- "Alas, you're no Vader. You're just a child in a mask."
- ―Snoke, to Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren's helmet was a combat helmet worn by Kylo Ren, the master of the Knights of Ren who turned to the dark side of the Force after renouncing his place in the Jedi Order. Patterned on the battle gear of the Knights of Ren, the helmet's theatrics granted Ren a more imposing appearance and concealed his former identity as Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. He removed his helmet upon encountering his father, who entreated Ren to turn away from the dark side, during the Battle of Starkiller Base. Ren, who struggled to resist the pull to the light side of the Force, killed his father in hopes of completing his journey to the dark side. However, this act of patricide failed to impress his master, Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order, who saw Ren's actions as a sign of petulance rather than strength.
Displeased with his apprentice's failings, Snoke insulted Ren's helmet and ordered him to remove it. He berated Ren for becoming emotionally unbalanced, to the point where he was defeated by Rey, a Jakku scavenger with no prior experience in lightsaber combat. Having lost the approval of his master, who now regarded Ren as weak, sentimental and unworthy of his grandfather Darth Vader's legacy, Ren destroyed his helmet in a fit of rage and plotted to regain the status he lost as a result of his duel with Rey. However, the helmet was reforged one year after the Battle of Crait by the Symeong Albrekh under Ren's orders.
Description[edit | edit source]
- "Vader wore his mask because he couldn't breathe without it. But you…you just dress-up to hide the faces of your rebel scum parents—"
- ―Armitage Hux, to Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren's helmet was a battered, face-concealing black combat helmet with a silver inlay that radiated from the eyes as a symbol of power. Modeled on the battle gear worn by the Knights of Ren, the helmet served to hide Ren's former identity as Ben Solo—the nephew and fallen apprentice of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. In addition, its aesthetic design and integrated voice-projecting vocabulator enhanced Ren's imposing appearance.
Like the mask worn by his grandfather, Darth Vader, Ren's helmet had a built-in vocoder that modulated his voice, resulting in a deep, intimidating voice. The face mask was connected to the helmet via articulated arms driven by servomotors; a hinged mechanism sealed the mask to the helmet. Although he wore the helmet to make himself appear more intimidating, on rare occasions he would remove it via the servomotors to stare down his opponents with unrestrained malice in his eyes.
Despite the helmet's design, neither Ren's father nor his master—Han Solo and Snoke, respectively—were impressed by it. Solo deemed the helmet unnecessary whereas Snoke thought it was ridiculous. General Armitage Hux, a First Order officer and rival of Ren, opined that the helmet was superfluous compared to the one worn by Vader, who could not breathe without it. Hux further posited that Ren used the helmet to hide his resemblance to Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, his parents who were famous for their part in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and its triumph over the Galactic Empire.
History[edit | edit source]
A child in a mask[edit | edit source]
- "I said leave it! You cannot hide behind a mask here. You cannot pretend to be Vader in this place."
- ―Snoke, to Kylo Ren
During the rise of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke began training the fallen Jedi Ben Solo in the ways of the dark side of the Force. Adopting the persona of Kylo Ren, Snoke's new apprentice took to regularly wearing a battle helmet that concealed his former identity as he sought to follow in the example of his grandfather, Darth Vader, who also wore a mask during his time as a Dark Lord of the Sith. Yet his efforts to emulate Vader in appearance did not meet with his master's approval. Snoke especially disdained the mask and how it allowed Ren to hide his inner conflict, which he wished his apprentice would overcome. At one point, Snoke brought Ren to Dagobah and ordered him to leave the mask on the shuttle. When Ren hesitated to comply, the Supreme Leader backhanded him across the face, causing Ren to drop the helmet which Snoke pointed to while telling him that he had to stop pretending to be like Vader.
In the year 34 ABY, Ren captured a Jakku scavenger named Rey during the hunt for his uncle and former master, and brought her to Starkiller Base for interrogation. Rey called her captor "a creature in a mask." In response, Ren removed his helmet, revealing the face of Ben Solo behind the mask's theatrics. The scavenger was surprised to discover that Ren was, in fact, a young human male. Ren donned his helmet once more after Rey escaped from her cell, but removed it again at the request of his father, Han Solo, who confronted his son in the hope of turning him back to the light side of the Force, causing Ren to drop the helmet and offer his lightsaber to Solo. Yet despite Solo's efforts to redeem his son, Ren killed his father by stabbing him through the torso with the lightsaber.
Destroyed[edit | edit source]
- "Take that ridiculous thing off."
- ―Snoke, ordering Kylo Ren to remove his helmet
The act of patricide did not strengthen Ren's connection to the dark side, however. It weakened him and contributed to his defeat in a duel with Rey in spite of her lack of experience in lightsaber combat, as observed by Snoke. Disappointed by his apprentice's failings, the Supreme Leader ordered Ren to remove his helmet, revealing the facial scar inflicted upon him by Rey. Whereas Snoke was once impressed by Ren's raw strength in the Force and the potential of his bloodline, he now regarded Ren as a child who hid behind a mask and had too much of his father's heart. Consumed by rage, Ren smashed his helmet into the wall of a turbolift. Through his anger, the Force gave him the strength to hammer the helmet against the wall until it was destroyed, to such an extent that it was reduced to shards. Afterward he endeavored to regain his status by proving his worth to Snoke.
