by: Jay Carlson
We’ve all gotten a great look at the newest villain in the Star Wars universe this weekend beginning with some leaked promotional art and the the newest trailer followed by the display of his unique new lightsaber and costume at celebration in Anaheim.
— cinelander (@cinelander) April 17, 2015
As with many Star Wars characters, there were many directions in which the costume design may have gone. A different version of Kylo Ren was being used in scene sketches until quite late in pre-production, and it’s an interesting peek into what could have been:
(I believe that this piece of concept art was the one written about by Making Star Wars previously.)
The illustration above by Force Awakens concept artist Glyn Dillon (the same illustrator who rendered Kylo’s final helmet design) serves as a reverse angle of the shot in November’s teaser trailer which introduced us to the character:
As you can see, Kylo Ren almost sported a very different look in Star Wars VII, featuring a red and black helmet with what appears to be a hose that goes from the mask to underneath the robe. These circular faces were a popular design in the art department, and they tried out similar helmets for many characters. One group who appeared to be bounty hunters (or perhaps Jakku’s equivalent of Tusken Raiders) are all outfitted in similar headgear.
Another interesting detail in this new piece of concept art is the evolution of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. Instead of the crossguard saber he is carrying a hilt with a wampa claw embedded in its pommel. This saber was a favorite of the production team, and it was developed at least through many revisions of illustrations labeled “Wampa Saber”:
Kylo Ren’s final lightsaber design has a very rough, scratch-built look and a volatile energy blade. It indicates an aggressive, powerful, and somewhat unhinged master and may yet play into a rumored plot line involving Sith artifacts. Still, it’s unfortunate that the wampa claw lightsaber was abandoned. It was an interesting design, and there’s an unfortunate hint of the prequel mentality that creeps in along Kylo’s impractical broadsaber.
What do you think of the early variants of the villain and his weapon? I really love Kylo Ren’s final look in the film. Like so many details in The Force Awakens, his character’s design bridges the original trilogy with this sequel in a familiar yet refreshing way.