The Force Awakens Darth Vader theory

We’re just under three months away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and just last week we actually got confirmation that we’ll be able to see the movie a little earlier than December 18th with showings beginning at 7pm at some theaters on December 17th (as expected). And thankfully, we’re still in the dark about a great many things regarding the story, characters and much more about the Star Wars sequel.

One of the most intriguing elements of The Force Awakens is the new villain Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. Director J.J. Abrams has confirmed that he’s not a Sith, but he’s working with The First Order. Other than that, his motivations as the villain in the movie aren’t very clear. But a new proposal from our old pal Germain Lussier puts forth an interesting The Force Awakens Darth Vader theory that could explain what Kylo Ren might be planning.

After the jump, beware of some speculative but potentially huge spoilers!

Here’s the basic idea of the theory: Kylo Ren wants to clone or resurrect Darth Vader.

To begin with, over at io9, Germain lays out what we know about Kylo Ren for sure and what the movie will tell us about him, courtesy of a few quotes from J.J. Abrams, by way of EW:

“The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask. [Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.

He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren.

He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.”

In addition, Abrams has also revealed that Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader (his own helmet even resembling Darth Vader’s). And what would someone who is obsessed with a dead Sith Lord do? Collect their stuff. Who is keeping the burned, melted remains of Darth Vader’s helmet that we’ve seen in the second teaser trailer? Could it be Kylo Ren?

Star Wars Original Trilogy References

We also know that there’s another relic of Darth Vader that plays a big part in The Force Awakens, and that’s his original lightsaber, passed down from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, lost in The Empire Strikes Back, but now resurfaces as a MacGuffin in Episode VII. It’s a pretty solid bet that Kylo Ren wants that lightsaber, and there’s even a Kylo Ren mask in stores now with the character saying “That weapon is mine!” He could easily be making advances for Vader’s old lightsaber.

But where does the idea of Kylo Ren cloning or resurrecting Darth Vader come from? Couldn’t he just as easily be trying to emulate Darth Vader and keep some kind of shrine to his fallen icon instead of trying to bring him back in some capacity? That could absolutely be the case, but the crux of Germain’s theory comes from a couple curious details in the new novel Star Wars: Aftermath, the first significant story in The Journey to The Force Awakens series of books. Germain points out:

“In Chapter Eighteen, a mysterious, evil character named Tashu says this to his hostage, Wedge Antilles: ‘Did you know that Sith Lords could sometimes drain the Force energy from their captives? Siphoning life from them and using it to strengthen their connection to the dark side? Extending their own lives, as well, so that they could live for centuries beyond their intended expiration?'”

That seems like an interesting new detail to include on The Journey to The Force Awakens. However, that sounds more like just what the Sith did in order to live longer lives as opposed being a possible angle for Kylo Ren to be able to resurrect Darth Vader. Though there’s a chance that maybe this siphoning of life could work the other way and perhaps Kylo Ren believes some of Darth Vader’s life force could have been imprinted in his helmet or his lightsaber, not unlike Voldemort’s creation of a horcrux in the Harry Potter series.

Germain points out this other interesting tidbit from Star Wars: Aftermath as well:

“An Interlude chapter set on the planet Taris features a character selling a red lightsaber he believes to be Darth Vader’s to a group calling themselves ‘Acolytes of the Beyond.’ These ‘fanatics of the dark side’ and collectors pay dearly for the saber with the plan to return it to ‘its master in death.’ Creepy. Also, what’s on the wall? ‘A stencil of a familiar Sith Lord’s helmet with the phrase beneath it reading VADER LIVES.'”

Is there any chance that Kylo Ren was once a member of the Acolytes of the Beyond, but has since moved on to the Knights of Ren? Or perhaps he still is an acolyte and he’s merely doing what needs to be done in order to reunite these relics of Darth Vader with their master in death.

Keep in mind that all the new facets of the Star Wars universe are carefully considered when being created and are officially canon now, unlike the previous Expanded Universe stories which now fall under the Legends banner.

Darth Vader

For my money, resurrecting Darth Vader seems like a longshot, and it would cheapen the return of Star Wars by just bringing back the iconic villain from the original trilogy. As much as this new movie is about bringing back old characters that we love to the big screen, it’s about introducing new ones and broadening the horizon of Star Wars, and bringing back Darth Vader wouldn’t be the best way to achieve that.

But Germain also notes that this resurrection of Darth Vader doesn’t have to be taken literally, and maybe Kylo Ren merely wants to find Luke Skywalker because he believes the Jedi can follow in his father’s footsteps and turn to the dark side. After all, we don’t know anything about Luke’s role in The Force Awakens, and Lucasfilm is going to great lengths to keep any information on him secret (though we at least know he’ll be around for Episode VIII).

There’s some interesting food for thought here, and some solid evidence to support the theory. But again, it does seem a little wild and potentially damaging to the future of the Star Wars saga. I’m betting Kylo Ren’s motivations are a little less easy to determine, and some explanation will be required (and presumably given) in The Force Awakens. But until then, it’s always fun to speculate.

If you want to read Germain’s more extensive dive into this theory, read his full article at io9.

What do you think of this Darth Vader theory? What do you make of Kylo Ren?

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