As the moviegoing public waits for the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December, director Rian Johnson has already begun the post-production process on his Star Wars: Episode VIII. Unsurprisingly, details about the film are being kept under wraps, though the rumor mill has turned up some interesting tidbits lately. Just last week, a description of the new Executioner stormtrooper made its way online, teasing another showdown between Finn and a First Order soldier.
One of the more notable recent updates regarding Star Wars 8 was Luke Skywalker’s new costume, which is said to be very different from the white regal robes he wore at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As it turns out, the elder Jedi may not be the only character with a fresh look in Episode VIII. Skywalker’s one-time pupil Kylo Ren is going to get a couple of upgrades in the wardrobe department as well.
A new report from Making Star Wars details the former Ben Solo’s outfit for the sequel, revealing that there are a couple of key alterations when compared to his appearance in Episode VII. While his mask is by and large identical to The Force Awakens (with minor revisions), Kylo’s under-robes are said to be reminiscent of Luke’s duds in Return of the Jedi – and there’s something more. The biggest difference is that the leader of the Knights of Ren will sport a cape. Apparently, it’s a “Darth Vader cape” that’s similar to the Sith Lord’s from The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi.
Given that Kylo Ren idolizes his late grandfather (going as far as to commune with Vader’s melted helmet), it isn’t surprising that he would try to model his clothing even closer to Vader’s regalia. It will be interesting to see if Kylo’s cape is one that Vader actually wore during his lifetime or simply a replica. Some of the new Star Wars canon publications mention that people throughout the galaxy collect old remnants of the Empire, including objects that belonged to Vader at one point (his lightsaber shows up in the novel Aftermath). It’s possible that Kylo acquired an authentic Vader cape, but Making Star Wars notes that the Episode VIII chain clasp is not the same one from the original trilogy. Fans will be curious to watch this development unfold.
Of course, it makes all the business sense in the world to change Kylo’s costume for the next movie. Lucasfilm also wants to sell a copious amount of merchandise when the time comes, and giving the villain a different mask and a cape will entice collectors to purchase new action figures, Sideshow figures, and other products. It’s the red-armed C-3PO all over again. If Kylo’s appearance was not modified, there would be less incentive for consumers to get another toy or costume. Lucasfilm constantly tweaks the attire of their characters to offer all sorts of variations in the tie-in materials, so this is just standard for them.