5 New Facts About Star Wars: The Force Awakens Bad Guy Kylo Ren

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Director J.J. Abrams has remained impressively silent when it comes to details about Adam Driver’s character, Klyo Ren, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At Comic-Con, Driver uttered about five words at the Star Wars panel confirming only that Ren is indeed a bad guy, albeit a complicated one.

But the new Entertainment Weekly cover story on the seventh installment in the series reveals the first substantial details about Kylo Ren. Here’s what you need to know.

Kylo Ren was not his birth name

Just like Darth is a title, so, apparently, is Ren. “He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren,” Abrams says. The director wouldn’t reveal anything else about the Knights of Ren. But if Kylo Ren is not his birth name, perhaps his parents are familiar faces from the old series.

He is allied with The First Order

The First Order is a remnant of the Empire. In the new Entertainment Weekly pictures, Ren walks with stormtroopers.

He’s obsessed with Darth Vader

“The movie explains the origins of [his] mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask,” Abrams tells Entertainment Weekly. “[Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”

He created that cross lightsaber himself

Star Wars fans, including Stephen Colbert, have had plenty of fun mocking — and then defending — the new style of lightsaber that Ren carries in the trailer. Turns out Ren built it himself.

He doesn’t think of himself as evil

“I think that there are two sides to the Force. Both sides, arguably, would see themselves as the hero of their story,” says Abarams, echoing the limited sentiments that he and Driver shared at Comic-Con. “[Ren] is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.”

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    Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com