Kylo Ren has a lot of merits as a villain, with his anger issues, insecurities and complexity making him a fascinating antagonist. However, scary he ain’t. This original unused concept art for Star Wars: The Force Awakens though gives us a glimpse at an alternate version of the First Order big bad who looks like he’s crawled right out of your nightmares.
Design supervisor Christian Alzmann shared his artwork on Instagram recently, revealing that it depicts a “very early Jedi Killer/Kylo concept.” He went on to explain that it “wasn’t used in #StarWars: #TheForceAwakens but ended up being the inspiration for the Fifth Brother in #StarWarsRebels.”
The shape of The Force Awakens changed a lot during its pre-production process, with the villain of the piece undergoing a significant overhaul as things developed. Originally, the idea was for him to be a mysterious figure known as Jedi Killer, as Alzmann says above.
Somewhere along the line, however, the character evolved into Kylo Ren, the corrupted son of Han and Leia. However, never ones to waste a good idea, Lucasfilm transplanted the idea of Jedi Killers into the Inquisitors of Star Wars Rebels, with this particular design being used for the Fifth Brother.
Kylo’s exploits will continue in this December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. We’ve been able to gauge a lot about his role from the trailer, too, including that he’ll repair his destroyed helmet and that his loyal underlings the Knights of Ren may turn against him, at least going by that shot of them in battle on a snowy world. Have they defected to Emperor Palpatine following his return? Does this mean Kylo Ren will be forced to ally with Rey and the others for help?
All the answers will be revealed when Episode IX completes the trilogy that Star Wars: The Force Awakens started this Christmas.