For the briefest of moments, it looked certain that Kylo Ren’s Vader-inspired mask had been damaged beyond repair.
Cast your mind back to The Last Jedi, and you’ll no doubt remember the scene when the erstwhile Ben Solo is dismissed as “just a child in a mask” by Supreme Leader Snoke. For all his aspirations of inheriting his grandfather’s legacy, Kylo Ren still finds himself conflicted, adrift somewhere between the dark side and the light. All of this rage and frustration bubbles to the fore when Adam Driver’s villain destroys his helmet mid-way through The Last Jedi, only to reprise the mask in time for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
This peculiar character beat caught many of us off-guard, but while chatting to TheWrap, Episode IX co-writer Chris Terrio explained exactly why Kylo Ren repaired his mask… despite proclaiming his desire to “kill the past.”
Kylo says ‘Kill the past,’ but remember, it’s the bad guy that’s articulating that. ‘Kill the past’ is not the voice of the film. That is what any number of dictators would say. I feel that although Kylo Ren is always saying “Kill the past,” that is his blind spot. He doesn’t want to face the past. He doesn’t want to face what he’s done. He doesn’t want to betray the legacy that he’s come from in joining the Dark Side. I even think Rian would probably take issue with the idea that ‘Kill the past’ is the voice of the director. I think you don’t write characters that way, or write characters in a meta-conversation with another film.
While The Rise of Skywalker has been criticized for retconning – or at the very least ignoring – certain elements of The Last Jedi, Chris Terrio clearly sets the record straight with regards to Kylo’s helmet, stating that the scarred mask is more of a reflection of his damaged psyche than it is a slight against Episode VIII and Rian Johnson’s creative choices.
Now at $725 million and counting, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently playing in theaters worldwide. Whether it has enough gas in the tank to surpass The Last Jedi ($1.32 billion) remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: the core Star Wars film franchise will enjoy something of a hiatus before the build-up to Lucasfilm’s untitled 2022 release begins in earnest.