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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: J.J. Abrams Reveals the Origin of Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren

As “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” continues its Imperial March towards theaters this December, new details continue to trickle out about the mysterious characters making their debut in the seventh installment of the beloved sci-fi franchise. One figure who continues to invite speculation is Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, seen wielding a controversial crossguard lightsaber in the trailers for the film.

While the red blade of the lightsaber conjures images of legendary Sith villains like Darth Vader and Darth Maul, J.J. Abrams has confirmed to Empire magazine that “Kylo Ren is not a Sith. He works under Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force.”

Instead, Abrams recently told Entertainment Weekly, Kylo Ren is part of a different faction altogether. “He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren,” Abrams revealed, admitting that the character’s mask is reminiscent of a certain Sith lord’s for a reason. “The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask. [Kylo Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”

Driver’s character is clearly aligned with The First Order, as demonstrated by the first look images that show Kylo Ren alongside the film’s updated stormtroopers, and Abrams also shed some light on the origins of the galaxy’s new oppressors during his conversation with Empire.

“That all came out of conversations about what would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again?'” Abrams told Empire. “What could be born of that? Could The First Order exist as a group that actually admired The Empire? Could the work of The Empire be seen as unfulfilled? And could Vader be a martyr? Could there be a need to see through what didn’t get done?”

We’ll find out when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” bows in theaters on December 18.

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