The newest issue of Entertainment Weekly is filled with new pictures and interviews from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Among the new details, we were taken by their interviews with director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan about the origins of several of the character’s names and about Adam Driver’s character, Kylo Ren of lightsaber meme infamy.
In the interviews, we learn Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader, modelling his own helmet on him and building his own unique lightsaber. Ren is “allied with The First Order, a remnant of the Empire that remains a fearsome threat to the galaxy and its denizens.”
It should be noted (mild spoiler?) that his real name is not Kylo Ren. Abrams says Ren took the name when he joined “the Knights of Ren,” which he didn’t explain, nor did he give any hints about his real name or if it would be a familiar surname. Of course, every new character has been rumored to be a Solo or a Skywalker at this point, so I guess Driver’s character will remain on our potential Maury guest list.
Here’s another picture of “Ren” from EW’s slideshow. He’s seen here walking among “the smoldering ruins of a once peaceful village on Jakku,” which is the same Tatooine-like planet which Finn (John Boyega) flees to, meeting Rey (Daisy Ridley) while there.
Regarding Kylo Ren, Abrams tells EW, “I think that there are two sides to the Force. Both sides, arguably, would see themselves as the hero of their story, and I think that applies here.” Meanwhile, Kasdan said Ren is “full of emotion” and that the characters will have to “deal with their emotions as best they can, with what they are.”
In another interview, Abrams explained how some of the characters got their very Star Wars-y names.
John Boyega’s AWOL stormtrooper is known only as “Finn,” which Abrams said was intentional. He hints that the last names of this and another character are being kept secret for a reason:
Both Finn and Rey (Daisy Ridley, above) aren’t given full names yet. Abrams says, “It is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record.” Don’t try to Khan us, Abrams.
Also seen in the picture above is BB-8, the adorable ball droid, which Abrams said he dubbed BB-8 because it looked like an 8 or two B’s. The same complex reasoning went into every name I got called in middle school.
Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones, is named after the 1979 horror movie Phantasm because her shiny armor reminded Abrams of the ball that kills people.
General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young general who is “longing to reveal the full might of The First Order’s military power.” Abrams says he may have seen the name Hux on a gravestone, but he isn’t sure. Some of what we know about the character so far seems like it may jibe with some spoiler-filled rumors we’ve heard.
X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is named after Abrams’ assistant Morgan Dameron. Abrams wasn’t sure where “Poe” came from, although he says his daughter has a polar bear toy named Poe. Sheesh, this guy and his polar bears.