'Star Wars 9' Leaks: New Villain Rumors May Reveal a Kylo Ren Twist
Right now, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker seems poised to have as many villains as a Batman movie directed by Joel Schumacher in the nineties. From the Sith Troopers and the Knights of Ren to the mysterious Zorri Bliss, Kylo Ren, and Emperor Palpatine himself, there are a ton of baddies in this big Star Wars movie. And now, a new rumor about yet another third-string bad guy makes you wonder: Are all these extra villains suggestive of something else? And just what the hell can Batman movies or vintage references basketball in 1995 to tell us about extra villains in a Star Wars movie? (A lot!)
Possible spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
This week, the fan-run site Making Star Wars posted a tip about a possible new villain in the film that lives “in the Thieves’ Quarter” and is an “adversary of Zorri Bliss and our heroes” and will be a jacked badass with cybernetic implants. This last bit has led the character to be dubbed “Cyber Drax,” because (if they exist) apparently they remind people of Dave Bautista’s ripped Guardians of the Galaxy character.
Whether or not this person ends up being in the movie, and whether or not they turn out to be interesting or jacked-up like Drax (or Bane?) is kind of beside the point. For all we know, “Cyber Drax” could become the Constable Zuvio of Rise of Skywalker; a character promoted heavily ahead of the release of Force Awakens, but never seen in the final cut the film. But that’s not what’s interesting about this.
What is interesting is how many freaking villains Rise of Skywalker seems to think it needs. I was kind of kidding with the reference to Joel Schumacher Batman movies, but, at the risk of applying a Batman analogy to Star Wars and making everyone lose their minds, villain stacking only works when one of your baddies has the ability to turn good.
Batman movies prove this fact over and over again. In the 2008 (excellent) Batman movie, The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent/Two-Face obviously exists on that line between hero and villain, while the Joker does not. Ditto for The Dark Knight Rises, your central bad guy — Bane — is just totally insane, while that movie’s version of Catwoman, eventually turns good and teams-up with Batman. Good Batman movies let the extra villains become good, while bad Batman movies don’t. (See: the Joel Schumacher films.)
Okay. I’m done talking about Batman. What the hell does that have to do with Star Wars? Well, one some level, Kylo Ren is our Catwoman or Harvey Dent here, and if there are a bunch of extra bad guys in Rise of Skywalker— like the Sith Troopers, Palpatine, and now, maybe Cyber Drax — then that means Kylo’s effectiveness as a bad guy in Star Wars movie is hovering somewhere around the level of one of Biff’s henchmen in Back to the Future II. (The guy who screeches “McFly you bojo! Hover-boards don’t work on water!” seems like the best Kylo Ren analog in this scenario.)
So, anyway that you lightsaber-slice it, Kylo Ren is simply not as interesting if Palpatine and Cyber Drax are running around. And, in a sense, we kind of already know Kylo won’t play nice with the other villains because the exact same thing already happened in The Last Jedi.
While it was fine to have Snoke in the background of The Force Awakens, the fact that The Last Jedi had Kylo Ren just kill the character outright is sort of indicative of this too-many villains problem. In that infamous Throne Room fight, we all thought (like Rey) that Kylo might actually become a good guy, even though he didn’t. Still, Last Jedi laid the foundation for Kylo Ren completely teaming-up with the good guys, even if it is in his own self-interests. From a character perspective, Kylo Ren not staying completely evil seems like a forgone conclusion.
But, it’s also a ratio issue, too. Here’s your complete list of non-good-guys in The Rise of Skywalker.
- Kylo Ren
- Emperor Palpatine
- General Hux
- Allegiant General Pryde
- All the Thieves in the Thieves’ Quarter (including Zorri Bliss?)
- Regular Stormtroopers
- Sith Troopers
- The Knights of Ren
- Everyone in the First Order
- Maybe “Cyber Drax”
- Whoever the hell Matt Smith is or is not playing.
Now, I know this list is a little unfair, but when you look at this line-up, and you think about the star players for the Resistance (basically just Leia and Rey at this point), this is looking like 1995 Chicago Bulls versus, I dunno, the 1995 Phoenix Suns, with everyone but Charles Barkley on the bench.
That retro NBA analogy not doing it for you? Okay, how about one more Batman analogy? The number of villains in Rise of Skywalker relative to big heroes is like Batman and Robin versus the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, Two-Face, the Penguin, the ToyMaker and, sure, maybe even Clayface all at once. It’s a lot. All these extra villains can only mean that the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, the man formerly known as Ben Solo, is totally switching sides. It literally won’t be a fair fight otherwise.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.