Warning, this post will feature massive spoilers for the ending of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Read no further if you have not yet seen the film.
In the recent box-office breaker Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams was given the seemingly impossible task of topping one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time: Darth Vader.
Instead of just giving us a copy-and-paste reprint of the character, what we got was something better and more in-depth. Instead of a fully-formed villain, we got Kylo Ren, a powerful figure on a deep descent to the dark side.
The character of Kylo Ren was definitely one of the highlights of the film, despite many fans' complaints about his seemingly moody attitude. Throughout the film, there were three big details about his character that fans paid attention to: his Vader-esque helmet, his crossguard lightsaber, and his incredible skill in the Dark Side of the Force (he stopped a blaster bolt in the middle of the air for crying out loud). Take a look at his TV Spot.
By the end of The Force Awakens, we saw Kylo Ren utterly defeated. After the Force awakened within Rey, she channeled her new power into overpowering Kylo Ren. Even though Rey defeated him once, she may not have the same luck again. In fact, it looks like we are going to get a new-and-improved Kylo Ren once Episode VIII rolls around. Here's why...
The history of helmeted baddies in the Star Wars universe obviously started out with Darth Vader in the first Star Wars movie. As we learned through later movies, Vader actually needed the mask, along with the robotic suit, so stay alive after he suffered significant burns on the planet Mustafar. Though Kylo Ren can breathe perfectly well without a helmet, it seems like the outfit choice was more of a tribute to his grandfather and idol.
However, in the climactic scene where Ren kills his own father, Han Solo, he removed his mask and dropped it on the bridge upon Solo's request. Then things get a bit more hectic when Ren gets shot by Chewbacca, and Ren chases after Rey and Finn, leaving his helmet behind.
While Ren was in glorious combat with Rey, Poe Dameron managed to explode the thermal oscillator, leading to the destruction of the entire Starkiller base. We are lead to believe that General Hux recovered Ren and escaped the base, but there is no way that they could have ran back and grabbed the helmet, especially because the helmet was in the very oscillator that was destroyed.
Not to mention Kylo Ren received a pretty nasty face wound from Rey during their battle. It could be that he doesn't need a helmet to look awesome anymore. That epic scar will take care of that for him.
If his helmet wasn't awesome enough for you, how about the fact that Kylo Ren had a lightsaber so powerful that he needed a crossguard to work as ventilation for the saber? The lightsaber itself became a defining symbol for the character ever since we first got a peek of it in the first trailer for the film.
Unfortunately, the saber did not survive either. The last moments of the clash between Rey and Ren went by in such a blur that many movie-goers had to study the scene numerous times to try and get clarification. At first glance, it almost seemed as if Rey severed Kylo Ren's hand, in true Star Wars fashion.
Upon watching that same scene several times, it became more apparent that Ren's hand was fine. Instead Rey's saber cut through the hilt of Ren's own lightsaber, destroying it.
Luckily for Ren, he constructed the saber all by himself, so building another one should be no problem at all. That being said, I'm not sure if we'll see the same crossguard hilt, seeing as he only needed it because of the cracked Kyber crystal.
The first time we see Kylo Ren use the Force, he stops both a blaster bolt and Poe Dameron in mid-air! From then on we as viewers knew that Ren was an exceptionally-strong Force-user. It seems in Episode VIII that he will only get stronger.
We know that Rey will get training from Luke Skywalker in the next Star Wars installment, but she won't be the only one in training. When General Hux went to report to Supreme Leader Snoke at the end of the film, Snoke said that it was time for Ren to complete his training as well. That means both Kylo Ren's ability with the Force and with the lightsaber are set to improve in the coming films, making Kylo Ren one of the most powerful characters we've ever seen in the Star Wars universe.
Kylo Ren is really a win-win situation for all Star Wars fans. If you loved him, just wait. He is only going to get better from here. If you hated him, don't worry. The Kylo Ren you saw in Episode VII will not be the same you see in Episode VIII, I can promise you that.