Kylo Ren Kylo Ren

From the second we saw Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) carrying around a lightsaber with a crossguard in The Force Awakens trailer, we knew he was going to be a new kind of villain in the Star Wars universe.

But new information, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, reveals Kylo Ren also has strong connections to the past. Ren's outfit, which includes a super creepy chrome mask, is actually an homage to Darth Vader.

"The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it's from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask," director J.J. Abrams told the magazine. "[Ren] is well aware of what's come before, and that's very much a part of the story of the film."

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And much like Darth Vader, Kylo Ren was not the name he was born with, but the name he was given when he joined a mysterious group called the Knights of Ren.

However, there are also many things that set Ren apart from the original Star Wars big bad. "I think that what makes Ren so unique is that he isn't as fully formed as when we meet a character such as Darth Vader," Abrams said. "And I think that there are two sides to the Force. Both sides, arguably, would see themselves as the hero of their story, and I think that applies here."

The Force Awakens writer Lawrence Kasdan said the way Ren expresses his emotions also makes him stand out from his predecessor. "No matter how we express ourselves in the world, whether we hide it and act very calm or whether we're very out there and demonstrative, everybody's roiling with emotion," Kasdan said. "And you want your characters to be that way, too. Then they have to deal with their emotions as best they can, with what they are."

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18.