Posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
One of the questions I had after seeing Star Wars: the Force Awakens was: Why does Kylo Ren put the mask on a table filled with what appear to be ashes? Some interesting theories have floated around since December, but now we finally have an answer thanks to director JJ Abrams. Find out the answer to the Kylo Ren helmet ashes mystery, after the jump.
Before we give you the answer, lets explore some of the theories I had heard over the past few months. One of my friends theorized that Darth Vader’s helmet was used as an urn, filled with the ashes of Anakin Skywalker. And the the table that Kylo rested his helmet on was actually filled with the leftover ashes. I liked that theory.
That dust that Kylo puts his helmet into? Litter box for Hux's cat, Millicent. #canon
— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) February 6, 2016
Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo once joked on twitter that the table was actually used as a litter box by General Hux’s cat Millicent. The joke then began to take a life of its own in the form of fan art and even fan fiction.
Ha ha, love Katie Cook’s art and its great that she contributed to this internet meme. But even though Pablo Hidalgo is in charge of Star Wars canon, doesn’t make this joke real.
As for the real reason behind the table of ashes, JJ Abrams explained to Entertainment Weekly that the idea was actually something from another scene, which didn’t appear in the film.
“Sometimes bits and pieces of one scene end up being something that you use in another scene that you didn’t expect. That’s always kind of fun, when you realize that something you’ve shot actually has a use you didn’t expect. …The backstory is, that that table has the ashes of the enemies he’s killed. That moment was actually shot for, and meant to be used in, the scene where he was talking to the Vader mask.”
Having Kylo collect the ashes of all the enemies he’s killed sounds bad ass at first, until you imagine the scene not shown of Kylo ordering a first order Stormtrooper to use a former-Imperial dust pan to scoop up the dead person’s remains. Just like I imagine Lex Luthor forcing the LexCorp graphic designer to create logos for all of his secret computer folders — its all pretty silly right?
I have always noticed that the table seemed to disappear from the interrogation room in subsequent shots, so this makes sense. Apparently Adam Driver showed his face much earlier in the film, in the scene where he stares into Darth Vader’s mash and vows to finish what his grandfather started.
“He originally had his mask off the first time we shot that scene. Then we reshot it with his mask on, but we had that shot which I loved and thought was so cool of the mask being slammed down into that ash. So that shot was stolen from the scene that we had changed and put into the scene with Rey.”
In the interrogation scene with Rey, Kylo originaly removed his helmet and placed it gingerly onto a piece of the set, which Abrams admits “was incredibly unimpressive.” So by taking a piece of the previous, deleted, scene, they were about to make the moment “a much cooler beat.”
Meanwhile below, you can watch a clip from The Secrets of The Force Awakens dvd documentary that features Adam Driver and JJ Abrams talking about Kylo Ren’s backstory: