Kylo Ren’s New Helmet in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Might Be a Secret Twist

Everyone assumes Kylo will don his old helmet again, but there could be something much more interesting happening.

Helmets are a big deal in Star Wars. They surround the heads of popular characters, penetrate our psyches, and bind the merchandising galaxy of Lucasfilm together. In some ways, the entire popularity of Star Wars is connected to sweet-looking helmets. Which is why the rumored return of Kylo Ren’s old helmet in Star Wars: Episode IX is such a big deal. In The Force Awakens, Kylo rocked a Darth Vader knock-off helmet, but after getting teased about it by Snoke in The Last Jedi, he broke the thing into little pieces. Now, in leaked photos, it looks like Kylo’s helmet is back for Episode IX, but what if there’s a twist here? What if the helmet is back, but Kylo Ren isn’t wearing it?

Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: Episode IX below.

Earlier this month, several leaked costume photos depicted new looks for various Star Wars characters in Episode IX. Lando is bringing back his yellow shirt from Solo, and Rey is rocking an all-white robe look, which was seemingly confirmed by J.J. Abrams’ photo of Daisy Ridley on the last day of shooting. So, it’s safe to say something about the costumes in the leaked photos for Episode IX are real, which means Kylo Ren’s helmet will probably show up again in the movie, but that doesn’t mean Kylo is in that helmet.

Snoke
"You love wearing that helmet, but it's kind of silly." — Supreme Leader Snoke

In The Force Awakens, Supreme Leader Snoke mentions that Kylo Ren is “the master of the Knights of Ren,” which is presumably why he dresses the way he does and wears that little helmet. The only time we’ve seen the Knights of Ren was in a flashback in that same movie, and they weren’t mentioned, nor seen, in The Last Jedi, which means the return of these dark knights is almost a certainty for Episode IX.

That’s where Kylo Ren’s helmet comes into play. What if one of the other Knights of Ren glues the helmet back together and takes Kylo’s place as the master of the Knights of Ren? Matt Smith in his secret role is a good candidate for a hypothetical faux-Kylo Ren, but it could literally be anyone under that mask. Even Rey in disguise!

Now, if Kylo isn’t the one wearing the helmet, the implication is, of course, that one of his followers actively wants to start beef with him. This begs the question as to why someone else would want to dethrone Kylo as leader of the First Order, or, more curiously, impersonate him.

The idea of wearing someone’s helmet and impersonating them around the galaxy has a low-key Star Wars precedent. In the 1997 Dark Horse Comics one-off Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, a bounty hunter named Jodo Kast wore Boba Fett’s Mandalorian helmet and armor and intentionally impersonated Boba Fett to make money. (This premise seems to have vaguely inspired the upcoming TV series, The Mandalorian.)

Obviously, it would be awesome if Kylo Ren turned back to the Light side of the Force and started going by Ben Solo again. This would also neatly explain the “new” Kylo Ren imposter: It’s someone who is trying to take over the Knight of Ren and conjure up all sorts of jerky Dark side stuff. In that scenario, Ben will need to take down the new faux-Kylo, leading to a potentially epic fight scene.

Still, the motivations someone would have to wear Kylo Ren’s outfit are numerous, and a power struggle within the Knight of Ren isn’t the only possibility. We know why people cosplay as Kylo Ren IRL, but what about in the Star Wars galaxy itself?

Ben Solo (Adam Driver) in 'The Last Jedi'
Ben Solo (Adam Driver) in 'The Last Jedi' before he started calling himself "Kylo Ren"

If the new Kylo Ren helmet isn’t being worn by Kylo himself, it could be all sorts of things. A decoy. A clone. A robot. Or, very likely, a Force vision and/or a flashback. Because there are still so many unanswered questions from the time in-between The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi, it’s not crazy to think Episode IX needs a flashback or two to fill everything in. Maybe this melted helmet isn’t Kylo Ren stitching the old one back together but instead forging it in a flashback.

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters everywhere on December 20, 2019.

Media via StarWars.com, Lucasfilm, Inverse