Time Magazine recently conducted an interview with Star Wars: The Force Awakens costume designer Michael Kaplan, and during the conversation revealed the origins of the mask for Adam Driver's antagonist character in the movie. While discussing the iconic mask of Darth Vader, Kaplan was specifically asked how he, his team and J.J. Abrams went about creating the black-and-silver look for Kylo Ren. The filmmaker revealed that they had many, many different ideas for the villain, and that the idea came up after a meeting where a non-specific vision was presented:
J.J. kept saying he’ll know when he sees it and one day we were having a discussion and he was talking about wanting it to be something that a child would remember, you know, that would be indelible in a child’s mind, and one of my concept artists came up with that image. I don’t know where he got it but he heard something that a child would like, and I don’t know if it was the kind of spaghetti type lines on it or what, but the next time J.J. came by that was what we presented to him and he loved it.
The black color is obviously reminiscent of Darth Vader (who seems to be a hero of Kylo Ren's), but the silver lines are also special in the film for aesthetic reasons. Basically, they're fantastic at picking up different light sources around it, and look awesome. Said Kaplan,
The silver in those lines kind of reflects and changes color with the action. You know, if he’s standing in front of fire you see that, so it almost brings you into the mask.
Really, the only big question I have left about the mask is the reason that Kylo Ren wears it. We've seen images where the character doesn't have it on, and he doesn't appear to be scarred or injured - suggesting that it's not a medical device like Darth Vader's. So what's the reason?
If there is a specific reason as to why Kylo Ren wears a mask, the good news is that we don't have that much longer to wait for an answer. After years of waiting, we are now less than a week away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will be in theaters this Friday, December 18th. Stay tuned for more of our coverage leading up to the big day!