When writing fiction of any length, one of the most important characters to focus on is the antagonist. Merriam-Webster defines the antagonist as “one that contends with or opposes another.” In the case of writing, the antagonist is always in conflict with the hero of the story, or the protagonist. All great works seem to have strong protagonists and antagonists: Othello and Iago, Frankenstein and his creation, Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty. These characters enter into a struggle that is captivating from beginning to end. BUT – then the book ends, Holmes and Moriarty go over the falls – Holmes lives, Moriarty dies.
We’re a little more than a month away from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and you can feel the excitement in the air (or in life forms living inside your cells). Right now, the internet is alive with rumors and speculations, friends are discussing characters, even the people at work have theories. My last article on Luke Skywalker proved that I too have caught the Star Wars bug.
The excitement is out there, and the movie does look amazing – but there is one thing that is bugging me.
When examining the history the Star Wars franchise, one thing becomes apparent very quickly: they/we like toys. So much so that a throwaway character like Boba Fett (who is simply referred to as “bounty hunter” in Empire Strikes Back) became a central figure in the mythos based largely off of action figure sales. Hmm, maybe toys is too general – masked figure toys. I mean, it is largely what a lot of the most popular Star Wars characters – Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Jango Fett, General Grievous – they all have at least most of their faces masked, and all have been used as major merchandising figures.
Enter Kylo Ren, next in the “everyone looks cooler with a mask” way of thinking. So right away, Ren represents what Star Wars fans think looks cool. Yet that is just appearance, let’s hear him speak:
Okay, wow – obsessed with Vader much? It’s sounding more and more like Kylo Ren is part of the “Acolytes of the Beyond,” a group that is obsessed with collecting Star Wars action figures – I mean objects representing the Dark Side of the Force (Vader’s possessions appear to be all the rage).
So Ren is a collector… a moody, anti-social young man who spends his days talking about something that happened thirty years ago. Seeing it yet? Let me guess, is he pale under that helmet?
It can’t be by coincidence that Kylo Ren bears so much resemblance to the community he is becoming a part of. Some could also see him as director J.J. Abrams himself, trying to finish what Darth Lucas started so many years ago… but that is just going into specifics. Abrams is an admitted fanboy, who hates the midichlorians of Phantom Menace with as much passion as anybody.
The question is: will it work? Will it be intelligent? Will it be fun? Or will that scene of “I will finish what you started” be only a serious version of something like this:
Only time will tell… although it would be kinda funny to have Captain Phasma be the only “adult” villain in the movie.
Kylo Ren: “I will finish what you started.”
Captain Phasma: “Sir, are you talking to the helmet again?”
Kylo Ren: “NO – what? No! I was just… meditating on the Dark Side! I have far, far too many things to do in my busy dark lord schedule… it is a cool helmet though, right?”