'Force Awakens' Villain Kylo Ren Is Darth Vader for the New 'Star Wars' Era

Claymore lightsaber > double-bladed staff.

Entertainment Weekly, Lucasfilm

As a new era dawns for Star Wars, who will carry on Darth Vader’s villainous legacy in the upcoming The Force Awakens? Director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan are betting on Kylo Ren, the new red lightsaber-wielding bad guy portrayed by Girls star Adam Driver.

Entertainment Weekly has devoted this week’s cover to the galaxy’s newest BAMF. Though much is said, little is yet known.

We do know Kylo Ren isn’t his name. It’s a title, like “Darth” was for Vader before him. The “Ren” comes from his alignment with the Knights of Ren, who are in cahoots with the First Order, the new regime from the ashes of the fallen Empire.

The Abrams mystery box means whatever answers we get just brings up more questions. What is Kylo’s rank in the Knights of Ren’s hierarchy? What is their goal? What is Kylo’s goal? Every decent villain needs his ulterior motive.

Of all things to hint at, EW alludes to his lineage. A Redditor’s lightbulb went off, suggesting “Kylo” is Leia SKYwalker and Han SoLO’s offspring. And maybe jet fuel can’t melt steel beams while we’re at it.

Entertainment Weekly, Lucasfilm

The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is confident in his new creation. “I’ve written four Star Wars movies now,” he said, “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.”

But as “new” as Abrams and Kasdan hope Kylo Ren to be, he has the familiar Cobra Commander-style hallmarks: the imposing dark silhouette, the inhuman face, and the unique lightsaber which Abrams says is a weapon of Kylo’s own design. Resembling a medieval claymore, Kylo’s tri-lightsaber became an instant object of wonder, as in, “How the hell does it work?” Some suggest the sword’s origins can be found within Star Wars games like Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed, despite that stuff being swept under the rug by Disney.

On the spectrum of Darth Maul to Darth Vader, where does Kylo Ren fall? Somewhere in between, having the benefit of not literally falling down a shaft. Yet. (You were supposed to be cool, Maul.)