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Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens

The Star Wars franchise is arguably the most wildly popular property in film, spanning decades and entire generations of moviegoers. The galaxy far, far away has been growing exponentially since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, crafting main installments, standalone movies, and even an upcoming Disney+ series. It all started with J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens, and it seems that Adam Driver's Kylo Ren originally had a much more terrifying look.

Kylo Ren is the villain of the sequel franchise, with Ben Solo's conflicting emotions being a main through line throughout The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Concept art for the character was recently revealed, and it turns out that he could have had a much scarier appearance. You can check out the art below, with Kylo having a close resemblance to Darth Vader's helmet-less appearance.

Woah. While Kylo Ren is portrayed by Adam Driver as a force sensitive young man, it seems J.J. Abrams and company toyed with a much darker interpretation of the character. And it looks awesome.

This new image comes to us from Instagram, and shows a far less human version of Kylo Ren. In the concept art, he looks far less human than the character we love to hate, seemingly corrupted by the power of the Dark Side. It's an appearance that is clearly inspired by Anakin/Darth Vader's looks from the previous films, connecting Ben Solo to his grandfather and villain inspiration.

In the image, Ben Solo is shown to have red eyes and extremely pale skin. The eye color is the same that Anakin Skywalker had as a Dark Jedi in Revenge of the Sith, as he attacked the Jedi temple and massacred younglings. The paleness of the character's skin also looks like Vader's when he finally took off his mask in Return of the Jedi.

Darth Vader's inspiration in the above concept art for Kylo Ren can also be seen in his armor and equipment. He's shown using some sort of breathing machine, similar to the iconic one that the iconic Vader uses throughout the original trilogy. That version of the character would likely be given his own iconic breathing sounds in the process, just like Darth Vader's signature heaves.

This concept art is in stark juxtaposition to the look J.J. Abrams eventually landed on for Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. Instead of a monstrous Sith, Kylo is portrayed as an angry young force user who has fallen to the Dark Side. He's completely human in appearance, although he crafts his own signature helmet as a tribute to his late grandfather. That helmet was destroyed in The Last Jedi, but it looks like he might pop it back on for The Rise of Skywalker.

It should be interesting to see how Kylo Ren's appearance continues to change in Episode IX, as the character's story comes to a close. For instance, he got a scar in The Last Jedi thanks to his wound from battling Rey back in The Force Awakens. Will he submit to the Dark Side and be warped by the dark power of the force like the above image? Or will he finally be redeemed, returning to the Light Side and his mother Leia? Only time will tell.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.