From the moment Kylo Ren first ignited his vicious-looking broadsaber in the first teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans have speculated about the true nature of the character, this mysterious Knight Of Ren. Why is his lightsaber so ragged? Why is his title not 'Darth'? The answer to the latter, it turns out, is actually very simple, as some fans had already surmised. "Kylo Ren is not a Sith," confirms JJ Abrams in the new issue of Empire. "He works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force.”
Snoke, you will recall, is a performance-captured digital character played by Andy Serkis, who can be heard growling the voiceover on the first teaser. Aside from shedding a little light on Ren’s origins, Abrams gave some background on the state of the universe when The Force Awakens begins, including the origins of the First Order, who are not quite the Imperial remnant many had taken them to be.
“That all came out of conversations about what would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again?’” Abrams reveals. “What could be born of that? Could The First Order exist as a group that actually admired The Empire? Could the work of The Empire be seen as unfulfilled? And could Vader be a martyr? Could there be a need to see through what didn’t get done?”
For more from Abrams on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the new Empire, on sale this Thursday.