Adam Driver Insisted On Doing His Own Star Wars Stunts

After playing the role across three films in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, Adam Driver became intensely dedicated to Kylo Ren and fiercely protective of his portrayal. Let's be honest, lots of people attached themselves to the scowling, dark-side seduced Jedi and took his every move very personally, but Driver was in a more intimate position than even the world's most intense "Star Wars" fans. For him, getting into Kylo's mind was a long, ongoing process and one he took very seriously. In "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" this meant stepping up to do all his own stunts.

Driver has long been called one of the most intense actors of his generation, and his time in the "Star Wars" franchise is a great example of how his approach to character goes such a long way. Tackling the stuntwork himself was an important part of his process — Driver wanted to keep Kylo's physicality and body language consistent with his emotions throughout. Meaning yes, that's actually Adam Driver wielding the force to choke Domnhall Gleeson and all the other Knights who didn't appreciate his swanky new helmet. And indeed, Adam Driver was really on the planet Pasaana, trying to pilot a ship right into Daisy Ridley! That's how stunts work, right? Whatever the case, "The Rise of Skywalker" has lived quite a life since releasing in 2019, including plenty of time to hear the cast and crew accounts of how Driver fared while taking on the action in a galaxy far, far away.

Kylo's action was always based in character

Naturally, the person with all the insight is the film's stunt coordinator, Eunice Huthart ("Justice League," "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them"). According to Huthart, collaborating with Driver was a creative challenge for them both because they had very different approaches to the stuntwork and ended up pushing one another in interesting ways. For his part, Driver liked to stay in his character's headspace while shooting, but Huthart noticed this was at the cost of holding back his strength. It was a bit of a push-pull to settle on how exactly to approach his big battle scenes but it worked because according to Driver, "Character is [Huthart's] starting place; it's never from spectacle, it's always from within." He added:

"Eunice has a confidence that is really exciting to work with. She's ferocious in a way that you want people to be, and when you have people like that, then you trust their opinion, and it challenges you to make it better and more specific."

Over the years, Hurthart has similarly sung his praises. Driver wasn't the first time she was approached by an actor hoping to do all their own stunts, but his insistence ended up being a lot different because he actually pulled it off. Huthart told Fansided:

"Most actors will always say to me, 'I want to do all my own stunts! I want to do all my own stunts!' Sometimes, they're just not capable. They want to be in character. They want to be a part of everything. But they just can't do it where it's a believable level as the character should be. Adam Driver, on the other hand, is as good as any stuntman. He's absolutely fantastic. And he works so hard. He did everything."

Adam Driver had a blast doing his stunts

To truly appreciate how absolutely incredible this news is, take a moment to recall Kylo Rens's greatest hits: stomping through the rain, leaping across the platforms, sprinting into battle at full speed to take down the Knights of Ren... "The Rise of Skywalker" is far from the funniest Star Wars movie but Kylo still manages to steal some very memorable (and meme-able) scenes that are made a million times better once you imagine Driver attached to wires, leaping forward like a madman.

When "The Rise of Skywalker" officially hit Blu-ray and DVD, one of its many bonus features was a two-hour making-of documentary that revealed all sorts of fun tidbits and stories, one of which being the details behind Driver's experience taking on his own stuntwork. The most difficult stunt sequence he took on was the lightsaber battle between Kylo and Rey aboard the Death Star ruins, which it turns out was partially filmed on his birthday. All that rain and sword-fighting was plenty entertaining from the audience's perspective but had to be nightmarish during production, right? Apparently not the case for Adam Driver, who said (via Nerdist):

"It was really physically exhausting, and we were wet and soaked and cold and on wires — I loved it. How many times are you gonna get a chance to do that?"

Training to become Kylo Ren

According to Huthart, Driver's stuntwork ended up going so well that his stunt double never even got a chance to get in costume! Not just anyone can wield a lightsaber, so it took lots of skill and training to actually pull off these feats of athleticism. It also helps that none of Kylo's action scenes involved anything outside of Driver's abilities. In Huthart's words (via CinemaBlend):

"If, for example, Kylo Ren got set on fire, there's not a chance in hell they'd ever let Adam Driver do it. Adam's in a fortunate position because everything [necessary], the actor was capable to do."

Driver had plenty of other help along the way. Like many cast members, he spent time training with London-based trainer Simon Waterson who said that Driver's military career (Driver served for more than two years in the U.S. Marine Corps) came through during their workout sessions. In fact, he told Men's Journal, "I didn't have to push Adam to go hard. He had all of that motivation. It was more about slowing him down."

His time was spent prepping Driver for demanding shoot days that included both action and wirework stunts (allegedly Force-flying isn't within Adam Driver's capabilities). In the end, it all paid off and resulted in Kylo Ren's dramatic exit from the franchise — an arc that's either deeply satisfying or infuriating, depending on who you ask. Either way, it remains one of the most memorable points of Kylo's journey, made possible by Adam Driver's intense dedication.