You may remember Indie Revolver released an interesting image of a cyborg looking at a Darth Vader helmet back last year. Around that time we were seeing tons of variants of that same piece. While exploring those concepts without any context, we saw a few that used Mark Hamill as a model and lead us down an erroneous path (when coupled with film site rumors being passed around) that Luke Skywalker was the bad guy of the film. It was an interesting prospect, laughable now, but a lot of fun still. With where Luke Skywalker’s scenes were filmed, I can see how a few sources thought it was probably true too.
Today I think we know who that is in the sequence holding the Darth Vader helmet. We’re fairly certain its Kylo Ren played by Adam Driver. There was so much concept art for this sequence we can’t say what it amounts to at this point. We don’t think it is the main bad guy as he has no sequence which appears to line up with the scene in the painting(s). The main bad guy played by Andy Serkis, codenamed “Uber” at this moment, appears to only have a few scenes. Our impression of “Uber” is that he appears somewhat undead and his role is like that of Darth Sidious popping up to make sure the bad guys are doing bad stuff on schedule and pulling levers when ordered to do so. I think he only has three or four appearances in the film.
Directly after the sequence in which Rey and Finn evade the TIE Fighters. Finn gets those guns working and fires on the TIE Fighters in pursuit. We then cut to Kylo Ren, alone in his “padded room,” talking to himself on a Star Destroyer. We then cut back to Rey and Finn. Finn compliments Rey (probably on her fast flying) and Rey figures out that Finn is lying about what he appears to be (more on that mystery in a few days). The Falcon is then swallowed up by a huge freighter.
Knowing the concept art for this sequence, Kylo sits down looking into the eyes of a burned out Darth Vader helmet, presumably the one from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In every version of this work, the figure is cloaked, one hand is robotic, and the other human hand holds the warped Darth Vader helmet.
Putting it together, he apparently talks to himself if we take the text literally. Where the sequence is placed, we simply know that Kylo wants the saber. We’ve only really seen him storm into the village, kill the Vicar, and confront Poe Dameron. So my guess is this is where he might voice his true plans and designs to the helmet of Darth Vader (who might be his grandfather). Functionally, we the audience learn what he’s all about. But that’s just my guess.
Does the codename of “padded room” imply he’s nuts? A bit off his rocker? Talking to a dead man’s helmet does sort of imply you’re a bit whacky to say the least. Obviously things can change in editing or even be cut altogether. If this sequence stays where it is in the film, and I’m guessing depending on the dialog, it might have to stay there, the sequence is probably to let the audience catch their breath, learn a story beat about the bad guys and elaborate on what’s a stake before the heroes meet one of the greatest heroes the galaxy has ever known before his confrontation with Kylo Ren.