This is a speculative article based on things I have seen and heard regarding the production and pre-production on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The topic I discuss has no concrete evidence to prove it, however subjects I mention in this article are SPOILERS! So if you want to remain entirely spoiler free, please do not read below this paragraph. Also please refrain from talking and posting anything on social media as others may not want to read or know anything about this film.
So this is a subject I’ve been discussing and analysing for quite sometime now. There are numerous pieces to this puzzle that are yet to be answered and may never be, however I personally believe that this subject has some foundation on which to speculate upon. This subject pertains to the possible “cosmetic change” or “body modification” of one of our newly introduced characters, Kylo Ren.
If you remember last year Indie Revolver leaked a piece of concept art of a cyborg clutching Vader’s burnt helmet; this was one of many iterations of this piece, each with their own unique twist. This piece of concept art raised many questions: Who is the cyborg? Why does he have Vader’s helmet? Only one of these questions has now been answered as we know the shadowy figure holding the helmet is Kylo Ren. After seeing this first piece I thought to myself, this guy looks infatuated with the helmet… oh, and he also has the same robotic hand as Anakin Skywalker? However I left my speculation there as it was very early in pre-production. It wasn’t until I saw two or three more pieces of the same scene with their own twist, I began to think there is more to this than we first thought. Each piece of concept art is of this cyborg (Kylo Ren) holding the helmet and obsessively glaring at it as if to say, “I will be you.” The earlier pieces of this shot all have different placeholder backgrounds, such as one of him on a Star Destroyer bridge; this is just so the artist can get the feel for the scene they are trying to create. This is where I move onto the two most prominent and telling pieces of the lot.
Back in December Jason wrote an article on two pieces of art pertaining to the subject I am speculating here–this was when things began to fall into place for me. These particular pieces show the cyborg (Kylo Ren) sitting in a chamber not unlike Darth Vader’s breathing chamber, which we now know as the “padded room,” again holding the helmet. However, this time with pieces of the helmet literally cut out and placed on his face. Now, we know that the concept artist’s job is to try to tell the story visually from script to screen, so what could all of these pieces, and especially the last two mentioned, be showing us? Let me explain what I believe this journey from cyborg to Kylo Ren as we have now seen is about.
We have now seen Kylo Ren for real; we have seen that he is a human played by Adam Driver, and does not appear in any way to be a cyborg. However, the most important part here is that Darth Vader’s helmet appears in The Force Awakens as seen in the second teaser. So this right here tells us that somebody (probably Kylo Ren, possibly Uber) has retrieved Darth Vader’s helmet for some reason; why I do not know however I have a strong theory. The art of the cyborg shows us he is infatuated with the helmet as I mentioned above, and even has Anakin’s robotic hand, we also know at some point in the film Kylo talks to the helmet in some strange way. All of this right here tells me he is obsessed with Vader’s legacy, could he be his grandson? Or could this just be Ren’s idol, the figure he aspires to become? Could he be telling the helmet his plans? Right now we just don’t know.
So with all of this concept art and the appearance of Vader’s helmet on a pedestal in The Force Awakens teaser, what could be the meaning of this? There are a few ways the shot of the cyborg in the concept art could come to light. What if in his duel with Rey and Finn, Kylo becomes severely injured and has to be fitted with robotics in order to survive? This is a possibility. However, if Kylo Ren is so obsessed with his idol and determined to blast his past into oblivion, could we see this young villain undergo cosmetic surgery? That sounds crazy, right? Well let me explain.
Star Wars has always been about the characters and their stories, many of the characters in the Star Wars galaxy have struggles that we can relate to in real life and this is what connects the audience to them. Some people in life have issues with their pasts. They might have had a traumatic experience which changes them forever, some people just want to forget who they were and may even go as far as to change themselves cosmetically in order to completely detach from who they once were. My point is, what if Kylo Ren wants to completely forget his lineage? Maybe he hates his family so much he wants to lose his identity and become the one person he idolizes, the person whose legacy is probably spoken about far and wide, someone who was remembered, someone people will bow down to.
It’s common for people to want to become their idol, this British guy below is obsessed with Kim Kardashian and physically wants to be her… strange, I know, though it’s true. He is currently undergoing cosmetic surgery to look just like Kim. Why? He claimed it’s because she is a strong woman whom he idolizes, whom he wants to be just like. See what I did there?
Anyway, weirdness aside, the speculation I have presented in this article could be way, way, off and I truly can’t answer for all the concept art depicting this scene even with doing a lot of digging. It does appear important to me, and others for that matter, that this shot could be a way of visually showing the journey this character is going on in the sequel trilogy. Maybe, this could be something we see in Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII. Let’s not forget that Vader’s iconography makes money, his merchandise sells and people love his image (me especially).
What do you think about this possibility? Is it something you’d want to see? Somebody else taking up the mantle of the galaxy’s most iconic character, I sure think it’s awesome and is something I truly hope we see, maybe not in The Force Awakens but somewhere down the line in the sequel trilogy.