When you think of the franchise titan that is Star Wars, fans and non-fans alike often go straight to Darth Vader as the symbolic representation of the series. After all, he is well-known as one of the best cinematic villains of all time and he received an entire trilogy of films to explain his origins.
With the recent release of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams was burdened with the task of creating a brand-new terrifying villain for our new generation of heroes to face. Not only did Abrams succeed in giving us an interesting new villain, he gave us a character that can even rival the might of Darth Vader.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'
1. He Is Stronger In The Force
Ok, for all of you Star Wars fans out there, what was Darth Vader's signature Force power? That's right, the dreaded Force choke. The Force choke stood as a symbol for Vader's ferocity, intensity, and mercilessness. While we saw Kylo Ren choke a man using the Force, we also saw him use a brand new Force ability that made all of our collective jaws drop.
In the opening scene on Jakku, we see Kylo Ren use the Force for the first time when he freezes a blaster bolt (along with poor Poe Dameron) in mid-air. Right off the bat, we get a taste of the raw power that Ren possesses, and we are instantly in awe of him.
2. His Conflict Makes Him More Interesting
When we met Darth Vader in the original Star Wars, we all thought he was awesome because he was big, semi-robotic, and he killed Ben Kenobi, who we had come to believe was a powerful Jedi Knight. Throughout the rest of the trilogy he got a little more interesting when we found out he was Luke's father, but he was always an unquestionable symbol of evil for the galaxy.
Not long into The Force Awakens we see that Ren is far more interesting when he reveals his conflicted feelings to Vader's charred helmet. When he explains that he can feel the call back to the light side of the Force, we as an audience come to understand that there is a brand new sort of Force-user now. Instead of a Jedi being tempted to the dark side, we see a Dark Jedi being tempted by the light. That instantly made me want to see more of Kylo Ren. Take a look at his TV-Spot.
3. His Lightsaber Is Unique... And Powerful
Kylo Ren's crossguard lightsaber was the item of deliberation for thousands of Star Wars fans after the release of the first trailer for Episode 7. We eventually came to believe that the crossguard was used to prevent opponents from cutting through the saber and severing Kylo Ren's hand.
However, in the Star Wars Wiki, we learn a far more interesting explanation for his saber. All Jedi lightsabers are constructed with rare and powerful gems called Kyber crystals. When Kylo Ren built his saber, he used a cracked Kyber crystal that could not contain the power of the saber. The crossguard became necessary as a ventilation system so that Ren could wield all of the power of the blade.
4. He Is Relatively Untrained
Think about what I said about Ren's force abilities. He could choke, he could freeze, and most likely perform many other extreme feats with the power of the Force. This becomes so much more impressive when you realize Kylo Ren is not a Sith Lord. In fact, he has had little to no training in the ways of the Force.
Sure, he might have picked up some things from Luke before he turned to the dark side, but Luke would have never taught him such powerful dark force powers. Snoke might have taught him some of his abilities, but as Snoke stated at the end of the film, his training has not yet been completed. That means we are only going to see him grow stronger. If that doesn't get you excited for Episode 8, I don't know what will.
5. He Survived A Bowcaster Blast!
Perhaps the biggest complaint about Star Wars's latest villain is that he was defeated easily. Such a powerful figure shouldn't have been taken down by a stormtrooper and a scavenger with rudimentary knowledge of the Force. Well people often forget one major detail about that battle scene.
Kylo Ren was wounded.
Merely moments after Ren killed his own father, Chewie shot him in the stomach with his signature Wookie bowcaster. We saw plenty of this weapon in the latest film, especially when two First Order Stormtroopers went flying after being shot with the weapon.
After thinking about the amount of power in the weapon, it should have easily killed Ren. However, Kylo Ren was so strong with the Force that all he did was drop to one knee before running after Rey and Finn. We have never seen this kind of raw power used by someone so untrained before, and that instantly makes Kylo Ren so much more of an interesting and dynamic villain than the iconic Darth Vader.
Don't get me wrong, I think that Darth Vader is a remarkable villain. He is powerful and evil enough to inspire fear all throughout the galaxy. However, with the introduction of Kylo Ren, it looks like Star Wars is trying for a more complex level of villainy, and I'm looking forward to it!