I should start this off by clarifying:
I loved Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I’m not one of those people who subscribed to the theory that he was some sort of whiny, petulant child in the film that introduced him to the world. I found him to be wonderfully complex, and a fascinating distorted mirror image of Luke Skywalker. While Luke was a good man, struggling with his purpose in life while battling a pull towards the Dark Side, Kylo Ren is a bad man, struggling with his purpose in life while battling a pull towards the Light. I knew the seeds were planted in The Force Awakens for a much deeper character exploration later on.
But the character had its detractors. There where people who only saw the bare essentials without realizing they were merely seeds, and labeled him all kinds of unfortunate things. Perhaps those people will find some new respect for the character after Star Wars: Episode VIII comes out this December?
Adam Driver, in a recent interview with Larry King, reveals that the Rian Johnson-directed sequel to The Force Awakens is set to take what that film set up and take it to the next level; A deeper level. The actor sounds like he was very excited by the script, and by the high-minded ideas that Johnson and producer J.J. Abrams (who helmed The Force Awakens) worked into the second installment of the new trilogy. He even points out how they approached things very similarly to how George Lucas approached the Original Trilogy.
Here’s what Driver said, when asked about the aspect of Kylo Ren he’s most excited for fans to see explored in Star Wars: Episode VIII:
“I think, maybe this is such a general answer but you know: Humanity.
Even though [The Force Awakens was] very much a blockbuster movie- there was no taking that for granted- and that we were forced to be general. There was a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one that we get to explain more in the second one to make both of them make sense. But they do kind of feel socially active to me, and George Lucas originally â€” a lot of Star Wars was in response to Vietnam and a lot of what I remember talking about with JJ and Rian was this idea of terrorism, and two sides being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get whatever they thought was absolutely correct.”
Reading between the lines here, it almost sounds like Driver has heard about people’s reservations about the way Kylo was depicted in The Force Awakens and wants to assure fans that he and Abrams knew full well that they couldn’t get too specific about him in that film. Since there was so much that had to go into relaunching the franchise, they settled for more general plot points for the new character, purposely leaving fertile ground for the sequels- which won’t have the pressure of setting up a whole new trilogy.
It’s also interesting to hear about the parallels between how Lucas subtly tried to incorporate socially active ideas into the Original Trilogy and how Johnson and Abrams want to inject Episode VIII with some of that allegorical power.
I’m very much looking forward to finding out more about Kylo Ren, and seeing how he develops throughout the course of this new Star Wars trilogy. How about you?
Star Wars: Episode VIII comes out on December 15.