Star Wars: The Force Awakens’s black-hooded, cross-guard-lightsaber wielding villain Kylo Ren is still cloaked in mystery. But we just got another big clue about the character, played by Adam Driver. It turns out he doesn’t belong to the Dark Side-worshiping Order that counted Darth Vader as a member.
“Kylo Ren is not a Sith,” J.J. Abrams says in a new issue of Empire Magazine, out on Thursday. “He works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force.”
Supreme Leader Snoke is a motion capture character played by Andy Serkis, who narrated the movie’s first teaser. Abrams has previously said that Kylo Ren is an admirer of Darth Vader, and took on a similarly dark persona after joining the mysterious group the Knights of Ren.
That Kylo Ren isn’t a Sith leads us to believe he is a relative newcomer to the Dark Side, though Abrams didn’t indicate either way. (We do know there will be no mention of his midi-chlorian count). The director did tell Empire that The First Order — the conglomeration of evil that includes Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux and Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma— is a bit analogous to the Nazis that escaped to Argentina after the end of World War II.
“Could The First Order exist as a group that actually admired The Empire?” he asked rhetorically. “Could the work of The Empire be seen as unfulfilled? And could Vader be a martyr? Could there be a need to see through what didn’t get done?”
Obviously, there are some true believers left out in the Galaxy — and they’ll be causing plenty of trouble for our old heroes and the new generation of stars drafted into the franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on Dec. 18.
Watch the Comic-Con behind-the-scenes look below: