J.J. Abrams Clears Up A Huge Misconception About Star Wars Villain Kylo Ren

We’re getting closer and closer to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (if you’re counting down, we’re currently 114 days away), and even though director J.J. Abrams likes to keep a tight lid on his Mystery Box, details are gradually emerging. Specifically, we’ve now learned a little bit more about the villainous Kylo Ren and how he fits into the larger picture of the Force.

Just a heads up, there are bound to be some SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens beyond this point. Proceed with caution.

In the upcoming issue of Empire Magazine, J.J. Abrams himself drops a few tidbits about the new villain, played by Adam Driver, and where he stands in the pecking order, as well as how Andy Serkis’ character, Supreme Leader Snoke, fits in. Many people have mistakenly referred to Kylo Ren as a Sith, but Abrams clarifies this, saying:

[He] is not a Sith. [Kylo Ren] works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force.

This isn’t a huge shock, finding out that Kylo Ren is not a Sith lord. One of the rumors we’ve heard about him is that he is obsessed with Sith lore and collects artifacts linked to them, perhaps even trying to conjure up an ancient evil (during production, one potential title for the film that floated around was Star Wars: The Ancient Evil).

We learned recently that he is also part of an order called the Knights of Ren. While we don’t know a ton about them, they apparently popped up in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, and the members all take on the surname Ren, much like the Sith adopted the title Darth (Darth Vader, Darth Sidious, Darth Maul). It almost seems like they’ve patterned themselves after the Sith, like maybe they see themselves as some sort of spiritual successors of that order.

Again, while we don’t know much about Supreme Leader Snoke, a completely motion capture character, you get the impression that he and Kylo Ren have a mentor/student relationship. And especially given the presence of Darth Vader’s helmet in the most recent trailer, it’s almost impossible not to think of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine’s dynamic in this situation.

This is going to be extra interesting to watch develop because, as J.J. Abrams has said before, while Darth Vader is essentially a fully formed person by the time we meet him, Kylo Ren is more of a work in progress. We’ll get to see him grow and evolve and become the character he’s destined to be, and it looks like Supreme Leader Snoke’s hand will guide him.

Again, this is pure speculation, but given what we now know of this relationship, you have to wonder about the rumors that Kylo Ren is Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son. A lost, wayward kid, looking for a place to belong and a purpose, with Jedi blood flowing through his veins and Han Solo’s hot-headed rebellious streak? That might be just the kind of individual a Dark Side practitioner like Snoke would be interested in taking under his wing. Just a thought.

Like with everything about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’ll have to wait until the movie opens on December 18 to find out for sure, but the more we learn, the more interesting it gets.

Brent McKnight