Reforged[edit | edit source]
- "I sense unease about my appearance, General Hux."
"About the mask? No sir. Well done.
"I like it."
- ―Kylo Ren with Armitage Hux and Bellava Parnadee
After the Battle of Crait, Kylo Ren, now the Supreme Leader of the First Order, retrieved the remains of his helmet from the wreckage of the Supremacy. In 35 ABY, the helmet was reforged using an ancient Sith forge by the Symeong metalsmith Albrekh, who used Sarrassian iron to painstakingly meld the helmet back together, making it stronger than ever.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Kylo Ren's helmet was introduced in the 2015 sequel trilogy film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams. It was inspired by Kylo's insecurities, and he wore it as an intimidating factor. It was later destroyed in Rian Johnson's 2017 film Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi. Johnson regarded the decision to lose Ren's mask for The Last Jedi as somewhat "terrifying," as the helmet was the symbol of the movie on the packaging for merchandise of The Force Awakens and had also proven popular as a Halloween costume with children by the time The Last Jedi began filming. Despite this, and his own love of the helmet, he considered it an important aspect of the film to get inside Ren's character a little more and for viewers to be able to look into his eyes.
Though The Last Jedi film and most of its literary adaptations showed Ren destroying his helmet by smashing it against the wall of the turbolift aboard the Supremacy, the film's storybook adaptation described Ren destroying his helmet by crushing it beneath his feet.
As Ren left his helmet on the bridge in Starkiller Base after killing Han Solo, it is never explained how Ren reacquired his helmet in The Last Jedi considering Starkiller base exploded. It's possible that General Hux and the group of stormtroopers that were sent to rescue an injured Ren collected the helmet. When a fan asked Pablo Hidalgo on Twitter how Ren reacquired his helmet, Hidalgo responded, "Perhaps a loyal stormtrooper fetches it. Stuff does happen off-screen."
In an interview with SlashFilm.com, Star Wars costume designer Michael Kaplan revealed that he was very surprised with the decision to destroy Kylo Ren's helmet in The Last Jedi. He stated it took him and J.J. Abrams a while to come up with the right mask for Kylo Ren in the first film. He went on to say that to have it be the first thing to be taken away and destroyed was very disappointing.
The mask returned for the 2019 film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, where Ren donned a repaired version with deep red lines running through it. Abrams compared the fractured mask to Kintsugi, a Japanese ceramic art of repairing broken pottery by dusting the lacquer used to glue the pieces back together with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. It treats the breakage of the piece as a part of its history, instead of something to hide. The breaks in Ren's mask were meant to be a visual representation of his fractured character. Instead of hiding him as it did before, the mask tells his history, and his behavior is revealed.
As Kylo Ren perished on Exegol, his helmet met an unknown fate as it was last seen on the Steadfast when Ren leaves to fight Rey.
In the themed area Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Kylo Ren appears as both a walkaround character in the land and as an animatronic in its flagship attraction Rise of the Resistance. In all of these instances, Ren has his helmet intact and wears it, despite the events depicted in the land and its attractions taking place between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, after its destruction but before its reconstruction.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]
- Disney Infinity 3.0
- Jedi Training - Trials of the Temple
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
- LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises – "Poe to the Rescue"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises – "Attack of the Conscience"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in 34 ABY. Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi takes place immediately after the end of The Force Awakens.
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Age of Resistance - General Hux 1
- Age of Resistance - Supreme Leader Snoke 1
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- Director J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens commentary
- The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- The Last Jedi storybook
- ANNNNDDDD WE have an answer from Pablo as to HOW KYLO has his scarred helmet from TFA in TLJ. Reddit. Archived from the original on October 2, 2020.
- Costume Designer: Seeing Kylo Ren’s Mask Destroyed Was “Like Going From Obama to Trump”. Slashfilm. Archived from the original on June 1, 2020.
- Nero, Dom (October 1, 2019). J.J. Abrams Has Confirmed a Big Kylo Ren Fan Theory About Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Esquire. Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. "J.J. Abrams confirmed in an interview with Empire that Kintsugi is a factor at play in Rise of Skywalker for Adam Driver's rage-induced dark lord. He said: "Having [Kylo Ren] be masked, but also fractured, is a very intentional thing. Like that classic Japanese process of taking ceramics and repairing them, and how the breaks in a way define the beauty of the piece as much as the original itself. As fractured as Ren is, the mask becomes a visual representation of that. There's something about this that tells his history. His mask doesn’t ultimately hide him and his behavior is revealed.""