as fierce and as ragged as the character.”

When talking about the backstory of the character, Abrams told EW that he will still be developing his mastery of the dark side in this film, as well as future installments.

“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. And 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. 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.”

We know that Driver is one of the more interesting actors out there today, and I personally am interested in finding out what exactly makes Abrams so excited about the actor. Lawerence Kasdan, the writer of the film, holds the same sentiment about the character and Driver himself.

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-JJ-Abrams-and-Lawrence-Kasdan“I’ve written four Star Wars movies now, and there’s never been a character quite like the one that Adam plays. I think you’re going to see something that’s brand new to the saga. He’s full of emotion. No matter how we express ourselves in the world, whether we hide it and act very calm or whether we’re very out there and demonstrative, everybody’s roiling with emotion. And you want your characters to be that way, too. Then they have to deal with their emotions as best they can, with what they are. I’d say that is as far as I’d go about the character.

Kasdan seems to be very enthusiastic about Driver in the role, but who exactly is Kylo Ren? And more importantly, where does he come from? Well–it turns out that Kylo Ren isn’t his birth name. Much like the moniker of Darth Vader stands as a title and not a birthname, Ren is something of an adopted surname for the baddie. Here’s what Abrams had to say about the origin of the name.

“He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren”

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens-Kylo-RenWhile this doesn’t entirely answer the question of who exactly Kylo Ren is, it does give us some insight into what exactly his role is in the upcoming film. I just get this feeling that a character like Kylo Ren is one whose arc will be dragged out for an entire trilogy of films, especially when you consider Abrams’ affinity for mystery around his characters. Although we have a long 5 months to wait for the official release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this new information will keep our brains swirling as to what role Kylo Ren will play in the final film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens everywhere December 18, 2015.

About the Author

Taylor Salan
Taylor Salan
Taylor Salan is a independent filmmaker who currently resides in the San Fernando Valley. Since childhood, Taylor Salan had a fascination with movies. Although he was an avid fan of film as a child, it wasn’t until his years as a young adult that his passion for the art of filmmaking truly came to fruition. A current student of the film production program at California State University Northridge, Taylor studies Cinematography but ultimately has plans to direct full time if afforded the opportunity. In his spare time, Taylor produces audio podcasts and blogs about film for He is also a longtime musician, playing drums for over 8 years.



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