It's getting crazy close to the [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) premiere, and the hype just keeps building. Disney are really adding fuel to the fire with all the books, toys, comics, and costumes released in the run up to the Star Wars 7 premiere. Each new piece of merchandise contains tiny vital hints about the characters and plot, and thanks to other teasers we can start to build a bigger picture of the important points of The Force Awakens.
Kylo Ren in particular has received a lot of focus in the merchandise and J.J. Abrams' comments, but despite all we know he's still very mysterious. Recent toy and costume releases have provided some more details about his character, and suggest that Kylo Ren might not be as evil as we think...
Kylo Ren: What We Know
Before we get into the latest hints, let's cast our eye back on what we know already.
From the film's first announcement, Kylo Ren has been set up as the grand villain of the piece, a badass crimson lightsaber wielding fiend to rival Darth Vader. He's definitely already shaping up to be one of The Force Awakens' most interesting characters, so here's what we know so far.
- His name isn't actually Kylo Ren - this is a title he was given when he joined the enigmatic Knights Of Ren.
- He made that awesome lightsaber himself.
- Kylo Ren is somewhat obsessed with Darth Vader, and may be the guardian of the Knights' collection of Sith relics.
- He works under the command of Supreme Leader Snoke.
J.J. Abrams has also provided some intriguing comments about Kylo's characterisation, and the new merchandise really gives some clues about his role in Star Wars 7.
New Merch Spills Secrets!
Honestly, this is a brilliant marketing strategy: by drip feeding the fans hints through merchandise, Disney are ensuring commercial success even before the movie is released. At the very least, they're building hype for The Force Awakens. But marketing genius aside, this is really fun for us as we get even more clues to decipher!
Obviously there's a lot to dissect here, but these are the quotes that may hint that Kylo Ren is actually one of the heroes of the story...
"Don’t fight it, you know you can’t."
"Is it true, you're just a scavenger?”
"Don't be afraid."
These sections of dialogue seem to be taken from a scene where Kylo Ren is talking to one of the heroes, and the "scavenger" comment points towards Rey in particular. There's a strange tone in his voice when he asks her if she's "just a scavenger", which io9 interpreted as disappointment.
Kylo & Rey: Lost Skywalkers
Why would he be disappointed to learn this? Has he heard of Rey in a different manner? Another merchandise revelation (from a Rey halloween costume) revealed that Rey IS part of the Resistance, so maybe she has a bit of a reputation. Or she could be connected to the most powerful family in the Star Wars Saga: the Skywalkers...
It also seems like Kylo Ren is trying to persuade Rey to join him, or to give in to her darker urges. Could this be because Rey and Kylo actually have a connection? There have been many rumours suggesting that these two characters are actually Skywalker siblings (maybe because of their apparent similarity to the Expanded Universe characters Jaina and Jacen Solo).
While this is certainly possible, my money's on Kylo Ren hailing from the Organa side of the family: the Star Wars 7 synopsis did refer to him as a "prince" after all.
"When a ruthless prince rises to power and threatens galactic peace, a runaway soldier, an uncongenial scavenger, and a hot shot pilot find their fates intertwined as they embark on a journey to find the most powerful warrior in the galaxy."
Ok, there are probably plenty of royal families in the galaxy, and the synopsis could have been speaking metaphorically. And if Kylo Ren is an Organa, he could be unrelated to the Skywalkers (considering Leia was adopted). But in any case, Kylo Ren certainly has ties to the main characters, and seems to be set up for a redemption arc...
The Hero Of His Own Story
J.J. Abrams shed some light on Kylo Ren's background, implying that the character may well be more sympathetic than we first assumed.
In this interview, Abrams implied that Kylo Ren has come from poverty and obscurity, building his way up to power.
"These are tales in which an everyperson has to step up. 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."
So it seems as though a large part of The Force Awakens' plot will focus on Kylo Ren's backstory and development: where he's come from, what his motivations are, and perhaps a chance for redemption. He clearly passionately believes that what he's doing is right, so why? With The First Order, Abrams is already telling a more complex story of good and evil than the other Star Wars films: using real humans to tell a tale of allegiances in war will really give The Force Awakens a dash of moral ambiguity.
But then, seeing the main villain redeemed, especially if Kylo has a connection to the Skywalkers, has been done before. Will Abrams repeat the Darth Vader plot? Is Kylo Ren a hero for more than the Knights Of Ren? Unfortunately, the more information we get, the more questions it inspires. So I guess we'll just have to wait until December to find out!
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New Star Wars 7 Hints: Does Andy Serkis' Snoke Lead The Knights Of Ren?
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