Last week, Empire Magazine announced its upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens issue by revealing two different gate-fold covers. The first one featured new villains Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). The second cover united incoming heroes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Now we get the first official still from inside the magazine, and while it shows a familiar character locked in an already iconic stance, it gives us a whole new background we haven't seen before.

The latest issue of Empire will be on newsstands this Thursday. It will feature an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens with new photos and interviews. And perhaps we'll learn more about the forest world seen in this latest sneak peek. Previous rumors indicate that a massive battle between the Resistance and The First Order will play out here, and it looks like Kylo Ren is in the midst of warfare. We haven't heard what the name of this planet is, though it's been compared to Endor.

This new issue of Empire promises to explores the true nature behind villain Kylo Ren. It also delves into the state of the Star Wars universe three decades after Return of the Jedi. The magazine talks to director J.J. Abrams, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and producer Kathleen Kennedy about revisiting the galaxy far, far away, future franchise films and why a napkin doodle might be the year's most memorable character. Plot revelations from J.J. Abrams will be revealed on EmpireOnline tomorrow.

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Some of Kylo Ren's backstory was revealed in EW 's massive coverage of the upcoming December release. While we still don't know Ren's true mission in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we know that he has an unhealthy obsession with Darth Vader. He is influenced by the Dark Lord of the Sith, who perished long before Kylo's birth. The movie will explain the origins of his mask, and where it's from. The character is fully aware of the war between the Jedi and the Sith, and Luke Skywalker's relationship with his father and sister, which will all come into play.

Possibly the biggest revelation about Kyo Ren yet is that he does not belong to the Dark Order of the Sith. He is actually part of an intergalactic organization known as Knights of Ren. Though, who they are, and what they're history is in the galaxy is still unknown. The mythology will be revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Kylo Ren's upbringing will echo Luke Skywalker's own past. Some speculate that he is an 'inverse' version of Luke, paralleling the Jedi's well-established backstory. He is thought to be a villain who comes out of nowhere, with no preexisting history that the heroes know of, yet he still manages to cause tremendous damage to the Resistance, in much the same way Luke helped destroy the first Death Star. A collector of Jedi and Sith artifacts, it is believed that Ren is on a mission to collect Anakin's original lightsaber. The blue lightsaber that Obi-Wan gave to Luke on Tatooine. The lightsaber that was lost on Cloud City during Luke's first epic battle against his father. Leia is said to be in the possession of the lightsaber now. Though it isn't known how she came to possess it. The first official poster by iconic artist Drew Struzan shows Finn wielding Luke's blue lightsaber. We don't yet know how he came to possess it either. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the lightsaber at this moment in time, all of which will be answered this December.

This latest photo poses an interesting question. Is Kylo Ren preparing to fight Finn in what may be Star Wars: The Force Awakens centerpiece lightsaber duel? Maybe. Perhaps we'll learn more when EmpireOnline shares their J.J. Abrams interview tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this latest sneak peek.

Star Wars 7 Kylo Ren photo

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B. Alan Orange