Major spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, out this week.
Kylo Ren is a somewhat different kind of villain than we've seen in previous Star Wars films.
Not actually a Sith Lord, Ren is prone to outbursts; he's emotional, fanatical and not the calculating, contained kind of darkness represented by Vader and his forbears.
So...what made him that way? If you've seen the film, you know there's a lot of backstory there and it's just begging to be told. But in a nutshell, the film's director spoke briefly on the question.
"Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker," J.J. Abrams told IGN. He idolizes what Vader represents and what Vader was trying to do. The idea that Vader didn't succeed, if you look at it from Ren's point of view, he was seduced by the enemy and failed because of that seduction. So the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing that Vader started....The story for him is one of conflict -- not just external conflict, but internal conflict, and it's what makes him, I think, an interesting villain."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan & Abrams, features a cast including actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. They will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015, kicking off a new trilogy of Saga films as Episodes VIII and IX are already scheduled.