Kylo Ren left Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a freshly-scarred face and his dignity just as badly hurt, but he'll be back with a vengeance in The Last Jedi. As we saw in the October trailer for the next Star Wars movie, not only is he ditching his helmet, he's also piloting a specialized TIE Fighter to shoot down Resistance scum. Known as the TIE Silencer, this ship is significantly more impressive than your standard TIE Fighter, but the main reason that The Last Jedi put Kylo Ren into this particular ship was so moviegoers could easily keep track of him during the space battle. As Lucasfilm story head Pablo Hidalgo explained:
Of course, having a cool TIE Fighter runs in the family, as Darth Vader piloted the TIE Advanced in A New Hope to destroy the Rebels attacking the Death Star. We have yet to learn why Kylo Ren has decided to fly into combat during The Last Jedi, but with his Force abilities and natural piloting prowess inherited from both sides of the family, you can guarantee he'll leave destruction in his wake. That makes it all the more important that we can follow him on screen rather than get him confused with the regular, broad-winged TIE Fighters that are a dime a dozen.
Although we can all fondly recall the dogfights between TIE Fighters and Rebel ships in the original Star Wars trilogy, the fact of the matter is that the standard TIE Fighter lacks shielding and heavy weaponry. Because they're so disposable, it's when these ships in large groups that they're most effective. In contrast, the TIE Silencer was designed to last. Not only is the Silencer faster than the TIE Fighters, but it's also heavily armored, so it'll take more than just one shot to bring it down. Pablo Hidalgo also told EW that director Rian Johnson requested numerous times that the TIE Silencer be made longer. So even though the ship is clearly inspired by Darth Vader's TIE Advanced, it's also visually distinctive enough to shine on its own. And unlike the TIE Advanced, maybe Kylo Ren will get to fly the TIE Silencer in more than just one movie.
Thankfully, it won't just be The First Order sending a specialized, formidable starfighter into battle. Poe Dameron, Resistance pilot extraordinaire, will be flying in an upgraded X-wing equipped with an accelerator pod that triggers a quick burst of speed. It remains to be seen if Kylo and Poe will square off against each other during The Last Jedi, but considering how skilled each of them are in a cockpit, their dogfight would be one for the ages.
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15. To find out when December's other movies will be released, look through the last portion of our 2017 premiere guide.