Star Wars: The Force Awakens Details On Kylo Ren's Origin And The Crossguard Lightsaber

As it turns out, Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just a big Darth Vader fanboy like the rest of us.

As The Force Awakens’ director J.J. Abrams recently revealed, the new Star Wars villain is well aware of the former Sith lord, and will look to continue his legacy with the First Order, a group of Galactic Empire loyalists looking to reinstate the totalitarian regime. And Ren is such a big admirer of Vader, that his villainous mask is a bit of a homage.

“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,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly. “[Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”

But the real eye-catcher in Ren’s ensemble—that cross-guard lightsaber—is a creation all of his own. As Abrams revealed, Ren built the instantly infamous weapon himself, describing it as “fierce and as ragged as the character.”

Abrams also dropped the mysterious news that Kylo Renn isn’t the character’s true name. Much like Darth Vader was a title given title to Anakin Skywalker, Kylo Renn is a given moniker for whoever is behind that mask. Apparently, “Ren” is an surname given to members of a mysterious group, much like “Darth” is bestowed to Sith Lords.

“He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren,” Abrams explained.

But regardless of origins, weapons, or name, Abrams promises this: Kylo Ren will be a compelling villain who just may earn the audience’s sympathy. And that’s no Jedi mind trick.

“He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy,” Abrams told EW. “He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with [actor] Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.”

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18. For more Star Wars release dates, head to ComicBook.com’s Franchise Movie Release Schedule.