I will Finish what You Started: Sounds like Kylo Ren is just a Star Wars Fanboy

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.


Kylo Ren is a total Star Wars fanboy.

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.

From the 1990s on, nearly every Star Wars packaged design featured a masked villain on the box art.
From the 1990s on, nearly every Star Wars packaged design featured a masked villain on the box art.

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?

Oh wow, he looks pale. He should get out more.
Oh wow, he looks pale. He should get out more.

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.

Kylo Ren would not be the first representation of a fanboy gone bad.
Kylo Ren would not be the first representation of a fanboy gone bad.

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?”

Captain Phasma: “Yes sir.”

Still better than Jar Jar.

Luke Skywalker will Likely Die in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I am currently writing a new post discussing the various approaches to haunted house style movies, but then this came out:

Man, Star Wars: The Force Awakens looks awesome. Yet there is one person missing from the trailer, and from the official poster, that has people talking. The question on every Star Wars fanboy’s lips is: Where is Luke Skywalker?

Well… he’s in it. Mark Hamill is confirmed to be in Star Wars: the Force Awakens. He narrated the second trailer, and appears in this shot from the trailer:

The metal hand kinda gives it away.
The metal hand kinda gives it away.

So yeah, he’s in it, but what will his role be? Brace yourselves people… Luke Skywalker is very likely going to die. And this is a good thing, at least in terms of the sequel trilogy (episodes 7,8, and 9) standing on their own feet. But let’s examine the evidence from the trailers, as well as the evidence from good storytelling.

Trailer Evidence

Okay, as seen above – Luke is on a volcanic looking planet with ash flying everywhere. It genuinely does not look like a happy place to be. The final trailer also gives us viewers a glimpse of who else visits that planet: namely the Empire (or what’s left of it) led by new main bad guy, Kylo Ren.

Definitely looks like the same planet to me.
Definitely looks like the same planet to me.

So they are in the same spot, and the empire is there in force. And then there is this:

Almost looks like an execution. He is likely stabbing down at someone. So yeah… not good. Yet while Luke’s life is in jeopardy, this actually is a good indicator that The Force Awakens might be the high quality Star Wars film that fans have been waiting for.

Thematic Planets

George Lucas was a big fan of using the setting to enhance the principle intended emotion of a scene. There is no greater example of this than Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith. This planet is hell, a reflection of the dark depths that Anakin Skywalker has sunk to. It is here that Anakin Skywalker meets his end, and Darth Vader is truly born.

Say what you want about George Lucas, but the man does know about visual storytelling.
Say what you want about George Lucas, but the man does know about visual storytelling.

This new planet looks very similar, yet not as full of rage as Mustafar. It is a grim landscape, but one that is not literally exploding fire and lava every few seconds. This grim certainty may add a powerful element of Luke’s grim acceptance of his fate, and his refusal to fully give in to the anger that destroyed his father.

The Old Hero Dies at the Beginning of a New Trilogy 

Here is a shot of Luke in costume from The Force Awakens:


As many have noticed, it is reminiscent of Alec Guinness‘ Obi Wan Kenobi, and I agree. There is a resemblance. Now what happened to Obi Wan in A New Hope?

And what happened to Obi Wan’s mentor, Qui Gon Jinn at the start of the prequel trilogy?

Oh yeah. At the time, this was the killing off of a side character. Yet in the prequel trilogy, Obi Wan Kenobi was the main hero. Unlike Anakin, he never falls to the dark side – making him the only person (who lives) that the audience can constantly root for. Yet in the original trilogy, Obi Wan has to go. There are two very important reasons for this:

Establish the Villain

Man, Darth Vader became a real threat in that moment. He was always intimidating (thanks to great costume design and his ability to telepathically choke the life out of people) but once he kills Obi Wan, the audience knows that the stakes have been raised: characters can die. It was a great example of showing us how dangerous Vader was, rather than Obi Wan being like “he helped the empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi, and he betrayed and murdered your father… maybe.” It always does more to have the villain commit a heinous act on-screen.

So now we have Kylo Ren, and if he is going to be our villain for the next three movies – he needs to be dangerous. He’s already cool looking, got that great look going. You know who else was cool looking – Jango Fett, and General Grievous. Yet none of these characters was particularly threatening because they never did anything. Jango Fett was supposed to be a feared bounty hunter, but his battle tactics (fly towards the guy with the sword) left a lot in question. Grevious was the leader of the droid army who stayed alive by… running away for three years? I’m shaking.

(this interpretation of Grievous would have made a more interesting villain.)

Of course, those two were helped with by other villains (namely Darth Sidious) who kept the tension high. Now it’s only Kylo Ren… and shiny stormtrooper Captain Phasma. Unless there is a shadowy mastermind waiting to be revealed – the audience needs to hate and fear Kylo. What better and quicker way to establish this by having him kill Luke Skywalker?

Establish the Heroes

What’s the greatest problem that shows like Teen Titans and Young Justice had (at least in concept)? They were shows about sidekicks. Batman was always around, Superman was always around. There was this cushion – that existed by just the nature of the main characters – that said: someone else can get it if you fail. Luke Skywalker is currently that someone else. He is the head jedi hauncho, the guy who beat the Empire. Who cares about Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and anyone else you’re trying to establish? The audience already knows who the hero is.

Unless that hero isn’t there anymore…

Han Solo can survive in a supporting role because really – he’s just an old guy with a blaster. Ditto for Chewbacca. Leia might never have really trained to become a jedi (she likely focused more on being a political leader) so she cannot physically hope to overpower Kylo and his baddies. There is still room for these people, while allowing the new characters to occupy the main roles.

To use a comparison – Legend of Korra would not have worked if Aang was still alive. There needs to be only one avatar. There needs to be one main jedi who is getting things done:


Time for the new heroes to step up. Time for the force to awaken and the saga to begin again… and probably time for fans to bid a teary goodbye to Luke Skywalker. But no worries, after all – since when does death stop a jedi?