‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Confirmed to Star Benicio Del Toro & the Back of Kylo Ren’s Helmet Revealed

By September 3, 2015

When it comes to the future of the Star Wars franchise, sometimes it’s hard to see past all the rumors and speculation that run rampant on the internet and around dining room tables. Most of what we thought we knew about the plot of this year’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens has been proven wrong by either J.J. Abrams himself, or some of the promotional material. So when even more rumors begin to pop up online for not even just The Force Awakens, but also for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, it’s important to take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

However, it was hard not to be excited when it was revealed a few weeks ago that acclaimed actor Benicio del Toro might be joining the cast of Episode VIII as an unknown villain. While nothing was confirmed for some time, you could already hear theories from hardcore fans (myself included) about who del Toro could be playing, and why the creative team would be waiting until Episode VIII to introduce him.

In a recent interview with a spanish outlet called Rac1.org, del Toro finally confirmed that he is in the film, and also when filming on the movie will begin. Check out his quote below:

“Star Wars is coming up, we will see how that turns out. I think we start shooting in March.”

When pushed for more details about who he’ll be playing, del Toro replied:

“Ehhh, the thing is, they don’t let me talk too much about it. I’m like the villain. But we’ll see.”

So we know two things for sure now, the first being the confirmation that Episode VIII will be introducing Benicio del Toro in a new role, and the second is that we know for sure that he’ll be some kind of villain in the film. Whether or not he’ll be the main villain of the movie, or simply a side character will probably remain unknown for a while now, or at least until production begins in March. However, I would find it slightly hard to believe that a director like Rian Johnson would cast a powerhouse actor like Benicio del Toro in a small role. But that could just be me.

It’s also important to note (via Starwars7News) that the actual way del Toro commented on his character in Spanish, was he said that “he is like the villain”, so its incredibly possible that del Toro’s character could be riding a much more ambiguous line than we’re assuming. Or he was being coy about his character in terms of what he can and can’t say. Either way, who knows?

That’s not the only interesting piece of Star Wars information we have to talk about though. During yesterday’s live toy unboxing event, fans got to see a look at a large number of toys set to be released for The Force Awakens, and one of the more interesting reveals was the new look at a Kylo Ren figure. However, the most interesting part happened when the hosts took off his hood, revealing the back of Ren’s helmet for the first time. Without saying anymore, check out the images below (via IGN):

kylo-ren2png-8bb53b kylo-ren5png-8bb53a kylo-renpng-8bb53cYeah, the helmet (or the back half at least) is extremely reminiscent of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet. This marks the first time that we’ve ever seen the character without his hood on, and the helmet looks much like Ren’s lightsaber because it is very beat-up and rough in a lot of ways, but intimidating nonetheless. It also feeds into the comments J.J. Abrams recently made about Ren’s obsession with Vader and the Sith who came before him. In case you need a refresher, check out the quote below:

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

Now, there’s a lot of ways we can take this. There is of course the simple answer that Ren merely modeled his helmet after Vader’s, or as some fans have begun to speculate, it’s also possible that Ren actually created his helmet from the mangled remains of Vader’s that is shown in the second teaser trailer by possibly re-purposing it. Here’s what the hosts had to say during the unboxing:

“You can see his helmet, the helmet is in… from what we’ve been reading online, especially on the website and in interviews, it’s possible he modeled it after Darth Vader,” said the host. “Because that’s someone he was really, really into and had an affection towards. But we’ll have to see in the movies.”

There’s certainly a lot of interesting and exciting ways to take this news, but it’s just cool to see the full helmet for the first time. The more and more we see and hear about him, the more interesting Kylo Ren seems to become. Whether or not he ends up being the kind of Darth Vader-esque villain we’re all hoping he’ll be, or he’s something entirely different, I think it’s clear that Ren is going to bring a very interesting and dangerous presence to the future of the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is set to be released on December 18th, 2015. Star Wars: Episode VIII is set to hit theatres on May 26th, 2017.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable