One of the biggest concerns going into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the possibility of director JJ Abrams retconning certain story beats brought about in The Last Jedi. Regardless if you’re a fan of Episode VIII or not, retcons are never fun as it tends to reduce the events that came before or mess with a narrative flow. Put your hands up if you’re still bummed that Iron Man destroyed all his suits and retired in Iron Man 3 only to act like it didn’t happen in Age of Ultron?
Anyway, in the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we see Kylo Ren fixing the helmet he smashed against the wall in The Last Jedi. Naturally, people have looked to that quick moment in the trailer as a sign of a retcon. Was JJ Abrams unhappy that Rian Johnson decided to smash Kylo’s helmet? It doesn’t appear to be that way. In an interview with Collider, Abrams mentioned that there are proper story and character reasons for Kylo to fix his helmet.
Part of it is about his commitment to the Dark Side. As you’ll see, he’s becoming Supreme Leader…his focus has been a little bit more on practical matters. He’s assumed that position within the First Order. It represents his re-committing to the Dark Side, to the Knights of Ren, and then because of a very specific thing that he’s about to go do. As you see in the story, there’s a reason for it. It might not be clear at this moment.
Similarly, the actor who plays Kylo Ren, Adam Driver, also talked about the profound nature of Kylo Ren’s mask.
Hopefully [in The Rise of Skywalker], there’s a good moment where you really see him. Maybe, I hope. We were talking to people before about masks and that’s such a huge iconography of Star Wars that we took for granted that we had to reimagine. What is it about someone who hides himself? Or presents a person to the world, but underneath is something different. Maybe there’s a moment in this [movie] that’s surprising.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit Malaysian cinemas this 19 December.