From the chief protagonist, we turn to the chief antagonist. For the very first time, we get to hear Kylo Ren speak, and the effect is a little bit muted already having heard Darth Vader, he’s still chilling. Looking over the broken and burnt mask of Darth Vader, we hear Ren vow, “Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.”
But he’s not going at it alone. Of all the footage shown of Kylo Ren, and there were several big moments, this might be the most significant:
This appears to be the Knights of Ren, the group of Darth Vader devotees of whom Kylo is a part. Every helmet is a little different, but there’s plenty of similarities to suggest all these seven belong together. There’s a decent chance this is from very early in the movie, even one of the opening scenes. Why?
For one, nowhere else do we see this rainy, lightning filled scene or these other Knights of Ren. This is a moment to itself, largely if not wholly unconnected to anything else the trailers have shown us. And for two, look at all those bodies in the mud! The only other scene this might connect with is the one we’ve already seen in the other teasers, with Kylo Ren swinging his lightsaber down on someone as fires burn in the background. But we’re betting this is part of our introduction to the character, a chance to see how bad he is and how deep he’s in with these fanatics.
But if that’s the most important new shot of Kylo Ren, this is definitely the second:
So many cool things about this brief clip.
The first is actually pretty hard to see in a still image, but easy if it’s moving: Kylo Ren isn’t wearing his mask here. This is picking up from the very first shot we ever saw of him, way back in the first teaser trailer, when a hooded figure stalked forward in the snow and ignited that crossguard lightsaber that became famous overnight. The back of his head as we see it here isn’t hooded at all; that’s his hair.
Number two, I think I could watch the face Finn makes on loop for hours. Moments after he stands alone and resolute with lightsaber in hand, he looks like he could s*** himself as Kylo Ren bears down on him.
And number three, the difference between the carefully crafted Jedi weapon Finn holds and the near-faulty, trial-and-error shop class project Kylo Ren employs has never been more apparent. Just look at those arcing, crackling laser flares!
This shot caps off the trailer, and chances are it’ll be right near the end of the film, too.
Moving on, though, we’re also treated to this shot:
Kylo Ren appears to be torturing Poe Dameron using the Force. We know Poe is captured at some point in the film, but we don’t yet know why he might be so important to Kylo Ren. Maybe he gives up the information that leads to an attack on a New Republic base, the one on the planet full of evergreen trees?
Aside from that, it’s mostly reused footage with a few extra frames here and there. Kylo Ren is definitely going to be the most active, and hopefully the most interesting, villain in the movie. And hey, he looks good on the bridge of a spaceship even if the red lens flares are out of control.
But wait a second! Because that trademark J.J. Abrams lens flare might be hiding something significant in plain sight. Even before the poster yesterday reignited longstanding theories about a superweapon on the New Order’s Starkiller Base, there were rumors that said weapon might be able to wipe out entire systems.
Taken alone, the background of this image might be written off as a lens flare from some nearby star. But combine it with this shot of utter destruction…
…and it begins to beg the question of what exactly the New Order has planned to unseat the New Republic. We might even be tempted to declare the fight scene between Finn and Kylo Ren to definitively take place amidst a nuclear winter on this same planet were it not for the presence of clearly icy locales elsewhere in the trailer. Although those are uniformly tree-less, so don’t count it out just yet. In the old Expanded Universe, a resurrected Emperor Palpatine built a massive Star Destroyer with a superlaser that could crack a planet’s crust and render it completely uninhabitable. Maybe the New Order has something similar in mind.