There is a specific story reason that Kylo Ren has his mask back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but director J.J. Abrams certainly isn't going to tell us what that is. One of the big story points in The Last Jedi saw Adam Driver's Kylo smashing his helmet to pieces after a confrontation with Supreme Leader Snoke. As such, it made for quite the surprise when we saw the helmet reassembled in the trailer for Episode IX. But Abrams assures there are both thematic and practical reasons for its return.
J.J. Abrams and the cast have been making the rounds to promote Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker recently, with the release date creeping up fast. Abrams is historically tight-lipped about his projects and there is always an air of secrecy surrounding this franchise. Still, when asked recently about the return of Kylo Ren's helmet in an interview, Abrams had this somewhat revealing bit to say.
"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."
One of the big themes in The Last Jedi was Kylo wrestling with his inner feelings a bit. Had he truly committed himself to the Dark Side, even after killing his father Han Solo in The Force Awakens? By the end of the movie, it's quite clear the man formerly known as Ben Solo has made his choice. The helmet, as Abrams tells it, will be a symbol of his allegiance to the Dark Side.
But what of this story reason? For now, all we can do is hopelessly speculate without any further information to go on. In all likelihood, that's not something we'll learn until the movie is released. Adam Driver was also asked about the Kylo mask. His answer was much more Metaphorical. Here's what the actor had to say about it.
"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."
Kylo Ren, mask or no mask, will be a huge part of the final chapter in the Skywalker saga. Will he be redeemed? Can he be redeemed? How will his relationship with Rey progress? For now, we have precious few answers. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit theaters on December 20. This news comes to us via Collider.