Since Disney took over LucasArts, they have essentially been following the same path that made Marvel such a massive success over the past 10 years or so. By integrating television shows such as Star Wars: Rebels, using Marvel to create comic book content and announcing a plan of some 20 books to lead up to the release of Star Wars Episode 7, there is hardly any media platform that Disney and Star Wars will leave untapped.
Aftermath of the Empire
One of the more eagerly anticipated of the announced Star Wars books is Star Wars: Aftermath since it takes place immediately following the events of Return of the Jedi. The book description puts a big focus on how the Empire is affected by the destruction of the second Death Star and the the death of Darth Vader.
In fact, the way Star Wars: Aftermath picks things up makes it sound an awful lot like the last days of World War II:
The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?
This description also makes it sound like this might be the time that the Inquisitors step in to fill the shoes of the Empire and we could see someone like Darth Plagueis step out from under the shadows and begin his plotting and scheming.
Star Wars: Aftermath is only the first of three books that will bridge the 30 year gap between Jedi and Star Wars Episode 7, so I wouldn't expect too many of the big elements or characters that would carry over into Episode 7 to immediately appear but at least one of the original trilogy characters is expected to feature throughout the series of books.
The Empire of Kylo Ren
There have been plenty of rumors surrounding Kylo Ren and this character's fascination with the Empire and the dark side of the force. Early plot leaks placed the character, believed to be played by Adam Driver in Episode 7, as someone who starts out with the Republic, perhaps even as a squadron pilot as set photos suggested, but gets pulled away by Andy Serkis' Sith Lord and his own fascination with the relics of the dark side.
Honestly, the person taking the set photo of Adam Driver is the best authority on that set photo. It reminds me of the blurry picture of Bigfoot from the 1960s. But the height and other characteristics do make the claims appear accurate.
More recent leaks have placed Kylo Ren as being someone who does indeed start out evil and may be leading the charge against tracking down our "big three" heroes of Finn, Rey and Poe. But these new rumors continue to back up the claim that Kylo Ren is indeed fascinated with the old Empire and Sith relics.
A new post on Making Star Wars even makes an assertion that the concept art featuring the cybernetic enhanced individual holding the burnt out helmet of Darth Vader is indeed Kylo Ren. While that leaked set photo does indeed look like Adam Driver - and this recent post supports what many have said, that Adam Driver is indeed playing Kylo Ren - X-Wing pilot or not, he doesn't seem to be wearing many cybernetic implants.
Is Kylo Ren the inspiration for these concept art interpretations of scenes depicting someone obsessed with Darth Vader and maybe even spouting some "Poor Yorick..." type soliloquies? The persistent rumors that Kylo is the son of Han Solo and Leia also adds to this fascination with Darth Vader since it would make the guy his granddad.
EU Inspiration for Kylo Ren?
I have to side with the doubtful on this one as well. Kylo could indeed be son of Han and Leia and [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](movie:711158) could be using the Extended Universe character of Han's son Jacen as inspiration for Kylo - which would match up more closely with the earlier spoilers that Kylo is someone who starts out good but ends up becoming Darth Caedus.
What do you think? Will Kylo Ren start off as a major league bad guy or will we see his character be drawn in and tempted over to the dark side over the course of the movie?